At the start of August most folks would have looked at the match between RSL and FC Dallas on Saturday and simply given 3 points to RSL. It would have been easy to do RSL was sitting with 13 wins and 42 points, while FC Dallas was struggling with just 5 wins and 22 points, but now we are past the halfway point of the month and RSL has back to back losses and still 13 wins and 42 points, while FC Dallas now has 7 wins and 29 points after a draw and back to back wins. RSL still sits in second place in the West with a five point edge of the the teams tied for 3rd place, and now it is FC Dallas in sixth place just 8 points out of the final playoff spot.
FC Dallas has scored 5 goals in their last two matches, RSL has just a single goal scored, FCD gave up 2 goals in those matches, while RSL has given up 3. Perhaps the most telling thing is a rested RSL team lost 2-1 at Vancouver on Saturday, while FC Dallas played there on Wednesday night and picked up a 2-0 win. Now the truth has to be told that Vancouver were missing a couple key players due to national team call ups: Russell Teibert (CAN); Etienne Barbara (MLT); Darren Mattocks, Dane Richards (JAM); Carlyle Mitchell and had no Gershon Koffie due to yellow card suspension. Now FC Dallas was missing both Brek Shea and Julian de Guzman, but I thought the impact of missing players was greater on Vancouver.
more thoughts after the jump:
One of the biggest changes in August for Dallas is the return of David Ferreira, who in the last 3 matches has either had an assist or a goal, totaling 3 assists, but his return to the lineup and form is much more than just what he can do on the pitch. There is the reality that he makes other players better, perhaps no better example of that is Fabian Castillo, who in the last 3 matches has 2 goals and 1 assist, his total for the other 16 matches is 1 goal and 2 assists.
So RSL and FC Dallas have played twice already this season so this will be the last regular season meeting between the two sides, in the first match it was a 1-1 draw in Frisco and the second was a 3-2 RSL win at Rio Tinto Stadium. In both matches RSL dominated possession, 60.3% in the first and 55% in the second, RSL held an edge in shots 27 to 23 in the two matches combined and a 13 to 8 edge in shots on goal. Dallas has only had an edge in possession in one of their last 3 matches and they didn't have a shot advantage in any of them either, what that means is that FC Dallas is taking advantage of their opportunities and forcing opponents to pay for mistakes.
How will the international friendlies impact the two sides, well RSL had Kyle Beckerman, Will Johnson and Alvaro Saborio all go 90 minutes in their matches, while FC Dallas will deal with Julian de Guzman having played 90 minutes, and the 12 minutes that Brek Shea played for the US. With the USMNT players having played in Mexico and Alvaro Saborio having played in Costa Rica, I expect that the RSL players may be rested on Saturday as the team has an absolute must win CCL match on Tuesday, with the exception of Nick Rimando who was in the 18 but didn't see action for the USMNT.
One thing is clear the two teams are coming in on very different streaks, so despite what the standings might say this is going to be a tough match and one that is going to tell us a lot about both teams.
So how do you think things will go down on Saturday?
OFF MY SOAPBOX