Match Preview: FC Dallas vs. Inter Milan

European champions come to town looking for a win


Photo Credit: 
Giorgio Ravezzami/Inter.IT

The Basics

vs. Inter Milan, international friendly at Pizza Hut Park


Dallas vs. Inter Milan

TV Info

8 p.m. CT, Fox Soccer Channel


International friendlies tend to be wide-open affairs, as both teams
typically shirk some of their defensive duties. This should sit well
with Dallas, who have an eight-game unbeaten streak in league play but have
not been scoring as freely as they’d like. 

Inter Milan, the reigning Serie A champions and UEFA Champions League
title-holders, have had mixed results on their American tour so far.
They beat Manchester City 3-0 last weekend, but are coming off a 3-2
loss to Greek side Panathinaikos in Toronto on Tuesday night. The Dallas
friendly wraps up the tour before they begin their season with the
Italian Super Cup on Aug. 21. 

FC Dallas

FCD coach Schellas Hyndman will field a lineup that greatly resembles
his normal first 11. The only changes will be the insertion of
midfielder Eric Avila and goalkeeper Dario Sala. Midfielder Dax McCarty, who was held out the previous two
league matches, may get a few minutes as he works his way back into

However, with temperatures expected around 100 degrees and a league
match with Philadelphia on Sunday, Hyndman will be cautious with his

“I said to the players, if we’re going to win a game, let’s win on
Sunday," he said this week. “That’s where my priorities are and that’s
where I want my players’ priorities to be. We can do a lot for FC Dallas
internationally if we play Inter Milan well, but what does that mean?
At the end of the day, we’re trying to get into the MLS playoffs." 

Inter Milan

The brightest spot in Tuesday’s loss to Panathinaikos was the
performance of young midfielder Philippe Coutinho, who scored a nice
goal. The 19-year-old Brazilian is considered a star of the future for
the European side.

But most eyes will be on coach Rafael Benítez. Recently hired after
the departure of José Mourinho, Benítez is under pressure to repeat the
club’s success of last year.

“There is a challenge for every man out here to have the opportunity
to train with a team like this that has won everything in the last
year,” Benítez said on Wednesday. “So it is a challenge for me to do the
same this year or at least to try to reach for trophies.”

A win against Dallas is expected. A loss would bring out the Italian
media’s fangs very early in his tenure. 

Heroes and Villains

Ugo Ihemelu vs. Samuel
Eto’o: The FC Dallas back line hasn’t allowed multiple goals in 13
straight MLS games, and Ihemelu has been the rock in the middle.
However, Eto’o is, well, Eto’o. The Cameroonian's world-class pace and
power have helped him produce goals in Europe’s top leagues and at the
international level, and his ability to get in behind the defense will
keep Ihemelu on his toes all night.

Stat that makes you go "Hm..."

1,832. Number of available seats remaining for the match (as of
Thursday morning).

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