FC Dallas are looking to kill two streaks with one big win Wednesday evening when they take on Chivas USA at the StubHub Center (10:30 pm ET, MLS Live).
The club is currently in the midst of an 11-game winless run that has sunk them back into the pack in the Western Conference, but almost more inexplicably, they haven’t beaten Chivas USA in more than two years.
Since Dallas’ last victory over the Rojiblancos on July 31, 2011, every other Western Conference team has posted at least one victory over Chivas. The clubs have drawn four of their past five meetings and the Goats handled FCD in March, overcoming an early one-goal deficit to post a 3-1 win.
FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman believes he has pinpointed a rather counter-intuitive reason for his squad’s difficulties earning full points against the regularly bottom-of-the-table team.
“When we have the ball against Chivas, we are probably the most vulnerable,” Hyndman told MLSsoccer.com by phone from Los Angeles on Tuesday afternoon. “It shouldn’t be like that. The reason we are most vulnerable [then] is that when we lose the ball, they put five people into the attack and they are sprinting like crazy.
“When we have the ball, we are opening up space for each other. When we lose it, we’ve created so much space, it’s hard for us to get back and defend on the correct angles and at the right distance.”
Hyndman said he planned to stress this point in team’s final meetings prior to the match and that they have done extensive video work the last two days reviewing Chivas USA’s counterattack patterns.
One thing they’ve determined is that when full backs Kellyn Acosta or Michel are in possession on either wing, the other outside back and the holding midfielder (likely Erick) will have specific responsibilities for maintaining Dallas’ shape in the event of a turnover.
“What our two center backs have to do is shift over a little bit and the left fullback has to shift into the middle. This way you’ve got three people together,” Hyndman said. “Then, if they break through, they are going to run right past one of us and we’ve got to match up with them. Then our holding midfielder has got to make sure he’s in a position to deal with any players that are running through.
With only 10 games left in the regular season, Dallas need to start accumulating points again soon if they are going to move back into one of the Western Conference’s five playoff slots. Hyndman said this matchup against Chivas USA is very important for his club.
“We don’t need to panic right now, but we have to have some urgency,” he said. “The only thing we can do is control our own destiny.”