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Real Salt Lake vs. FC Dallas - 3 questions

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Well it is that time again, and thanks to Daniel Robertson of BigDSoccer.com I was able to do a round of 3 questions with him about the upcoming matches between RSL and FC Dallas.

1) I have been very impressed how well FC Dallas have been able to do since the injury to David Ferreira, I think that injury lead to a change of playing style that may actually have made FC Dallas a better team.  How has the style of play changed without David and how has the team actually become better as a result of the new style? 

A) They've pretty much just gone speed speed speed. Dallas has moved to what can be a 4-5-1/4-3-3 hybrid that consists of the usual suspects in the back(Ihemelu, Loyd, John, Benitez) with a 3 man central midfield of Daniel Hernandez, Andrew Jacobson and Eric Alexander. Those three do a fantastic job of clogging the midfield to snuff out opposing attacks while getting the ball to the three man offensive unit of Brek Shea, Jackson and Marvin Chavez. If you look at the head maps, lately these three will tend to just roam all over the field so it's tough to say whether the formation is a 4-5-1 or a 4-3-3. Basically everyone knows their roles perfectly and thrives in them. 

Of course it doesn't hurt to have two of the hottest players in the league, Brek Shea and Jackson, who have both scored in the last three MLS games. 

the rest of my questions for him after the jump:

2) At the start of the year it looked as if there were some real concerns about how and where to play Brek Shea, including a move to the backline for a few matches, but out of the midfield he has quickly become a player that many consider a legit threat for MVP honors this year, what has caused the 21 year old to go from "soccer brat" to "MVP" in just one year? 

A) Yeah, the Shea to defense thing was really a disaster and you wonder just how good FCD's record would be had that never happened. Since Shea moved back to midfield towards the end of April, Dallas has lost one game. He's an absolute terror on the wings playing in a Cristiano Ronaldo type role where he will cut onto either foot in a flash and do something that is very rare in MLS, beat a defender off the dribble.

It's tough to pinpoint exactly what is responsible for his breakout this year, but as he said after the game on SAtudray, a big part of it is simply confidence. FCD Captain Daniel Hernandez has been quoted saying how impressed he was with Shea's professionalism at just 21 years old. Perhaps the best part for FC Dallas fans, and bad for the rest of the league, is Shea just signed a contract extension through 2015 which should see him remain in MLS for a few more years before being sold on to Europe. 

3) After a month plus of grind them out results and the 4-1 loss to Sporting KC, the Hoops have looked simply dominant in their last two matches, what has caused the change in the last couple of weeks? 

A) I think that loss was more the anomaly more than anything. It was a 100 degree afternoon game in front of about 100 people on the same day that the Mavericks won the NBA Championship. Kansas City is playing very well right now and deserve a lot of credit for that game, but I think Dallas response before and after that game proves that the 4-1 loss was simply a bump in the road.

If you want to see my answers for his questions you can check them out here.

OFF MY SOAPBOX