FRISCO, TX - MAY 14: Forward Danny Mwanga #10 of the Philadelphia Union heads the ball against Jackson Goncalves #6 of FC Dallas at Pizza Hut Park on May 14, 2011 in Frisco, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
FC Dallas is in a serious slump. Can they break out against the Union?
Entering Columbus last week, FC Dallas needed to get three points to keep pace with a very competitive Western Conference and instead found itself on the end of another loss and yet another red card.
FC Dallas finds itself mired in its worst slump of the past two years, with only two points out of a possible fifteen in their last five games. Not since 2009 has Dallas logged such a poor points-per-game stretch, and if the Toros can't figure out how to stop the bleeding soon, things could get ugly.
Today FCD host the Philadelphia Union, who are in a serious rut of their own. The Union have had a wild season with fan-favorite Sebastien LeToux being traded away in the offseason for cash considerations while this past week saw defensive mainstay Danny Califf shipped off to Chivas USA in exchange for a player plus other considerations. With several players missing from its 2011 playoff squad, the Union have struggled to find any consistency this season with only nine points so far, dropping Philadelphia all the way down to 9th in the Eastern Conference.
Despite those issues Philadelphia is counting on Lionard Pajoy to continue delivering the goods after his two-goal showing against New York last week. Pajoy started the season off slowly for the Union target man but has quickly adjusted to the league and has started showing plenty of confidence in front of opposing nets.
Luckily for Dallas, the Union will be missing its best player in Freddy Adu, who will be serving a red card suspension acquired in Philadelphia's last match against the New York Red Bulls. Adu gave the Red Bulls fits all last week and has looked solid in his past three games. Adu's sitting out could not come at a more opportune time for FCD.
Dallas meanwhile have two more suspensions to deal with, with one belonging to starting RB fitness-stud Zach Loyd, who earned his suspension last week against Columbus. With cover and depth thin at all positions, this absence could be filled by either Jackson Gonçalves or Hernan Pertuz, but neither of those players have played RB much recently, though Jackson filled in at that spot for a lengthy amount of time back in 2010.
The other suspension is a lengthy, three-match ban handed out this Thursday to Brek Shea, who was suspended for intentionally kicking a ball at an assistant referee during last week's tilt. While this might be a blessing in disguise given Brek's turf-toe injury, it is nonetheless disconcerting to see the suspensions continue at an alarming clip.
Dallas' attack has looked slightly better of late and the team finally broke its long scoreless streak last week when Fabian Castillo scored against the Columbus Crew. With Ricardo Villar almost fit enough to start, it will fall to ANdrew Jacobson and Daniel Hernandez again to provide a link from the midfield to final third, where Blas Perez and Fabian Castillo will be waiting.
With the Western Conference recently bolstered by trades, now is the time for FC Dallas to right the ship.
The game will be held in Friso's FC Dallas Stadium and it will be broadcast on Fox Sports Southwest. The match begins at 7:30 pm CDT.