SANDY - FC Dallas has arrived at Rio Tinto Stadium and we’re just under an hour from kick in the first of two meetings against Real Salt Lake. Let’s dive into the FCD Starting XI:
The 4-4-2 (or 4-2-4)
Oscar Pareja spoke this week about each of his formation preferences, alternating between the 4-2-3-1 and a 4-4-2, which he calls a 4-2-4. The last two games, we’ve seen the former to start the match and the latter to finish. Tonight, I believe we’re in for the reverse. Pareja and Co. have opted to start Tesho Akindele and Maxi Urruti up top with Michael Barrios and Roland Lamah on the wings - a look we saw for about 20 minutes (54th-75th minute) against Portland.
Watch out for a run-and-gun, more direct style of attack with Kellyn Acosta pushing up into the attacking midfield quite a bit.
That being said, we can almost surely count on FCD switching to the 4-2-3-1 at some point in the second half - especially with RSL legend Javier Morales making his return to Salt Lake City, possibly his last trip as a player.
Pareja knows what this trip means to the Maestro and will almost assuredly get him into the game at some point. He’s also a pretty good option to have coming into a match late, either to slow and calm the game down with a lead or to pull the strings and provide a different offensive look if Dallas is trailing.
Victor Ulloa will make his first start of the season tonight, giving Carlos Gruezo a lighter night coming off the bench. It will be the Homegrown’s 98th MLS appearance as he looks to become just the eighth Homegrown player in league history to play in 100 matches.
Along with Jesse Gonzalez and Acosta in the Starting XI, it is the second time in 2017 that Dallas has started three Homegrowns in a game (4/11 at SKC - Gonzalez, Guillen and Pomykal). Acosta subbed into that April match in the second half to give Dallas its first four Homegrown look of the year.
A Homegrown has appeared in the starting lineup for Dallas in every competitive match of 2017.