Just seven days and one game separate FC Dallas from the start of the MLS regular season, but tonight is a big one as FCD travels to Toyota Field in San Antonio for the deeprot Funds Cup against the NASL's San Antonio Scorpions.
FCD has enjoyed plenty of success in the 2014 preseason including three big wins in Bradenton, Florida last week against NASL, college and USSDA sides, but Saturday will without a doubt be the toughest test for FCD before next Saturday's MLS opener against Montreal.
"We’re going to keep shaping up the team in many areas tactically and it’s a game that’s going to give us minutes for players that need to be ready for 90 minutes-mode and competition-mode," said head coach Oscar Pareja. "It’s a chance to see a couple options, so we can achieve many things this weekend."
The biggest questions for FC Dallas heading into Saturday's match will be who starts next to Hendry Thomas in the center of midfield and who takes Je-Vaughn Watson's spot on the right wing as the Jamaican is away from the club on international duty. Pareja has said that this weekend's lineup will go a long ways in determining who will get the starts when the curtain raises at Toyota Stadium in Frisco next Saturday.
Saturday's match is also a chance for the city of San Antonio to show their MLS aspirations to the American soccer community. Toyota Field, the home of the Scorpions, holds a little over 8,000 and can easily be expanded to an MLS-appropriate size, should the Scorpions be one of the new MLS teams that Commissioner Don Garber has hinted at in recent months. Reports from San Antonio suggest a huge crowd should be on display in the Alamo city tonight and it's a match that coach Pareja is looking forward to.
"I think it’s an incredible city and it’s a great community. San Antonio always has shown to American soccer that they’re a community that’s eager to keep growing on the soccer side," said Pareja. "I’m happy for them not just to have the Scorpions, but to have aspirations to have MLS team in the future."