Match Preview: FC Dallas vs. Montreal Impact
FC DALLAS vs MONTREAL IMPACT
TOYOTA STADIUM, Frisco, Texas
March 8, 2014 (WEEK 1, MLS Game #5)
7:30 p.m. CT (TWCSN-TX; TVA)
A pair of clubs making new beginnings open the 2014 MLS season against each other as FC Dallas play host to the Montreal Impact on Saturday evening at Toyota Stadium. FC Dallas suffered a late slide to miss out on the MLS Cup Playoffs for a second consecutive season, then hired Oscar Pareja away from Colorado to serve as the new head coach. The Impact reached the postseason in just their second MLS season, but this year will be led on the touchline by Frank Klopas, who last year was in charge of the Chicago Fire.
REFEREE: Jorge Luna. SAR (bench): Luis Guardia; JAR (opposite): Pedro Trejo; 4th: TBA
MLS Career: First game.
SUSPENDED: MTL: Nelson Rivas (through March 9); Marco Di Vaio (through March 22); Andres Romero (through March 22)
DISABLED LIST: DAL: London Woodberry
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (2 meeting): FC Dallas 1 win, 2 goals … Impact 0 wins, 1 goal … Ties 1
AT DALLAS (1 meeting): FC Dallas 1 win, 2 goals … Impact 0 wins, 1 goal … Ties 0
LAST YEAR (MLS):
7/20: MTL 0, DAL 0
- This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
- The Impact have yet to defeat FC Dallas. The teams played to a scoreless draw last July 20 at Stade Saputo in their only meeting of the season; FCD took a 2-1 win in Frisco in the first meeting ever between the clubs in 2012.
- Coaches record: Oscar Pareja vs. MTL: P2 W2 L0 D0 … Frank Klopas vs. DAL: P3 W1 L2 D0
With Oscar Pareja having moved from the Colorado Rapids to take over the head coaching duties, FC Dallas are looking to put an end to a two-season MLS Cup Playoffs drought in 2014. A season ago, FCD led the Western Conference in mid-June – before winning just three games over the final half of the season to finish out of the postseason chase.
- FC Dallas concluded their preseason preparations with a 1-1 draw with the NASL San Antonio Scorpions before a sellout crowd last Saturday at Toyota Field in San Antonio. Kellyn Acosta scored the lone FC Dallas goal, heading home a Michel cross in the 47th minute.
- Here’s the FCD starting team: Chris Seitz – Kellyn Acosta, Moises Hernandez, Matt Hedges, Michel – Danny Garcia, Fabian Castillo, Andrew Jacobson, Hendry Thomas – Mauro Diaz, Blas Perez
- Pareja has spent the preseason installing a 4-3-3 tactical scheme, and picked up winger Andres Escobar on loan from Dynamo Kiev with the aim of installing him opposite Fabian Castillo on the opposite side. Both are former Colombian U-20 internationals.
- “I think [Escobar] a little bit more polished. I think his finishing is also better and he [played] for the last three years in a different environment in the Ukraine,” said Pareja. “… You’re talking about two wingers coming at you with speed in Fabian and Andres. I just don’t want to be a defender on the other team.”
- With long-time FCD icon David Ferreira having left the club, Pareja also went to the transfer market to pick up Uruguayan youth international David Texeira from Dutch side FC Groningen as a young Designated Player.
- “He’s a striker who finishes, a striker who works extremely hard off the ball and is going to complement what we have already with [Andres] Escobar, [Mauro] DÌaz, [Fabian] Castillo and Blas [Perez],” FC Dallas technical director Fernando Clavijo said. “He’s a guy we have followed for a long time. He was probably one of the best players in the 2011 U-20 World Cup in Colombia, and from there he went to the Netherlands right away.”
- Another key acquisition in the offseason for FC Dallas was holding midfielder Hendry Thomas, who Pareja brought over from the Rapids in a trade to stiffen the center of the park. “Thomas will bring experience, presence, and he knows what the role is in the middle,” Pareja said. “I know he will be a good piece.”
- There is an injury question in the FCD backline for the season opener, as center back George John did not appear in any of the club’s preseason matches.
