FC Dallas returns home for their only MLS match at FC Dallas Stadium in June as they host Sporting Kansas City in Frisco for the first time since June 12, 2011(amazingly, the same day the Dallas Mavericks won the 2011 NBA Championship in Miami). Tonight's match will be called by myself and Dante Washington on TXA 21 at 7:30PM. If you're not headed out to the stadium, we certainly hope you tune in! Here's ten key stats on what should be a fantastic game tonight.
29 days for FC Dallas to play their next seven games, starting tonight and culminating in a big match at Supporter’s Shield race leaders Montreal on July 20. The jam-packed schedule includes a mid-week league game on July 4th & a quarterfinal at home to Portland in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup coming up Wednesday. Don’t forget FC Dallas had to play twice last week, in the Open Cup at home to Houston and the tough 1-0 loss at Portland. With a schedule of difficult opponents coming up and no time in between matches to rest, that sets the stage for a critical game for FC Dallas at home to a strong Sporting Kansas City side tonight.
9 more goals scored than opponents for FC Dallas in MLS play at home this season. As we have discussed before, Frisco has been a fortress for FC Dallas, winning seven of eight and drawing the other. The numbers are 13 goals scored compared to only four allowed, with a goal differential of +9 that is tied with the Montreal Impact for the 2nd best in MLS. Tops in MLS is the LA Galaxy at +10, outscoring home challengers 12-2.
21 is Fabian Castillo’s age after a birthday this past Monday. The Colombian winger has dazzled FC Dallas and their supporters with his pace and ability, but consistency still seems to be an issue…perhaps one that is a little easier to grasp with the reminder about his still tender age. Castillo is the youngest of FC Dallas’ projected starting XI again tonight against Sporting KC. As of his 21st birthday, Castillo has appeared in 62 MLS matches with 10 goals scored.
20 different players have appeared in a league match for FC Dallas this season after Ramon Nunez made a five minute cameo as a sub in Colorado on June 1st. It is definitely a different story than last year when injuries and ineffectiveness created a revolving door for Schellas Hyndman. By this point in the 2012 season, 25 players had made an appearance on the pitch in a league match. Two more were still yet to debut to raise the full season total of player appearances to 27, as David Ferreira was almost two weeks from returning from injury and Julian de Guzman was still to be acquired in a trade.
3 weeks since Sporting Kansas City has played in MLS. With FC Dallas managing a very busy time in their schedule, SKC is well rested and fit. The last league match for SKC was on June 1st (a 2-1 loss to Montreal). Many of their starting XI did play in an Open Cup 4th round loss 10 days ago to Orlando City SC, but FCD may be dealing with a rested, sharp and hungry outfit tonight. For three weeks, Sporting has been training with the burden of a three-match winless streak in MLS and preparing to put an end to that.
13 goals allowed by Sporting Kansas City this season in 15 matches, tied with New England for the fewest goals allowed in MLS. Having an air tight defense is nothing new for SKC. Their team goals against average was even lower last year and the best in the league at 0.79, allowing 27 in 34 matches. Since the start of June 2011, Kansas City has been scored on 61 times in 74 contests, for a two year team goals against average of 0.82.
1.6 saves per match made by Sporting KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen, which is definitely the lowest in Major League Soccer. SKC’s strong defense keeps Nielsen from being tested often. Last year, the 35 year old from Denmark was only asked to make 2.3 saves per match. Opponents this year are only putting 2.5 shots on goal a game against Nielsen in the Kansas City net, by comparison FC Dallas GK Raul Fernandez has shined under a heavy workload as he is making 4.1 saves per match.
7 goals scored by Claudio Bieler for Sporting Kansas City. Bieler is from Argentina and a new designated player for SKC in 2013. He scored six goals in their first ten matches, but has only one in their last 5, a penalty given late in first half stoppage time against Montreal on June 1. Bieler joins Jack McInerney, Marco DiVaio, Mike Magee, Camilo and Dominic Oduro as the top six goal scorers in MLS this season. Not one of them were in the top six in MLS last season as the league has seen an influx of goal scoring talent arrive from the outside or develop from within in 2013.
206 minutes played for Sporting KC this year for 2012’s leading goal scorer Kei Kamara. After a career best 11 goals, he went on a successful loan spell to Barclay’s Premier League side Norwich City in January. Kamara scored once in 11 league appearances, an equalizer in an eventual win vs. Everton, a vital three points in their successful efforts to stay up. Since returning in May, Kamara an 8-year MLS veteran has made five appearances. Kamara scored as a sub against Houston on May 26 and made his first start three weeks ago in the loss to the Impact.
15 assists last season to lead MLS for SKC midfielder Graham Zusi, including assists on both goals in a come from behind win against FC Dallas in March. Zusi continues to be one of the league’s best setup men this year, with five assists tying him for 3rd in the league. The Orlando, FL native has been a top choice for Juergen Klinsmann, appearing in 5 of 6 World Cup Qualifiers in 2013 for the USMNT. He notched an assist on Jozy Altidore’s opener at Jamaica on June 7th. Schellas Hyndman told me Zusi’s breakout game as a professional was his 2-goal, 1-assist performance just over two years ago in a win against FC Dallas. FCD will hope nothing like that is in store for tonight.
Enjoy the match everyone and we look forward to seeing you there or tuning in on TXA 21 at 730 p.m. as FC Dallas pushes for three more important points.