FRISCO — FC Dallas was in between two Major League Soccer matchups last week while preparing for its Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup fourth round matchup with San Antonio FC. In a hectic week for the team, Dallas had the task of preparing for three games in a span of eight days.
This week, FCD is back in its normal routine in preparation for a Round of 16 date with Sporting Kansas City. With a week off from MLS play due to the World Cup break, Dallas’ attention is solely on traveling to Kansas City and coming back with a win.
“It’s going to be a lot easier than going to San Antonio to get those points because we don’t have a game in the middle of the week in between MLS matches, Reggie Cannon said. “The team is going to be well-rested and everyone is going to step up to the challenge. I think the lineup is going to be pretty interesting when we get out there.”
The return to normalcy comes at a good time for FC Dallas. Sporting knocked FCD out of the Open Cup last year in the quarterfinals, and the loss was suffered at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City. Dallas hasn’t won there since 2011, and now, the team has a fresh loss from last year on their minds ahead of Saturday.
“We went there and we were very, very competitive,” Head Coach Oscar Pareja said. “With the memory of just losing in overtime and all those things, they were very noticeable and we didn’t want to point them out afterwards.”
Cannon said the team is relaxed going into Saturday’s game. A full week of training and preparation has given FCD the opportunity to get back into a normal week of training after a busy patch of games on the schedule. Dallas is currently on an eight-game unbeaten streak, so Cannon said Pareja wants the players to train the same way they would any other game.
“Oscar is telling us to just go out there and play our game,” Cannon said. “We’re going to prepare the same way we prepare for any other team, but there’s no doubt it’s unbelievably hard to get points [in Kansas City].”
Sporting KC and FC Dallas both sit at the top of the Western Conference standings and have the second-best records in league play. Instead of seeing lineups with a mix of youth and experience, it is possible to see the two sides play the strongest players they have Saturday night with all the attention focused on this matchup.
“I have no doubt that the team will be ready and we’re going to be ready for whatever they come out with,” Cannon said. “We’re going to get the three points.”