Villar's rise makes him a target

Midfielder prepared for opponent's physical play

Ricardo Villar is a target.

There’s no mistaking the fact the midfielder has been on the receiving end of some physical play the last two matches vs. Portland and Sporting Kansas City.

But when you’re scoring goals, extra attention is expected.

“That particular play … it’s unfortunate,” said Villar of the hard tackle he got from SKC’s Chance Meyers in the 35’ that resulted in him leaving the field before coming back for the final minutes of the first half. He didn’t return in the second half.

“It disrupts the sequence of the game.”

Villar says referees can help keep the game in-check with yellow cards, which Meyers did get, but ultimately he has to be ready.

“I’ve just got to stay stronger when I have the ball,” Villar said. “I just didn’t see that one coming.”

Villar is FC Dallas’ leading scorer after three games with two goals – the game-winner vs. New York and the lone goal of FCD’s 2-1 loss to SKC. Villar’s goal against New York was his first goal as an MLS player.

But Villar’s goal against SKC, a free kick over a wall of players that the goalie never saw coming, had a hollow feeling.

“It doesn’t feel good because we lost last game,” Villar said. “Of course I like to contribute, but it doesn’t matter who scores when we don’t get the points.”

Villar expects DC United to be under pressure when they face FC Dallas on Friday (6:30 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Network). DC hasn’t won a game this year and have one point after tying Vancouver, 0-0.

Villar said the match will be about making smart plays and picking the right moments.

“Build on the game, build on their frustration and capitalize on the chances we get,” Villar said.

Despite being a target, Villar said he won’t change the way he’s playing and he won’t worry about potential overly physical play.

His goal is to maintain possession in the final third of the field when FC Dallas has the ball.

“Just have to be quicker to move it and hopefully when play is open, I can pass the ball,” Villar said. “Keep going and protect myself, there’s nothing else you can do.”