Match Preview: United vs FC Dallas

United looks to pick up their first win of 2012 against an explosive FC Dallas side

MLS MATCHDAY 4

D.C. United vs FC Dallas

Friday, March 30 - 7:30 PM ET
TV: NBC Sports Network

When D.C. United welcomes FC Dallas to Washington tonight,both teams will be looking for confidence in the nation’s capital.  Fresh off their first defeat of theseason, an injury-riddled Dallas side is looking to regain the form that sawthem dominate New York to open the MLS campaign.  The visitors will look to accomplish this against the backdropof venerable RFK Stadium, where United hasn’t won since September 24 of a yearago.

“This is our home and we want everybody that comes here tofear this stadium,” said reigning Volkswagen MLS MVP Dwayne De Rosario, who inspiredD.C.’s most recent home victory with a hat trick against RSL late lastseason.  “The fans do a great jobof creating a great environment and we need to do our part as players.”

De Rosario and his teammates took a first step in thejourney towards home redemption with a much-improved performance on the back end oftheir recent west coast road trip. Against a Vancouver side known for its offensive firepower, Ben Olsen’screw turned in a dominant defensive effort.  Now facing a Dallas team equally adept in attack, theBlack-and-Red will need to deliver a similar showing tonight.  

“They are a big, strong, fast, organized team,” said veteranright back Robbie Russell. “They’ve got some good attackers that love counterattacking.  It’s a team we need to pay closeattention to.”

Just which players Dallas employs in a midfield decimated byinjuries and call-ups will play a major role in tonight’s outcome.  Despite playing three Olympicqualifying matches in five days over the past week, there will likely be norest for winger Brek Shea.  Thespeedy youngster is critical to the visitors’ attack and is a key concern forUnited’s defense.

“Obviously he is a big part of their team, he’s a guy who wewill focus on tomorrow,” United’s Stephen King acknowledged Thursday.  “Their entire midfield is verystrong.  They do a good job ofkeeping the ball, especially with three guys in the middle.  We have to win that [matchup].”

Though Shea’s fitness is somewhere on Dallas coach SchellasHyndman’s list of concerns, it will likely be far from the top.  His midfielder playmaker, RicardoVillar, missed practice this week with bruised ribs and may not be completely recoveredby kickoff.  Earlier in the week, the Brazilian vowed to better protect himself in from harsh challenges.  D.C. will likely spare Villar no contact, as United is second in the league in fouls committed.

With Villar limited,more of the FC Dallas attack will go through target forward Blas Perez.  The Panamanian has a goal and a pair ofassists through Dallas’ first three contests.

The match isscheduled for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff at RFK Stadium. Tickets available online or at the stadium

» ANALYSIS: Breaking down FC Dallas

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REFEREE: Hilario Grajeda - MLS Career: 60 games; FC/gm: 24.3; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 12; pens: 9
SAR (bench): Bill Dittmar; JAR (opposite): Matthew Kreitzer; 4th: Andrew Chapin

INJURY REPORT:

  • D.C. UNITED — OUT: DF Ethan White (R knee surgery); MF Kurt Morsink (L foot neurectomy); MF Lance Rozeboom (L ACL tear); QUESTIONABLE: DF Dejan Jakovic (L groin strain)
  • FC DALLAS — OUT: FW Scott Sealy (R knee); MF David Ferreira (R ankle); QUESTIONABLE: MF Fabian Castillo (L knee); MF Ricardo Villar (bruised ribs)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: DC: Andy Najar (Honduras U-23)
SUSPENDED: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD

  • ALL-TIME (38 meetings): United 13 wins (0 shootout), 65 goals … FC Dallas 17 wins (4 shootout), 64 goals … Ties 8
  • AT RFK (17 meetings): United 7 wins (0 shootout), 39 goals … FC Dallas 5 wins (2 shootout), 27 goals … Ties 5
  • LAST YEAR (MLS): 5/7: DC 0, DAL 0 ... 7/16: DAL 0, DC 0
    • This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
    • A year ago, the teams battled through 180 minutes against each other without scoring a goal, playing to 0-0 draws both in Frisco and in Washington, D.C.
    • FC Dallas has come away with points from their last two league visits to RFK Stadium, gaining a 3-1 win in the 2010 meeting in the nation’s capital.
  • Coaches record: Ben Olsen vs. DAL: P3 W0 L1 D2 … Schellas Hyndman vs. DC: P8 W3 L1 D4