The Forecast visits with FC Dallas before its game at New England and reveals its Week 6 picks.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – One look at the upcoming schedule and one look down his bench guided FC Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman as he assembled his lineup for Wednesday night's 4-2 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play-in game defeat at D.C. United.
Hyndman entered the match with three priorities: (1) win the game in the competition that bears the name of the former patriarch of FCD's investor/operator group; (2) hand his young players precious minutes in a competitive environment; and (3) field at least three starters at any given time to lend continuity and experience.
In the aftermath of accomplishing the latter two goals in the defeat at RFK Stadium, Hyndman and FC Dallas must now ask several of his regulars to shake off their brief midweek appearances – plus the full 90 submitted by rookie right back Zach Loyd – in order to prepare for a critical stretch of three games in eight days starting with Saturday's match at New England.
FC Dallas will seek its first win of the campaign in Foxborough before it faces a trip to Houston (Wednesday) and another match with D.C. United at Pizza Hut Park (next Saturday). As he attempts to manage his squad to keep his players fresh over the next week, Hyndman said he planned to do what he could to secure all three points against New England.
“The formula for us is pretty simple,” Hyndman said after FC Dallas trained on a Gillette Stadium practice field on Thursday afternoon. “We have a big next  days. We start the month of May with three games [including one midweek game]. We'll go with a rotation to try and get players some rest, but we're focusing on this game with New England as our number one priority. It's an opportunity to get points in MLS, we compete in MLS and we want to get wins.”
Hyndman's goal mirrors the Forecast's objective as it hopes to continue its momentum from the last two matchdays as it confronts a full slate of Saturday games in Week 6.
Last week: 4/7 (57%)
For the season: 14/32 (44%)
New York @ D.C. United – 4:00p.m. (Telefutura) – Goal.com Preview
United enters the match seeking to avoid the worst start in franchise history. A fifth loss to start the campaign would see D.C. reach its nadir, but the positives from a 4-2 win over FC Dallas in a U.S. Open Cup play-in match on Wednesday should boost morale as United tries to avoid making history. The injury list, however, won't help, especially with Danny Allsopp (hamstring) and Julius James (groin) added to the group earlier this week. One bright spot for United on the injury front: Juan Manuel Pena (hamstring) could return to bolster the back line. New York hasn't particularly tested teams defensively this season, but its defensive organization will make life difficult on a United side that lacks ingenuity. Given the way these two teams have performed to date, the visitors may just grind through the game and find a way to pick up all three points in the late stages. It isn't pretty, but it sure would be effective considering New York hasn't picked up a win at RFK Stadium since Oct. 8, 2005.
Prediction: New York win.
FC Dallas @ New England – 7:30p.m. – Goal.com Preview
New England enters this midfield battle without its general for the fifth time in six games after Shalrie Joseph took an indefinite leave of absence on Monday. New England struggles to replicate Joseph's abilities to obtain, possess and distribute in central midfield, so his absence hampers the Revs significantly. The task won't get any easier as FC Dallas will deploy five midfielders – much like Colorado did in its 2-1 win at Gillette Stadium last weekend, except with an additional attacking option centrally – and press forward in search of goals. New England adjusted its midfield approach during the week to bolster its defensive shape, but that probably won't be enough to keep FCD from dictating the flow and the pace of the match in possession. FCD's eagerness to get forward exposes holes for teams to exploit on the counter, so Revolution midfielder Sainey Nyassi will prove vital to his side's chances down the right flank. In a series where the two clubs have shared just one tie in 33 games, this particular matchup – and FCD's strength through the middle – favors the visitors.
Prediction: FC Dallas win.
Chivas USA @ Chicago – 8:30p.m. – Goal.com Preview
Possession will determine how this match unfolds. Both teams want to keep the ball and gradually pick apart the other side, so the key is figuring out which team can assert its will and possess the ball more frequently. Chivas USA's group of four in midfield will have to rise to the occasion to compete with Chicago's five-man alignment unless Martin Vasquez opts to supplement his midfield group. Since the Fire has added an extra body into midfield, opposing teams have struggled to track the runners and mitigate the impact of the supplemental figure in the center of the park. In order to halt the trend, the Red-and-White will have to control Patrick Nyarko down the right side and receive sterling performances from the former Akron partnership of Blair Gavin and Ben Zemanski in central midfield. Even then, Chivas USA might face too tall of a task considering it hasn't scored in its past three trips to Toyota Park in all competitions.
