With the LA Galaxy about to take on FC Dallas, I asked three questions of Big D Soccer's Brian Wacholz. We talked about Dallas' recent form, which team Dallas would rather face in the playoffs, and whether Dallas could have used Sacha Kljestan. My answers to his questions will be posted later today.
1. The word out of Dallas camp is "LA is hot but so are we". Which version of Dallas should we expect to see in LA: the one which won four straight in August or the one which has lost two of their last three?
I believe you will see the winning version of FCD. Blas Perez is back from international duty, and Oscar Pareja was quick to adjust after his experiment failed against RSL at home. Vancouver is an easy team to beat up on, but that little win gives this team a little bit of a boost. However, do I think it is enough? This year? Maybe not. FC Dallas is 20-30-11 all time against the Galaxy, and 75% of those wins came to FCD at home. Dallas struggles in Carson, and this year is no exception with LA going on an absolute rampage during Donovan's final season. I'll be happy with a draw against LA on the road, I won't cry over a loss, and I may order a couple extra rounds if I see a Dallas win.
2. If Dallas ends up playing the winner of the Western Conference, who do you think they match up against better: Seattle or LA?
Dallas didn't beat either team so far this year, losing twice to Seattle and once to LA. I'm glad that FC Dallas has kept it close losing all three of those by only 1 goal each time, no shutouts, so I have hope that the hoops can manage an upset. Both teams are dangerous and motivated. Seattle is statistically favored to win the SS which means they'll be gunning for the league's first treble during the playoffs. The Galaxy is equally motivated to send Donovan into retirement as a Champion and boost the trophy cabinet to surpass DC's early success. Tactically, FCD stands better against Seattle. LA has the edge with veteran leadership; the Southern Californians have been to the Final too many times before. Additionally, I think that Arena can still whip Sigi head to head. Honestly though, it may all come down to health. The competition is so close that the wrong injury to the right player could be the tiny dip at just the most unfortunate time.
3. Both LA and Dallas appeared to be in on Sacha Kljestan, with the length of the contract the issue. Would you have liked Kljestan in Dallas on a six month deal?
The first thing that comes to mind is Julian de Guzman. He showed that a short term contract can work and benefit both the player and the team. His performance with FC Dallas for part of the 2012 season gave supporters a couple of bright memories in an otherwise painful year. Someone like Sacha who is familiar with MLS could be a benefit, but no, I don't think FC Dallas needed him this year. On paper, Sacha could have filled in for Mauro Diaz while finishing his rehab from injury. That would have prevented the need to switch to a 442, however, which drove FC Dallas to an almost flawless August. If you had asked me back during the summer, I might have answered differently, but looking back now, I am happy that those minutes went to the homegrown players and rookies. Those young players coming up will drive FCD's future success further than any 6 month contract could.