The month of August rolls on for FC Dallas as the club looks to end its current nine-game winless run with a match against the LA Galaxy this Sunday.
LA is coming off a three-games-in-seven-days stretch against some of Europe’s best in the International Champions Cup. The Galaxy claimed fourth place in the ICC, losing games to Real Madrid and AC Milan and beating Italian side Juventus in the tournament.
Los Angeles returns to league play for the first time since a July 27 loss at Colorado. LA is 4-3-0 in its last seven matches, with one of those wins coming against FC Dallas back in July.
So far this season the two clubs have split the series, with Dallas getting a win earlier this year in Frisco.
The Galaxy enter this match with only a couple question marks. Forward Robbie Keane is still getting over a hip flexor strain while Robbie Rogers is dealing with a hamstring strain of his own. Both played in the International Champions Cup and should be able to go on Sunday.
Marcelo Sarvas vs. David Ferreira – We saw this battle a couple weeks back when these two clubs played one another and we’ll certainly see it again on Sunday. Sarvas continues to lead the league in fouls committed with 59 on the season, while Ferreira continues to lead the league in fouls suffered with 56.
Robbie Keane vs. George John – The veteran forward got in nearly a hour’s worth of work on Wednesday against AC Milan in the ICC. Keane’s sharpness will be tested in this one as he will go head-to-head with Dallas’ best defender in John. Whoever gets the best of this matchup will certainly help dictate which club comes out on top.
Key Player for Los Angeles
Landon Donovan – Everyone knows what Donovan brings to the table for the Galaxy. His leadership and ability to put his team in good scoring chances give the Galaxy an edge whenever he is healthy. His play for the United States in the Gold Cup proved that he is back to his high level of play that we’ve seen out of him over the years. If he is able to get on the same page as Keane, the Galaxy will certainly be contending once again for an MLS Cup this fall.
Bruce Arena typically uses a traditional 4-4-2 formation that uses two box-to-box type midfielders in the center of the park.
GK: Carlo Cudicini; RB: Sean Franklin, CB: Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza, LB: Todd Dunivant; RM: Landon Donovan; CM: Marcelo Sarvas, Juninho; LM: Robbie Rogers FW: Robbie Keane, Gyasi Zardes.
Keys to three points
The rubber match of the season series between these two clubs will be decided on Sunday in Frisco. Just how tired the Galaxy will be is possibly the biggest question of all. Three games in seven days in the ICC can work any team to their limits, but the Galaxy arguably has the best depth in Major League Soccer.
Dallas is in a tough spot here with their current slumps. No wins since the end of May, now stretching to nine games. No goals since the end of June, stretching to five games, six if you want to count the friendly against Stoke City.
The biggest thing Dallas needs out of this game is a confidence boost. From that it means putting chances on goal to test the Galaxy out. They’re the ones with tired legs here and they’ll also be dealing with the Texas summer heat.
Schellas Hyndman needs to game plan around the fact that LA loves to counter attack. Good possession from the midfield needs to lead to scoring chances up front. Lately, Dallas hasn’t taken enough chances up front and this is a game that they need to put all of their chips forward to get that first goal in over a month.
Defensively, Dallas needs to keep a careful eye or two on Donovan and Keane, but the home side also needs to be aware of rookie forward Gyasi Zardes. All three are impact players for the Galaxy.
LA is 3-8-1 this season away from home. Three points are certainly there for the taking if Dallas plays a complete game for 90 minutes. It won’t be easy but it certainly isn’t out of the question for this group.