Struggling FC Dallas will travel to Minnesota to take on the Loons this weekend.

Let’s look at why this game might be a turning point, either positive or negative, for the 2024 season.

The Team is (Mostly) Healthy

This isn’t really something completely new; FC Dallas has been pretty much at full health, besides long-term injuries, for a few weeks now, but, for basically the first time all season, Nico Estevez should have his full roster, minus Paxton Pomykal, Geovane Jesus and Alan Velasco (and international call ups Carl Sainte and Nolan Norris) available for selection. To this point in the season, Dallas has dealt with a variety of injuries to key players, with the likes of Jesus Ferreira, Asier Illarramendi, Marco Farfan, Sebastian Lletget, and Paul Arriola all missing a good deal of time at various points, so far in the season.

But, for now, that excuse is gone. Estevez has basically his entire roster at his disposal. If Dallas is going to start turning the season around and if injuries were really the primary cause of Dallas’ poor start to the season, this is the time when that should become apparent, and results should start improving. Minnesota away is a big test, but if Dallas wants to push back into playoff contention, results have to start coming sooner rather than later.

June is TOUGH

Dallas started June off by playing LAFC in LA, and they really don’t have a lot at any point during the month. Following this weekend’s match with Minnesota, Dallas plays St Louis at home on June 15th, hosts Minnesota to complete that season series midweek on June 19th, then travels to dreaded Seattle on the 22nd before coming back home to host FC Cincinnati on June 29th. Despite the even split of home and away games in June, that is a pretty brutal stretch of games for a team that desperately needs points to make a push toward the playoff spots.

By season’s end, we’ll be able to look back at June to see where the season ended up.

If what many expect ends up happening, Dallas will struggle to pick up many points at all in June and will be cut further and further adrift of the playoff spots, but if they are able to pick up results and build momentum, June will potentially be looked at as the crucial point in the season where the Burn were able to get healthy and turn their fortunes around.

Minnesota United is Decimated

And it starts from here with a trip to Allianz Arena to meet the Loons. Minnesota United has a whopping NINE international call-ups, most of whom are regular starters or contributors to the 3rd best team in the Western Conference. They’ll be without Finnish veterans Teemu Pukki and Robin Lod, Canadian starting keeper Dayne St Clair and his compatriot: breakout forward Tani Oluwaseyu, Honduran midfielders Kervin Arriaga and Joseph Rosales, Panamanian midfielder Carlos Harvey, Costa Rican midfielder Alejandro Bran and Puerto Rican defender Zarek Valentin. They also will be without defender Mickey Tapias, who is getting his green card, and fullback DJ Taylor, who picked up an injury in their last game against Sporting KC.

Frankly, with this sort of situation, this becomes a game that Dallas at least has to get a draw in and really should be winning. Minnesota will still retain some quality; standout veteran defender Michael Boxall, former USMNT midfielder Wil Trapp, and forwards Jeong Sang-bin and Bongi Hlongwane will all still feature for the Loons. But Minnesota will be forced to cobble together a makeshift lineup that won’t be used to playing together as a unit. Despite the vast difference in points and in the standings, Dallas really should be looking at this game as a must-win, considering the situation. Picking up their first away win ahead of back-to-back home games would be a massive boost for the Burn and may even be necessary to keep Nico Estevez in his position as head coach.

What is your prediction for this weekend’s matchup with Minnesota United? 

PHOTO: Minnesota United FC

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