Prediction: Chicago win.
Kansas City @ Houston – 8:30p.m. (Fox Soccer Channel) – Goal.com Preview
Dynamo left winger Brad Davis steps into the spotlight as he adjusts to his new role in central midfield. Davis – the temporary replacement in the center of the park with Geoff Cameron (ruptured PCL in right knee) out for the rest of the season – has played inside before, but he hasn't quite found his rhythm there in his past forays. In order for Davis and the Dynamo to remain effective going forward, they will have to find a way to locate time and space on the ball while working through Kansas City's high pressure. Good wide play from Corey Ashe and Brian Mullan would certainly help in that quest. Houston will need to conjure up an idea or two to break down a Wizards defense possibly bolstered by the return of Jimmy Conrad (left calf strain). Given the circumstances, it's hard to see the Dynamo locating the required final pass in order to snatch all three points.
Toronto FC @ Real Salt Lake – 9:00p.m. – Goal.com Preview
RSL kicks off a three-match homestand in search of an important result. The Claret-and-Cobalt faced a difficult opening stretch and fared reasonably well despite struggling to pick up points. A positive performance, however, won't suffice against a Toronto FC side that has struggled on the road this season (two goals scored, nine goals conceded, zero points collected). RSL should have Robbie Findley (groin) and Javier Morales (groin) available from the start to fuel the attack, though Fabian Espindola (left ankle sprain) picked up a knock in training and may not feature. Sealing the points will require halting Dwayne De Rosario's run of four goals in four matches, but expect RSL to rise to the challenge and start this critical three-game stretch with a victory.
Prediction: Real Salt Lake win.
Colorado @ San Jose – 10:00p.m. – Goal.com Preview
The tight confines of Buck Shaw Stadium and Colorado's crowded midfield alignment could make it difficult for either side to play in this game. The Rapids eschewed their usually conservative road approach last weekend to garner a 2-1 victory at New England, but they should return to a rather more familiar look here. Colorado will need solid games out of fullbacks Danny Earls and Kosuke Kimura to limit the effectiveness of Bobby Convey and Joey Gjertsen and force the San Jose wingers to tuck inside. If Colorado can corral San Jose into the middle of the park and further congest the proceedings, the Rapids will be well on their way to a fourth consecutive draw between the two sides.
Philadelphia @ Los Angeles – 10:30p.m. – Goal.com Preview
Union manager Peter Nowak ordered his troops to run wind sprints in the aftermath of Tuesday's 2-1 U.S. Open Cup play-in game defeat at New York. It seems, at least in Nowak's mind, that the indifferent effort required some form of punishment to ensure an improved performance at the Home Depot Center. The draconian methods must yield dividends because the Union face rather lengthy odds in southern California. Philly can't keep teams off the board and they can't avoid shooting themselves in the foot with silly mistakes. Both of those qualities will prove fatal as the Galaxy should pick up their fifth win of the season with relative ease, particularly with Sebastien Le Toux (left MCL sprain) ruled out for the visitors.
Prediction: Los Angeles win.
Columbus @ Seattle – 10:30p.m. – Goal.com Preview
Crew coach Robert Warzycha carries a host of lineup questions into this visit to Qwest Field. Chief among them: should he risk Guillermo Barros Schelotto on the turf in the Pacific Northwest? The Argentine schemer could sit this one out or play a reduced role even as the Crew attempts to inspire the attack after a lifeless offensive performance in last Saturday's 1-0 home win over Real Salt Lake. In addition to the question marks over Barros Schelotto, the Crew will leave Emmanuel Ekpo (hip flexor), Chad Marshall (hamstring) and Gino Padula (knee) back in central Ohio, according to the Columbus Dispatch. Seattle hasn't broken teams down particularly well at home this season, but Sigi Schmid's side could benefit from the Crew's uncertainty and indifferent form to momentarily erase its own doubts.
Prediction: Seattle win.
Kyle McCarthy writes the Monday MLS Breakdown and frequently writes opinion pieces during the week for Goal.com. He also covers the New England Revolution for the Boston Herald and MLSsoccer.com. Contact him with your questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter by clicking here.
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