FRISCO — Following its road win over Sporting Kansas City, FC Dallas returns to Texas to host the San Jose Earthquakes at Toyota Stadium. The matchup pits first and last place in the Western Conference as San Jose hasn't had the best season thus far. While FCD has been riding high and is on top of the west, the Earthquakes have struggle heavily throughout the season and are at the bottom of the pecking order.
Tough Luck in 2017
In two meetings last season, the Jahmir Hyka displayed late-game heroics. In April, the midfielder struck in the 94th minute to earn the Quakes a 1-1 draw at Avaya Stadium in a game largely dominated by the visiting FC Dallas. Then in May at Toyota Stadium, Hyka once again strike in the 81st minute to hand FCD its first loss of the season at that point. On the last day of the season, the two teams were fighting down to the wire for the final playoff spot in the West. The Quakes would punch their ticket into the postseason with a Marco Ureña game-winner over Minnesota in the third minute of stoppage time, clinching the final spot and ending FCD's season. Avoiding a late-game tally from San Jose in either of the head-to-head meetings would've likely sent Dallas to the postseason for a fourth straight year.
On Different Ends of the Spectrum
San Jose and Dallas have had very different 2018 seasons. While FCD has been at or near the top of the Western Conference Standings for all of 2018, San Jose has been at or near the bottom for its entirety. The Quakes currently stand in last place in the west and are 29 points behind FCD. San Jose's goal differential of -11 is tied for the worst in the Western Conference, and its only two wins of the season have come against Minnesota United FC.
Reto Ziegler vs. Danny Hoesen — Hoesen is San Jose's leading goal scorer this season with a total of 10 thus far. The Quakes like to play Hoesen as the right-side striker, so Ziegler will likely mark him for the entirety of the game. Ziegler along with his partner in the middle, Matt Hedges, were key figures in the win over SKC, and the duo will have to replicate their performances once again this weekend.
Michael Barrios vs. Shea Salinas — Barrios is coming off a historic performance and his best of the 2018 season against SKC, scoring his first career hat trick. After scoring his first goal of the year, he will look to continue to ride his form into this weekend back home in Texas. Running alongside the right flank, Barrios will be marked by Salinas, who has started at left back this season for the Quakes.
Projected Starting XI
San Jose Earthquakes (4-4-2): Tarbell; Salinas, Cummings, Jungwirth, Lima; Wondolowski, Yueill, Godoy, Hyka; Hoesen, Kazaishvili
Keys to Three Points
San Jose has struggled against just about every team in MLS this season not named Minnesota United FC. The Quakes are coming off a draw to Real Salt Lake, though, but have struggled heavily against top-tier opponents. FC Dallas will need to find multiple sources of offensive firepower this week with the way Cummings and Jungwirth have struggled. Maxi Urruti could possibly get back on the scoresheet, or another player could have a breakout game like Barrios did against SKC. FCD's midfield has been stout recently, and their success in the midfield has proved to be imperative to the team's success. It's Dallas' game to lose, especially with the home crowd behind them.