- “He has a bone bruise in his patella and a pain that has been there for a long time,” Pareja said. “It bothers him a lot when he’s out jogging, so we are giving his knee the proper time to heal so the same pain won’t reoccur again when he gets back.”
IN: MF Ryan Hollingshead (12/9/13 - 2013 SuperDraft); MF Adam Moffat (12/13/13 - trade from Seattle); MF Brian Span (1/9/14 - weighted lottery); MF Hendry Thomas (2/12/14 - traded from Colorado); FW Andres Escobar (2/14/14 - loan from Dynamo Kiev); FW David Texeira (2/21/14 - transfer from FC Groningen); FW Tesho Akindele (2/27/14 - SuperDraft); DF Nicholas Walker (2/27/14 - SuperDraft)
OUT: MF David Ferreira (11/25/13 - option declined); MF Ramon Nunez (11/25/13 - option declined); MF Erick (11/25/13 - option declined); MF Jackson (12/9/13 - traded to Toronto); MF Victor Ulloa (12/9/13 - out of contract); DF Ugo Ihemelu (12/9/13 - option declined); FW Kenny Cooper (12/13/13 - traded to Seattle); MF Bobby Warshaw (2/26/14 - transferred to GIAS); FW Bradlee Baladez (2/26/14 - waived); GK Kyle Zobeck (2/26/14 - waived)
Having reached the MLS Cup Playoffs in their second season of existence in the North American top-flight, the Montreal Impact kick off the new season under their third head coach in as many seasons. Frank Klopas has moved from the Chicago Fire to take over the club, replacing Marco Schallibaum, who guided the Impact to their first MLS postseason berth.
- The Impact ended their preseason slate with a 2-2-1 record following a loss in a penalty kick shootout after a 1-1 draw with Philadelphia Union in their final match at the Disney Pro Soccer Classic. Marco Di Vaio scored the lone goal for the Impact.
- Here’s the Impact team: Troy Perkins; Hassoun Camara (Calum Mallace 46), Wandrille Lefevre, Matteo Ferrari, Eric Miller (Heath Pearce 76); Hernan Bernardello, Collen Warner, Felipe (Patrice Bernier 79), Justin Mapp, Sanna Nyassi (Andres Romero 76); Andrew Wenger (Marco Di Vaio 64)
- “We worked on several things today but there were heavy legs following three weeks of training,” said Impact assistant coach Mauro Biello. “We controlled much of the second half and were able to come back and tie the game with a late goal.”
- After having been named captain in the offseason, Patrice Bernier faces a fight to be at full fitness for the season opener. He has been restricted to three substitute appearances during preseason.
- “I haven’t set any objective of being in great shape for the Dallas game. Nor am I forcing myself to be ready for a start and 90 minutes in Dallas – that’s a coaching decision,” Bernier said. “My priority is regaining fitness, maybe playing a few minutes there. We’ll see what happens after that first game.”
- Former U.S. international defender Heath Pearce is still with the club as a trialist, following his release by the New York Red Bulls following last season.
- “I look at it as a good opportunity,” Impact head coach Frank Klopas said. “Other teams wanted to bring him in, and we had a relationship with him and it could wind up being, for me, a steal. His health is fine, and there’s no issue so far.”
- The Impact are also awaiting the arrival of former Uruguayan youth international Santiago Gonzalez, who arrived from Institucion Atletica Sud America in Uruguay's first and second divisions.
- “Santiago is a young striker that has already played three professional seasons," De Santis said. “He is a dynamic forward that moves very well and can play with his back to the goal. It will take a bit of time to adapt, but I think he can bring a different element to the team.”
IN: DF Eric Miller (1/16/14 - SuperDraft); FW Santiago Gonzalez (2/14/14 - transfer from Sud America)
OUT: DF Alessandro Nesta (11/8/13 - retired); MF Paolo DelPiccolo (11/25/13 - option declined); MF Maximiliano Rodriguez (11/25/13 - option declined); MF Sinisa Ubiparipovic (12/9/13 - option declined); MF Davy Arnaud (12/10/13 - traded to D.C. United); DF Zarek Valentin (12/19/13 - transfer to Bodø/Glimt)