Eh, one more BENITEZ FACE for the road.
It's that time again, I had an exchange with Daniel from our great Dallas blog Big D Soccer to find out some facts about our next competition. His answers to my questions about the Hoops are below.
Of course, you should also check out Big D Soccer to see my answers to his questions about our Rapids.
BdS: He looked rusty and at about 75%...but then David Ferreira at 75% is better than most at 100%. He created 5 key passes in the game as defined by the OPTA stats which was as many as any FCD player has had in a game this season...not bad for your first game in 15 months...and he seems to get better every day. The biggest issue with Ferreira is that he's not 90 minutes fit yet and in the altitude of Colorado those fitness issues could be compounded.
Make no mistake though, FC Dallas is a completely different team with him on the pitch and he is steadily improving every game. If Dallas could just find a way to string together a few wins here in July, you could see them get back into the playoff race right as David is getting healthy.
BW: Both the offense and defense for FC Dallas has been a bit lackluster so far, are injuries holding the team back all around or are there just some specific holes that the team needs to fill?
BdS: Yeah, injuries have been killing Dallas. Things have improved a little bit recently, but as of a month or so ago Dallas was missing both starting center backs(Ugo/George John), starting left mid(Brek Shea), starting AND backup attacking midfielder(Ferreira/Villar) and starting forward (Blas Perez).
The issue now is some of these players have returned but they're still playing at probably 75-80% as they work back to full fitness and while you'd rather have them out there than not, it's tough. The biggest problem right now is the absence of Blas Perez as he's the big #9 forward that everything runs through. Without him on the pitch, Dallas kind of looks lost in the attack at forward.
BW: Going into the second half of a thus far disappointing season, what expectations do Dallas fans have for where the team could finish?
BdS: Right now, I think Dallas fans just want to see their team play good football and win a single game. FCD hasn't won in 13 games, tied for the fourth longest streak in MLS history, and it's really just getting to be a burden on the squad. I don't think anyone is really thinking playoffs are realistic anymore, but if Perez returns and Ferreira gets back to full fitness within a month or so and the team starts playing really well, then I think most fans can at least sleep well through the off-season knowing that it was just a voodoo bad season of injuries and 2013 will be better.
Projected Lineup: Hartman - Loyd - Pertuz - Hedges - Benitez - Hernandez - Jacobson - Castillo - Jackson - Ferreira - Shea
Thanks again to Daniel, make sure to check out Big D Soccer for the opposing side of things before today's match!