Know Your Enemy: FC Dallas

Who: FC Dallas
Overall Record: 3-1-1
Road Record: 1-0-1
Recent Form: Wins over COL+RSL, Loss to CLB

Style of Play
Energetic. FC Dallas has started five homegrown players multiple times, and two thirds of their midfield triangle against Real Salt Lake last weekend was under 20.

Dallas likes to run out a 4-2-3-1 so Carlos Gruezo can lock up the center and provide freedom for Edwin Cerrillo and Paxton Pomykal. Both fullbacks are allowed to push high, with Gruezo and Cerrillo covering. The veteran experience at center back means Dallas can push people wide and doesn’t expose the center too often, but those center backs can be exploited if pulled into space alone.

With lots of energy in Pomykal and Cerrillo and the speed of wingers Pablo Aranguiz and Michael Barrios, Dallas looks to create a tornado of movement around striker Jesus Ferreira. Another young gun, Ferreira has kept his spot over vet signing Zdenek Ondrasek and has a knack for finding space in the box. He’ll be a tough cover for Auston Trusty and Jack Elliott.

Key Players
Pomykal - The 19-year old is Dallas’ version of Brenden Aaronson (though FCD fans would say Aaronson is Philly’s Pomykal since their guy has been on the fringes for a while before earning a starting spot this season).
Gruezo - He has grown into a leadership role in the Dallas midfield. Trading Victor Ulloa to Cincy in the offseason was all about the growth Gruezo has shown over his FCD career.
Matt Hedges/Reto Ziegler - Unlike the rest of their squad, this duo is not young or quick, but man… they get the job done. In five games, Dallas has given up multiple goals only once: Last weekend when they were cruising over RSL.

Notable Changes
New head coach - Oscar Pareja moved on to LigaMX and academy director Luchi Gonzalez took over the first team. So far, he has put a lot of trust in kids he knows and it has paid off.

Ondrasek - The Czech striker was presumed to be a shoe-in starter when he arrived but right now he’s fighting for minutes. Plenty of quality here, though.

Similarities
Youth-focus - Dallas is playing its kids and the Union are doing the same. This match will likely be decided by whether Philly gets that special something from their experienced vets like Ale Bedoya, Marco Fabián, and Fafa Picault.

Union win if…
Picault keeps playing at the same level - Although Fafa hasn’t scored this season, he has been a workhorse up front and timely pressing by Gyasi Zardes was key in Columbus Crew’s win over Dallas.

Philly welcomes FC Dallas to Talen Energy Stadium on April 6 at 7:30 p.m. ET.

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