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Game 22 – Crew @ FC Dallas Pregame

August 30, 2008

Given that these teams played two weeks ago, this game seems very familiar. I actually expect the Dallas game plan to be similar to the one in Columbus. The Crew have to guard against looking ahead to next week’s matchup against New England as they face a tough team at home this week. Dallas is coming off a tie at Kansas City and is looking to jump back into the playoff chase.

Crew on Offense: The offense has been a well oiled machine over the last 135 minutes. With Rogers back, Evans and Gaven stepping up, and Schelotto taking his game to a new level, the offense has scored 5 goals the past game and a half. The Dallas defense will be a little better than Salt Lake’s, but there are goal scoring opportunities coming out of the midfield. Rogers, Gaven, and Evans have the ability to pour forward to add scoring punch. Schelotto seems to be making all the right moves to get everyone involved and his set pieces have been very effective lately. The offense has the ability score and I expect them to get at least a goal tonight. My concern is with the defense.

Crew on Defense: Jeff Cunningham was dangerous in the last game. Danny O’Rourke was chasing the fleet footed striker all over the field. O’Rourke is now out with yellow card suspension. Andy Iro will be tasked with containing Cunningham. This is my concern. Iro is slower than O’Rourke so I really wonder what Cunningham is going to be able to do against a slower defender. Kenny Cooper will also be out to prove he should have been called up to the U.S. National Team, so both of our central defenders will have their hands full. The Dallas threat does not end at the forward line. Padula and Hejduk need to provide team defense. I think the other key (besides Iro) is Evans and Carroll in midfield. Dallas ran past the Crew in the first half two weeks ago. The midfield could not slow down the attacks. Once Carroll and Evans were able to slow down Dallas, the game changed.

Final Thoughts: This will be a tough game for the Crew. It is hot in Dallas and the team will need to guard against wilting. Dallas will probably press from the opening minute. The Crew need to absorb that pressure and launch their own attacks. I see the Crew getting at least a point, but possibly more. The team is on a hot streak and has been bolstered with the return of Padula and the addition of Noonan.

Crew 2- Dallas 2

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