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Real Salt Lake vs. FC Dallas Leg 2 - 3 questions

Well I have to admit that one of my favorite things about being part of the SB Nation is that I get to exchange 3 questions with an opposing blogger to get and give an insight to what the other side is thinking.  This week with a spot in the Western Conference Finals at stake, I once again get to swap questions with Big D Soccer's Daniel and here are his answers to my questions:

1. With a one goal lead it might be tempting for Dallas to look to play a bit more defensive minded (New York didn't and it cost them), and while a coach would never admit that he is going to try to protect a one goal lead, given the fact that only up only 7 goals all season at Rio Tinto, do you expect that perhaps FCD will look to defend a bit more and look for some counter attacking chances?

A. I don't think you'll see FCD try to play any differently than they have all season. Dallas knows what to expect from Salt Lake and I think, much like the first leg, we should see a very exciting game with two teams wanting to impose their will on each other and not sitting any MLS fan knows, the playoffs can get crazy in the last 30 minutes of a game like we saw on Thursday night and a lot of times tactics get thrown out the window and you simply see who wants it more. Dallas has not been a team that struggles to score on the road with 17 goals in 15 road games this season, so that will definitely be an interesting battle to watch.

 I do think that if we get to the last 15 minutes with FCD up a goal you're very likely to see a player like Eric Alexander subbed into the midfield rather than Eric Avila

the other two questions after the jump:

2. Brek Shea is back in the lineup and he is one of those players that can make a difference with the ball as well as off the ball by his play and talk, we saw earlier this year that he was very effective at getting players to react to him with silly fouls, yellow cards, and even a red card or two.  Is this an intentional tactic that he uses, or is he just one of those trash talking, try to get into your head kinda guys?

A funny story from a couple of years ago, Brek Shea was sent off within 30 seconds in his first pre-season game with FC Dallas on a horrible(but not malicious) tackle. Shea is not a dirty player or even a trash talker that I've seen, he is just extremely young(still just 20 years old) and can be a little too exuberant.

His large frame gives defenders trouble and I think that's the main problem. I thought it was a very interesting development in game 1 when Shea came into the game and FCD stopped trying to cross the ball in and rather played some stuff over the top to Brek Shea that gave the RSL center backs lots of trouble as we saw when Robbie Russell(I think) almost gave up a penalty. When Shea plays well, FC Dallas has been(literally) unbeatable though he drifts in and out of games majorly.

3. It sounds as if George John will be returning to the back line for this match, given that he is just coming off a hamstring injury, how do you think he will be able to deal with the pace of players like Espindola and Findley?  Do the injuries to so many defenders have you worried about what lineup will be available on any given week?  Dallas has only one clean sheet in their last 9 matches.

That's definitely a concern for Dallas. George John was immense for the first 20 games of the season, but after he picked up a recurring hamstring injury he hasn't been quite the same. Speed is definitely the biggest problem with him, though his understanding with Ugo Ihemelu has curtailed that somewhat. The defensive back 4 is definitely the main question mark for Dallas heading into Salt Lake City this weekend and *shameless plug* we discussed the back 4 very in-depth on Thursday over at Big D Soccer (

If you want to check out my answers to Daniels questions, just jump over to Big D Soccer