FRISCO, Texas - Coming off one of the best overall defensive performances of the season last week, FC Dallas will face another threatening attack on Saturday night against the reigning Eastern Conference champions.
“They’re obviously two of the best in the league and that’s why they were in the Final last year,” defender Ryan Hollingshead said on Tuesday as the team returned to training. “Every team offers a different one-two punch, they’ve all got their guys that can score goals and so it’ll be a lot this week just watching video, seeing their movements and how they play together.”
Just a year ago, Kamara tied for the MLS lead in goals scored with 22 while taking 135 shots at goal, the third-most of any player in his first season in Columbus. Higuain has been a consistent contributor to the Crew SC attack over the last three seasons, picking up 30 goals and 25 assists.
“Kamara has scored a lot of goals last year, and Higuain is recognized for his talent,” Oscar Pareja said. “All of them we’ll know and we’re going to try to neutralize what they do as we always do, but as a team.”
“He’s always super dangerous and they create a ton of chances from wide spaces so we just have to be aware of that,” captain Matt Hedges added. “When you have those players, the Number 10 and the striker, they always have some way they like to combine the most, you just have to be aware of that because it’s not easy those types.”
And the pure talent on the field for Columbus reminds Hedges of another team’s combination of dangerous Argentine Number 10 and goal scorer – one he sees every day.
“It really helps as a back four unit to play against guys like Mauro and Fabian every day,” he said. “It really makes us stronger and there’s not really anyone else like them in the league, so that makes us so much better.”
As Dallas heads into the weekend against Columbus with eyes on a third-straight clean sheet and fourth of the early season, the focus will be on the collective defense’s attention to detail.
“I think a lot of it is just being on our toes the whole game,” Hollingshead said. “A lot of the times we get scored on it’s because the level will drop or our intensity will drop or we’ll lose focus for a second. If we can stay intense the entire match, I feel like our defense has the pieces to keep that clean sheet.”