FRISCO - FC Dallas faces essentially must-win game tonight as the Colorado Rapids visit Toyota Stadium for the final time in 2017. Oscar Pareja has dressed a different lineup for tonight’s match, but one we’ve seen a little bit of before.
Morales and Mauro
Javier Morales receives the start alongside Carlos Gruezo in the central midfield with Kellyn Acosta (injury) not available. With Mauro Diaz back in the picture further up into the attack, Pareja is going back to a similar look that we saw in the second half against the New York Red Bulls on Sept. 2 in a 2-2 draw. That match saw a 10-man FCD - with Maxi Urruti and Michael Barrios up top - win the second half, 2-1, and create several chances as Morales patrolled the middle ground, staggered between Victor Ulloa and Diaz with a knack for playing defensively while still proving vital in the attack. Slot in defensive stalwart Gruezo for Ulloa tonight and Pareja is hoping for a similar result.
Set Piece Specialist
Morales has proven to be FCD’s best creating threat on set pieces in recent weeks and I think it could play into his selection in tonight’s lineup. Last time Colorado was in town, Dallas had 12 corner opportunities (nearly double their 2017 average) and nine free kicks from an offensively-threatening position. They came away with zero goals to show for either. The Rapids have committed the fourth-most fouls in MLS this season, and if Dallas is going to win tonight, they’ll need to score off of set pieces from the foot of Javi Mo.
With Matt Hedges available once again tonight, he will return to the lineup with Atiba Harris alongside him in the middle. Maynor Figueroa moves back to an outside back role on the left and Hernan Grana will make his 25th start at right back as the team’s second-most leading minute man.
This is the same back four that dressed in last month’s 0-0 draw against the Rapids.