We caught up with defenders Matt Hedges & Stephen Keel as well as coach Oscar Pareja to talk Saturday's game with our weekly Quick Kicks:
It's the second home game of the season on Saturday night at Toyota Stadium and FC Dallas is taking on a suddenly potent Chivas USA squad. Scott Brown and I break down the goats in our Toyota Keys to the Match:
By Mohammad Bushnaq
FC Dallas and Chivas USA meet for the first time this year on Saturday. Last year, the two teams battled three times and FC Dallas ended the season with a 1-1-1 record vs. the Goats.
Game 1 - 3/10: The first meeting between the two red-and-white franchises ended with Chivas standing their ground at home in a strong stretch of early season form, defeating FC Dallas 3-1. David Ferreira opened the scoring for FC Dallas in the 57th minute, but the Hoops surrendered three goals late from Agudelo, Minda, and Casillas. It was the first road game of the season and FC Dallas left Southern Califronia empty-handed.
Game 2 - 7/4: Independence Day was the next meeting between the two teams. For all the fireworks that were available at the end of the match, the on-field display fizzled out. Raul Fernandez was the hero for the Hoops making seven saves in a game that ended scoreless in front of a sell-out crowd at Toyota Stadium.
Game 3 - 8/21: The final meeting of the season came on a must-win scenario during the playoff push and FC Dallas delivered with a 3-1 victory at the StubHub Center. It took a comeback effort with substitutes David Ferreira and Ramon Nunez finding late goals to secure the three points on the road and snap the longest winless streak in club history.
Was a hard-fought point against the defending champions on the road enough to get FC Dallas moving up in the national power rankings? Opinions vary pretty wildly.
MLSSoccer.com disagrees, dropping FC Dallas to 13th (12th last week) in their latest power rankings despite the late heroics by the Hoops on Saturday saying: "Huge, huge point at KC in a game that was more knife fight than soccer match. Dallas had just one shot on goal on the night, but Matt Hedges made it count with that towering header."
Pro Soccer Talk moved FCD up two spots to 13th saying: Sporting Kansas City dominated play, but FC Dallas only conceded from a late corner. Play that match again (or, play it with Graham Zusi), and Dallas isn’t going to be so fortunate, but we did learn something about Óscar Pareja’s team in the process. Even without George John, the capable of staying organized in their defensive third, even if they had trouble doing so at times against Montréal. (1-0-1)
FCD jumped two spots in the Soccer By Ives power rankings up to 10th place with Ives recognizing the greatness of Matt Hedges: FC Dallas could have counted themselves lucky to face the Montreal Impact without Andres Romero, Nelson Rivas, and Marco Di Vaio in week one, but they put together a solid performance last Saturday at Sporting Kansas City. Matt Hedges, the goal scorer, continues to grow and should be counted on all year to be a big presence in the box at both ends of the field.
ESPNFC.com elevated FC Dallas to 6th place (10th last week) citing the never-say-die attitude claiming, "It was easy to dismiss last week's win over struggling Montreal but fighting back to tie Kansas City is an effort that will draw a bit more notice, especially given the defensive pieces FCD is missing. It certainly amounts to an encouraging start."
Sports Illustrated: Planet Futbol slightly lifted the FCD lads to 9th place (10th last week) citing their solid beginning to the season as the reason for the movement, "Dallas has two good results to kick off the season, taking a point off the defending champion after winning at home the first week. Kansas City had an eye on the Champions League, but it still put out a strong lineup and had more chances to score."
Here are the best pictures from FCD's 1-1 draw at Sporting KC on Saturday night
A little late on this news, but we're now less than a month away from Dallas Cup and the FC Dallas U18's are back in the Gordon Jago Super Group for 2014. Having been placed in a group with 2013 Super Group champions Fulham FC, Brazilian powerhouse Coritiba and 2013 non-Super Group champions IF Brommapojkarna from Sweden, they've certainly got a tough group that will be a great test for Luchi Gonzalez's men.
To add a little extra spice to things, FC Dallas will open the tournament stadium games at the historic Cotton Bowl as they'll battle Fulham FC at 12:30PM on Sunday, April 13 in the first Cotton Bowl game of the week.
FCD could potentially play more games at the Cotton Bowl depending on if their game gets flexed to the Wednesday night games or if they make the semifinals/finals of the tournament.
In all, there will be nearly a dozen FC Dallas affiliated teams in Dallas Cup XXXV with the full schedule coming out soon.
Gordon Jago Super Group:
Group A: FC Dallas(USA), Fulham FC(ENG), IF Brommapojkarna(SWE), Coritiba FC(BRA)
Group B: Anderlecht(BEL), Fluminense(BRA), CD Guadalajara(MEX), LA Galaxy(USA),
Group C: River Plate(ARG), Entracht Frankfurt(GER), UANL Tigres(MEX), US U-20 National Team(USA)
Dr Pepper Dallas Cup Cotton Bowl Stadium Schedule
Sunday – April 13
12:30pm Fulham FC (ENG) vs. FC Dallas U18 Academy (USA)
3:00pm CD Guadalajara “Chivas” (MEX) vs. Fluminense (BRA)
5:00pm Welcome World Opening Ceremonies
6:30pm U20 National Team (USA) vs. River Plate (ARG)
Wednesday – April 16
5:00pm Gordon Jago Super Group games to be determined
7:30pm Gordon Jago Super Group games to be determined
Friday – April 18
5:00pm Super Group Semi-Final
7:30pm Super Group Semi-Final
Saturday – April 19
10:00am U13 Championship Match
12:30pm U14 Championship Match
3:00pm U15 Championship Match
5:30pm U16 Championship Match
Sunday – April 20
9:30am U17 Championship Match
12:30pm Super 17s Championship
3:00pm U19 Championship Match
6:00pm Gordon Jago Super Group Championship Match
Earlier this afternoon, Chris Seitz took to Twitter to ask you guys whether he should keep the beard or shave it?
Here at Toyota Stadium, we're partial to a little #FearTheBeard action, but what do you guys think?
Shave it? Keep it? Let us know in the poll!
P.S. In case you didn't know, Seitz has been pretty much awesome so far this season and currently sits tied for second in saves in MLS.
FC Dallas' next opponent has had a solid start to the 2014 season after a disappointing 2013. Chivas USA opened their campaign with a 3-2 win over the Chicago Fire in week one and managed a 1-1 draw against Vancouver Whitecaps FC in week two despite losing midfielder Agustin Pelletieri to a red card in the 13th minute.
It's a small sample size, but Chivas USA's encouraging peformances thus far have prompted MLSsoccer.com's Andrew Wiebe to break down whether or not the Goats are the real deal?
What do you think of Wiebe's analysis?