FC Dallas need to overcome injuries
After a midweek clash with Western Conference rival Colorado Rapids, it's back on the road for FC Dallas. The Hoops showed resilience as they came from a 1-0 deficit in the first half to dominate the second half and pump in two goals to move past the idle Los Angeles Galaxy into first place in the Western Conference.
But the 2-0 win had serious consequences as two more players were injured in the victory -- U.S. international forward Eddie Johnson, who faces a fitness test to see if he can play on Sunday against Chivas USA, and midfielder Carey Talley, out three to five weeks with a rib injury suffered early against Colorado.
"Yes, another couple of blows -- we will see where Eddie is in the morning (Saturday) and make a decision then and obviously Carey is out three to five weeks," said FCD coach Colin Clarke.
Clarke turned a few heads by replacing the injured Talley with rookie Aaron Pitchkolan. It was his first MLS appearance since leaving University of West Virginia where he played as a defender and midfielder, getting the nod as he entered the pitch nine minutes into the game.
"This will give our young kids a chance to step up and prove that they are good enough to play at this level -- some of them are going to get an opportunity over the course of the next few games," said Clarke.
The savvy Columbian Oscar Pareja will look to start at midfield but Ramon Nuñez has stepped up his game after recently returning from training with the Honduras under-20 national team.
"I will get my chance here and at the youth championships," said Nuñez. "Playing with Honduras has given me confidence."
Both guys are battling for the vacant slot left by the FCD midfielder Richard Mulrooney who is out for the season after tearing the MCL in his right knee.
"He [Ramon] had a great assist on the first goal [against Colorado Rapids] and obviously changed the course of the game for us, he came in and had a good spell -- he played well," said coach Clarke. "He came off the bench in Colorado early on in the year he did well and he is looking particularly sharp in training so we will make a decision on him as well tomorrow."
It will be another road test for FC Dallas, as their one victory on their travels came against Chivas USA on April 23. But they've lost just once on the road, also coming away with three draws.
"We're not too bad, we've played five on the road and we've only been beaten once, it's not a bad record," said Clarke. "We've blown a few of those as well. We're a good team that is capable of winning on the road and we have proven that already."
While Chivas USA are in last place in the Western Conference with just one win thus far, they are still just one win away getting back into the top four and FC Dallas know they face a difficult prospect to repeat their earlier win.
"A team [Chivas USA] that has obviously struggled a little bit at the early part of the year but their a dangerous team to play against they've got nothing to lose, I am sure they will come out with all guns blazing and try and get a result," said the FC Dallas boss.
Added O'Brien: "Chivas are playing pretty well at the moment. They are starting to move the ball around well and they play well. With all of our injuries, that will be quite a good test for us."
Ron Goode is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.