Carl's Keys to the Game vs. FC Dallas

The legend talks about rising to the occasion

Carl's Keys to the Game vs. FC Dallas

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USA Today Sports Images

Spectacular Erick Torres bicycle kick puts WFC in a hole early

Rise to the occasion

To say this is a big game would be a big understatement.

Both teams are sitting just outside the playoff picture with 37 points apiece. They each only have eight matches remaining. After Saturday’s contest, Dallas has two tough road games and this is our first of three straight matches away from home.

Both teams will be very anxious to get off to a fast start and not have to chase the game. We already know the ‘Caps have conceded goals in the first five minutes in each of their previous two outings, and we just can’t afford for that to happen again.

It’s going to be hot and humid in Texas and if we surrender an early goal then the conditions are going to feel that much worse. On the other hand, if we start the match well and maybe get an early goal, then it will have the reverse effect.

At this point in the season, we just need to get points on the board – it doesn’t matter how we do it. But starting the game on the front foot will make the job a lot easier.  

Ferreira scores a late game-winner against Chivas USA

David Ferreira

FC Dallas will be without leading scorer Blas Perez, who is away on international duty, and forward Kenny Cooper, who is suspended. This means they will be leaning heavily on David Ferreira to be their attacking threat.

Ferreira likes to play in the number 10 role right behind the striker, where he can pick the ball up in between the opposition defence and midfield and then use his creativity to carve out chances for his teammates. It’s something he has done well this season, leading the team with eight assists. There’s no doubt Dallas will be looking to him to work his magic in what could be a very tight game.

The responsibility will often fall on our defensive midfielder to pick him up when he drops deep, or to try and cut off his supply. Communication will also play a big part in nullifying the Colombian, as our defenders and midfielders need to let each other know when he drifts into their area.

It’s going to take more than one ‘Caps player to stop Ferreira, but if we can make sure he’s not the one who beats us it could result in some much-needed points on the road.

'Caps earn a scrappy road point last month in Portland

Battle ready

In reality, being on the road might help this team right now.

At home, sometimes there’s a need to entertain. We can go into Dallas with only one goal in mind: to win any way we can.

A game like this can really bring a team together, as you are away from home with no distractions in front of a hostile crowd. Even though Dallas are at home, there is pressure on both teams to get a result, but if we can frustrate the home team and get the fans riled up that would greatly help our cause.

Starting this three-game road trip with a positive result is a must and it doesn’t matter how we get it. We need to be ready to battle and scrap for every ball, make the game ugly and capitalize on any chances that come our way. The longer this game goes in that manner, the better it is for us.

We need to make this a battle to get at least a point or even three.