Dallas: After several close contests in which FC Dallas outplayed their opponents but could not get a win, the Hoops finally broke through with a triumph over rival Houston Dynamo Wednesday night. It was FCD’s first win of the year, and first-ever win in Houston.
Brek Shea continued his fine run of form, imposing his will on defenders and creating chances where none seemed to exist. With his team down a man, Shea headed a Dax McCarty free kick to Ugo Ihemelu, who put away the eventual game-winner.
D.C.: Well, United finally picked up a win, and it was in large part due to the partnership of Adam Cristman and Danny Allsopp up top. After effectively playing the role of the target man against New York, Cristman continued to excel for United playing that role against Kansas City. The difference between the loss to New York and the win against Kansas City was Allsopp. Finally fit, the big Australian striker showed that he could fit into this United team. His first goal against KC was somewhat fortuitous, as it took a helpful deflection off a defender. But his second finish showed off his talents as a striker. And the best friend of a striker is his confidence, something Allsopp will have bags of now that he has broken his scoring duck in MLS.
Dallas: Goalkeeper Dario Sala has had a rough start to the season, with a 1.5 goals against average and a save percentage of 0.625. His gaffe against New England—allowing the ball to be stolen from him while he was playing it on the touch line—led to a goal that cost his team a win. He was benched for the Houston game in favor of Kevin Hartman.D.C.: The backline. They couldn't manage to keep a clean sheet, as Kei Kamara scored late on in the match on Wednesday night. And too often during the game against the Wizards, the back line was exposed by various attacking moves. Should United plan on winning a couple more games this season, the backline is going to need to find a chemistry that it clearly lacks at the moment. But with several key defenders still out with injuries, United's makeshift back line will have to find that chemistry sooner or later -- otherwise, it's back to their losing ways.
Dallas: Much will depend on whether Jeff Cunningham is available to play. He sat out against Dynamo with a sore knee he picked up in practice. If Cunningham plays, head coach Schellas Hyndman will likely return to deploying him as the lone striker. If Cunningham sits, the coach will use the makeshift 4-4-2 he deployed against Houston.
D.C.:The game against Kansas City wasn't perfect, but United almost played the game as if they were the home team. And you know what? It actually worked. It wasn't pretty, but United effectively utilized the long ball in creating chances. The first goal was a direct result of a long ball that was played up from the back line. That should be United's goal against Dallas as well. As far as personnel go, why not stick with the same 11 that won the game against the Wizards? Again, it wasn't pretty, but it got the job done. So why change it now?
Dallas: FCD may be last in the Western Conference and winless until last night, but they haven’t been a truly bad team all year. Their goal differential of 0 shows they’ve been more mediocre and unlucky than downright awful (like, say, D.C. United). If the Houston win boosts their confidence—and if Hartman nails down the keeper position—Dallas could be poised for a breakout
D.C.: With Bill Hamid in goal, United actually won a game. The change in goal might have just been big key in United's success on Wednesday night. The question that remains is if Onalfo will entrust the 19 year old Hamid on the road or not. But despite the fact that they conceded a late goal against Kansas City, the change in goal just might be the motivation that D.C. needed to turn their season around. Onalfo would do well to start Hamid again.
Dallas: FC Dallas 3-1 D.C. United. On Saturday night, the dam will finally burst for the Hoops. They’ve gotten their initial win, taken the El Capitan Texas state title from their hated rivals, and are set to host a bad team at home. If FCD get the added bonus of Cunningham getting in the game and finding his form, it could be a long night for the visitors.
D.C.: D.C. looked decent in their win over Kansas City, but there were still a couple of glaring problems within the team. On the road, a similar result will be difficult to come by, but United will be able to manage a 1-1 draw.
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