Following a disappointing mid-week loss to Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the LA Galaxy, FC Dallas enter a weekend matchup in Montreal that manager Luchi Gonzalez has called a “must-win” game.
Date: Saturday, August 17th
Time: 6:30 PM CST
Location: Stade Saputo, Montreal, Quebec
How to Watch: FCDallas.com/live, TXA21 (tape delay – 10PM CST), ESPN+ (outside of DFW only)
This will be the only regular-season contest between Dallas and Montreal in 2019. Dallas currently sits in 8th place in the Western Conference with 36 points in 26 games. Montreal currently occupies the 7th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 33 points from 26 games, edging out Orlando City and Canadian rivals Toronto FC via the number of wins tiebreaker. This is a massive game for both teams, a loss for Dallas could see Los Toros start to lose touch with the rest of the playoff contenders in the Western Conference while a loss for Montreal could see them fall all the way to 9th in the east.
Both teams are coming off of Wednesday night away games with Dallas making a cross-continental trip from Los Angeles and Montreal having defeated Canadian Premier League side Cavalry FC to reach the finals of the Canadian Championship.
Dallas will need some rotation playing their 3rd game in 7 days. Santiago Mosquera is out with a lower body strain, giving Edwin Gyasi his second start since joining in the summer transfer window. Dom Badji played a full 90 minutes after playing a big chunk of minutes against Minnesota. This gives Zdenek Ondrasek only his second start of the season. Paxton Pomykal had an uncharacteristically poor game, he makes way for Brandon Servania, allowing Luchi Gonzalez to use Pomykal as a spark off the bench. Reto Ziegler is the oldest player on the team, he gets a rest and makes way for Bressan at center back.
Montreal is tough to predict. They have alternated recently between a 4-4-2 with Piatti up top and a 4-1-4-1. Bojan has recently started to get integrated with his new team, and with the Impact heavily advertising his home debut he gets his full debut here in a crucial game for Montreal. With former Arsenal right-back Bacary Sagna and recently acquired left-back Jorge Corrales having played mid-week, Daniel Lovitz and Zachary Brault-Guillard replace them at the full-back positions. Ignacio Piatti is listed as out, so Lappalainen retains his left-wing spot. Additionally, though he is not listed on the official injury list, defensive midfielder Samuel Piette is also reportedly out for the next 3 games. Ken Krolicki takes his position in midfield.
Keys to the Match
The idea that FC Dallas needs to be better about finishing chances is something that goes back multiple seasons and is absolutely nothing new to even the most casual of FC Dallas fans. After a flurry of goals against Minnesota United, Dallas again struggled to finish their chances against the Galaxy on Wednesday night, with the team now being held scoreless in 3 out of their last 4 games. Chances will certainly be there to be finished, only FC Cincinnati and Colorado have conceded more goals than Montreal to this point in the season, but the Dallas attack will need to be clinical and take the chances when they come, something that they’ve repeatedly failed to do over the course of the season.
Dealing with Montreal’s attack
The Impact haven’t been prolific scorers in the league to this point in the season, but they have an array of dangerous forwards and wingers that the Dallas defense will need to deal with. Thankfully for Dallas, Ignacio Piatti is listed as out with an adductor injury but Oriji Okwonkwo, Lassi Lappalainen, Saphir Taider, former FC Dallas striker Maxi Urruti and former Barcelona starlet Bojan Krkic make up a scary group that is especially dangerous on the counter-attack. Montreal is not typically concerned with dominating possession, so Dallas will need to be prepared to handle Montreal’s counter and avoid getting caught out by the likes of Taider and Urruti.
Squad Players Must Step Up
Throughout the course of the season, Dallas has rarely had to make significant changes to the lineup due to rotation needs. Typically if Dallas has had to rely on squad players, it has been one or two at a time or in a game against a lower league opponent. That will almost certainly change against Montreal with Dallas playing their 3rd game in 7 days and making a cross-continental trip to arrive in Montreal. Dallas played an identical lineup in the games against Minnesota and the Galaxy so the rotation will be needed to keep the team fresh and energized. Dallas will need their depth options to step up, play well and make a difference in a crucial match.
How are you feeling about the match against Montreal? Will FCD be able to come back from Canada with the 3 points? Who do you think gets the start in this crucial late-season match-up? Sound off in the comments below!
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