CCL Preview: FC Dallas look to stay perfect vs. Tauro FC
FRISCO, Texas — While they may be struggling in league play with just one win in their last five games, FC Dallas – in their first CONCACAF Champions League tournament – are tearing through international competition.
FCD currently sit atop Group C of the CCL standings with the maximum six points through two games – both wins which came on the road – and have yet to concede a goal in both the qualifying stage and group stage.
With Tauro FC of Panama coming to Pizza Hut Park on Wednesday night (8 pm ET, FOX Soccer), head coach Schellas Hyndman sees it as another opportunity to stamp their dominance over the group and inch closer his points total target and the elimination rounds.
“Our objective is to get three points in our first home game,” stated Hyndman after Tuesday’s run-through training session on the stadium field at Pizza Hut Park. “If we can come away with three points, that would give us nine, and that would be a great situation because I think it’s going to take 10-12 points to get through to the next phase.”
In addition to their home field advantage, FC Dallas will benefit with the return to normalcy in their backline as they seek to extend their shutout streak of 360 minutes in CCL play.
Zach Loyd, George John, Ugo Ihemelu and Jair Benítez will all play together for the first time since August 13 and face a tough side that Hyndman & Co. have scouted thoroughly in their video sessions.
“We looked at the video of them,” said Hyndman. “They’re very athletic, they’re very strong, physical, quick, they have good individual talent, good technique, they play the flank very well, they combine on the flank.
“They’re coming in here as a team with one point, but I think they’re a team that could very well have four points right now.”
While the team is set defensively and well aware of their Panamanian opponent, the FC Dallas offensive engine has stalled of late.
Aside from the Rio Grande Plate, FCD have been shut out in each of their last two matches and failed to capitalize on any of their scoring opportunities.
Injuries to Fabián Castillo (hip), Marvin Chávez (ankle), and a recent groin injury to Brek Shea suffered during his various club and country travels will keep the trio from competing on Wednesday night. Therefore, the midfield unit of Andrew Jacobson, Daniel Cruz, Daniel Hernandez and wingers Jeremy Hall and Ricardo Villar will have to create more opportunities with Jackson as the lone striker.
Hyndman and the veteran Villar spoke after training on Tuesday about the player’s lack of goal scoring in the No. 10 spot. And while he will most likely sit on the left side against Tauro, Villar knows he has to help catapult the offense against the athletic Panamanian side.
“Whenever the team doesn’t create goals it needs to come from somewhere,” Villar said. “So [I’ll] try to create more opportunities for myself and take some shots outside. Goals are like waves, when it comes it comes, and so I’m hoping to get that going soon.”
Robert Casner covers FC Dallas for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached on Twitter: @robertmcasner