By: Rees Linn
Yesterday, FC Dallas landed in Toronto to begin preparations for Sunday’s 2010 MLS Cup Final. The team seems to be soaring after their 3-0 throttling of LA last week en route to earning their first ever Western conference crown, and today the team also learned of the official announcement that David Ferreira was named the 2010 MLS MVP.
It’s a team that seems to have won over nearly every skeptic, and in reality, there is little reason for anything other than optimism going into this weekend’s final. The team has already dispatched both of the 2009 MLS Cup finalists from this year’s playoffs. They were able to take care of Salt Lake, who many had penciled in as this year’s favorites, and they completely dismantled the star-studded LA Galaxy.
Despite having a good feeling about Dallas’s chances of winning their first MLS championship on Sunday, I have several concerns about this particular matchup.
First, Dallas is playing Colorado, and the history between these two clubs is not a pretty one from Dallas’s perspective. Most recently, Colorado has booted Dallas from the 2005 and 2006 MLS Cup playoff race, and has historically been the biggest thorn in the Texas club’s side. To top it off, Colorado will start two players, Anthony Wallace and Drew Moor, who were on Dallas’s roster as recently as last season. Considering the history between the sides, this could be a fairly physical encounter which probably doesn’t benefit a Dallas team that looks to be the more skilled side.[picappgallerysingle id=”10217412″]
Secondly, Colorado’s Conor Casey might be the best target player in the league. I’m still pretty confident that the Dallas pairing of George John and Ugo Ihemelu at center back will be able to handle Colorado’s big bald striekr as well as the Omar Cummings, but Casey’s ability to play with is back towards goal will allow Colorado to do what most teams can’t against Dallas: bypass the midfield pressure of Daniel Hernandez.
The solution: Hernandez should try to play a deeper role, right in front of the backline, to limit time and space for Casey when he receives the ball. It will be interesting to see whether Larentowicz and Mastroeni can create enough in the middle for Colorado to pull Hernandez further up the park and away from Casey – a task that will be difficult considering that someone has to stay home to watch David Ferriera.
If Colorado is allowed play more directly into Casey, then things could open on the counter. Casey’s physicality also creates the opportunity to play early crosses from the often overlapping Kimura and Wallace.
Other than those things, the danger for Dallas is minimal, and as long as Dallas is able to continue to get the ball into David Ferreira’s feet, and the Dallas wingers are able to push forward, then Dallas should be bringing home the largest piece of silverware the club has ever earned.