FC Dallas began the 2015 regular season with 1-0 win over San Jose- thanks to a stoppage time goal from Blas Perez and they'll look to make it two in a row on Saturday when they host Sporting Kansas City at Toyota Stadium.
Sporting KC is coming off a 1-1 draw to the NY Red Bulls. Sporting fired off 18 shots in its home opener but only Ike Opara’s header in the 50th minute found the back of the net for Kansas City.
Sporting will be without defender Chance Myers, who ruptured his Achilles tendon last May. Meyers is expected to rejoin the team on April first. They'll also be missing US Men's National Team defender Matt Besler who is out due to yellow card accumulation.
Blas Perez vs Ike Opara- Perez scored the game winner against San Jose and came close on a couple other shots. However, FC Dallas’ leading scorer will have a tough time finding opportunities with Opara anchoring Sporting’s back line.
Opara earned Team of the Week recognition for tallying the only goal for KC, winning a game-high 11 duels, and limiting Red Bulls’ striker Bradley Wright-Phillips to 24 touches and zero shots on goal.
Matt Hedges vs Dom Dwyer- Dwyer was Sporting’s leading scorer last season with 22 goals, but had a number of missed opportunities last week. You can be sure Dwyer will be looking to finish any opportunity he gets on Saturday. So, it will be up to Hedges and the back line to limit those chances.
Key Player for Kansas City
Dwyer- The 26-year-old forward had five shots last week but only one shot on goal. He was very frustrated with his inability to finish and shouldered the blame for the 1-1 draw to NY. Chances are he will come out Saturday looking to score to make up for last week’s mistakes.
Goalkeeper: Luis Marin; Backline: Amadou Dia, Ike Opara, Jalil Anibaba, Seth Sinovic; Midfield: Roger Espinoza, Benny Feilhaber, Graham, Zusi, Krisztian Nemeth, Bernardo Anor; Forward: Dominic Dwyer
Keys to three points
FC Dallas allowed San Jose to play the majority of the first half in its defensive third. It wasn’t until the second half and particularly the final minutes that Dallas really went into “attack mode.”
Despite dominating possession for most of the game, the Red Bulls were out shot by Sporting KC 18-14. Kansas City is an aggressive and opportunistic club.
For FC Dallas to put three more points in its pocket, it will need to set the tone early and play a majority of the match in Sporting’s defensive third.