FC Dallas begins the month of August on the road as they visit Chivas USA at the StubHub Center in Carson, California on Sunday evening.
First-year head coach Wilmer Cabrera’s team has done well this summer. Despite losing their last two games, the club went on a four-game winning streak - the first for the club since 2008.
Chivas was downed by the Colorado Rapids last weekend 3-0. In their current two-game losing streak, Chivas has been outscored 6-1.
So far this season these two clubs have met twice with FC Dallas getting the better of the series. In March, FC Dallas won the first meeting of the season 3-1 before drawing Chivas USA in May 1-1.
Chivas is currently dealing with a couple long-term injuries at the moment. Rookie midfielder Tommy McNamara (ACL reconstruction), Bobby Burling (Medial Menisectomy) and Martin Rivero (ACL reconstruction) are all out this weekend.
The one question mark for Cabrera is centered around former FC Dallas midfielder Eric Avila, who is dealing with an ankle injury.
Erick Torres vs Matt Hedges – One way to shut down Chivas is by making sure Torres sees limited time on the ball. But more importantly for FC Dallas is having Hedges or Stephen Keel shadow him enough to not allow him to find the open space around the penalty box to take chances on goal.
Akira Kaji vs Fabian Castillo - The Japanese defender probably hasn’t seen the type of speed that Castillo possesses in his short time with Chivas. The young Colombian will be coming off a suspension for FC Dallas and will be looking to get back to his scoring ways that FCD fans have seen out of him during the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup run.
Key Player for Chivas USA
Erick Torres – There is little doubt who the key man for Chivas USA is these days. Torres always finds himself in the right spots for the Goats as he leads the team with 14 goals, which is also good enough for third in MLS right now. He scored in six of the last seven games for Chivas.
Cabrera has used a 4-4-2 formation this season that has seen some success.
Goalkeeper: Dan Kennedy; RB: Akira Kaji; CB: Carlos Bocanegra, Andrew Jean-Baptiste; LB: Donny Toia; RM: Mauro Rosales; CM: Nathan Sturgis, Agustín Pelletieri; LM: Marco Delgado; FW: Erick Torres, Leandro Barrera
Keys to three points
If there was ever a time for FC Dallas to snap an eight-game winless streak on the road, it may be this weekend. Chivas is a tricky team to play no matter the location but this season has been a little different for Oscar Pareja and the club against the Rojiblancos.
To win this game FC Dallas has to find ways to stop Torres, spread Chivas wide in the attack and take plenty of chances on goal.
Last week against Colorado, Chivas did not apply a ton of pressure defensively against the speed of the Rapids. This is an area FC Dallas can expose with Fabian Castillo and Andres Escobar on the field again. The lack of pressure also should allow FCD to spread Chivas wide, allowing Blas Perez and Tesho Akindele more space to create chances up top as well.
With injuries to Martin Rivero and Tommy McNamera, Chivas lacks a true playmaker in the midfield. FC Dallas will want to look to control the midfield because of this hole in the Chivas midfield. Winning the possession battle will keep the pressure off the defense, limit Torres and help yield more chances up front for the attack.