The busy month of May kicks off on Sunday for FC Dallas as they host the New York Red Bulls at Toyota Stadium.
FC Dallas is coming off their second loss of the season, a 4-1 drubbing on the road last weekend to D.C. United. Oscar Pareja will be without both Zach Loyd and Michel for Sunday’s match, as both players were shown a red card in the loss.
Mike Petke’s team started the season winless through their first six games, but have reeled off two straight wins before drawing Columbus last weekend. The Red Bulls attack has gotten going more so in the last three weeks, as they have outscored their opponents seven to two led by four goals from English forward Bradley Wright-Phillips.
In the lone meeting last season between these two clubs, New York won the game 1-0 off an own goal by former FCD midfielder Erick.
The Red Bulls have won two out of their last three meetings in Frisco, including a playoff game in 2011.
Petke has a couple long-term injuries to discuss at the moment. Midfielders Bobby Convey and Marius Obekop are out with hamstring injuries while defender Richard Eckersley is out with an ankle sprain.
New York does have a couple players listed as questionable, Designated Player Tim Cahill and forward Andre Akpan both have hamstring strains that could keep them out of Sunday’s game.
Roy Miller vs Fabian Castillo - FCD fans all know that Castillo can beat just about anyone in MLS with his speed. Miller is a smart veteran that will have to find ways to keep Castillo at bay in this one by forcing him inside more.
Bradley Wright-Phillips vs Matt Hedges - Wright-Phillips is third in the league in scoring with five goals thanks to his hat trick a week ago against Houston. Hedges has already had his hands full this season with tricky forwards like Wright-Phillips and will have to make sure that the Englishman doesn’t get a lot of extra space in the penalty box as he does well at finding pockets of space behind the defense to score goals.
Key Player for New York
Thierry Henry - The Frenchman is always a threat on the ball for the Red Bulls. So far in 2014, Henry has three goals and two assists. This will also be Henry’s 100th appearance for New York. He has 44 goals and 30 assists in 99 games played since joining the Red Bulls in 2010. The Red Bulls are also undefeated in the last 22 games in which he has scored (17-0-5).
Parke uses a 4-4-2 formation, fairly similar to what FCD faced a week ago in Washington, D.C.
Goalkeeper: Luis Robles; RB: Roy Miller; CB: Armando, Jamison Olave; LB: Kosuke Kimura; RM: Lloyd Sam; CM: Dax McCarty, Tim Cahill; LM: Eric Alexander; FW: Thierry Henry, Bradley Wright-Phillips.
Keys to three points
New York is a team that is much better than their 2-2-5 record suggests. Henry is always a threat on and off the ball and Wright-Phillips is red hot after scoring four goals last week in two games. But more importantly the role players on this club always tend to quietly step up and do their job.
The speed on the wings will be an advantage that Dallas has in this game. Castillo and Je-Vaughn Watson will need to find ways to pin back the New York fullbacks and limit how much they are able to get forward into the attack.
FCD will also need to get Blas Perez or David Texeira involved early in the match. Depending on who Pareja starts, both players rely a lot on getting the ball in space and holding it up for the runs of Castillo and Watson. Having both Perez and/or Texeira involved early will keep the Red Bull defenders pinned back in their own defensive zone more too.
Lastly, on defense Dallas will need to limit the number of set pieces that the Red Bulls are able to get. Henry is a clever player over the ball and may be one of the best corner kick takers in the league.