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FC Dallas welcomes Zlatan, slumping Galaxy to Toyota Stadium

Aug 23, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; FC Dallas midfielder Kellyn Acosta (23) in action during the game against the Houston Dynamo at Toyota Stadium. The match ends in a 3-3 draw. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

After drawing Los Angeles FC 1-1 last weekend, FC Dallas will take on the other L.A. team, the LA Galaxy, Saturday at Toyota Stadium.

Dallas is coming home after a two-game road trip and is eyeing a win over the out-of-form Galaxy, who have dropped three straight matches and four of their last five.

Zlatan Ibrahimović is making his first trip to Frisco, Texas, and fans are coming out in numbers. Dallas opened the new seating underneath the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame and are expecting a very big crowd. Toyota Stadium previously was capped at a capacity of 16,500, down from its original capacity of 20,500, due to the construction of the Hall of Fame.

This match marks the second consecutive week Dallas prepares for a “party” atmosphere, with last week’s game against LAFC in front of a raucous crowd at the expansion side’s new Banc of California stadium.

“We have responsibilities preparing for the game,” FCD coach Oscar Pareja said.  “We need to be focusing on what we need to do and our team. There is a lot of things that distract us, or try to distract us, and I need to keep the players I coach focused on what they need to do Saturday and prepare the game.”

The last two road results for Dallas have been difficult. The team was overrun against NYCFC in a 3-1 defeat and fought hard for a point at LAFC. But the Huntsmen are undefeated at home with a 2-0-3 record.

“Obviously we have to be mindful of Zlatan, but it’s not the Zlatan show, you know,” Dallas midfielder Kellyn Acosta said. “We’re playing at home, we’ve had a tough couple of results in the last couple of weeks. We’ve played against two very good teams, and now we need to get back on track and come home and get three points. Obviously, [Zlatan] is a world-class player, but he’s going to come here and we’re going to do everything we can to stop him and take our game to him.”

For Acosta, last week’s game marked his first appearance of the season, coming on for 30 minutes. He had 12 passes, completing eight of them, and is hoping to provide a linking element Dallas has been trying to fill since his hernia surgery during the preseason.

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“I was excited, relieved. It’s been a long time coming, being on the sidelines, just watching, waiting,” Acosta said. “[I] put on a lot of effort to get to that point, so I’m happy. It was a tough game, LA[FC] is a good team and it was our first matchup we played against them. I was just excited to be back out there, get some touches, get back into game mode and hopefully keep building from that and see how it goes.”

Acosta’s addition to the midfield rotation intensifies a competition that has been going on all season. Jacori Hayes forced his way into the starting lineup, but after a tough game in New York, Carlos Gruezo was inserted back into the starting XI. Victor Ulloa has been solid week in and week out. Each spot is up for grabs, with backups capable of pouncing on opportunities when someone has an off game.

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“I think [the competition] is good,” Pareja said.  “I think Jacori has been playing well and has been doing a great job. This year, he is providing us a very serious possibility [to start] all the time, buys time to recover Kellyn and create that environment of competition with Victor and Carlos. Brandon Servania is having a tremendous couple of days. It’s great and we have a couple of players from the academy coming on loan, so in that position we feel good. It gives us a good pool of possibilities and buys time to rotate them or to see if maybe we can change plans and things like that.”

Match Information

When: May 12, 2:30 PM CST

Where: Toyota Stadium (Frisco, Texas)

Broadcast: Univision; Radio- FCDallas.com/Radio (English), 1270AM (Spanish)

Stream: Twitter

Some Trends: The Galaxy have allowed late, game-winning goals in their last two matches against New York Red Bulls (Kaku, 84′) and the Houston Dynamo (Memo Rodriguez, 90′)… The last time FC Dallas defeated the Galaxy at home was a 5-1 victory in the last match of the 2017 MLS Season… The last time FC Dallas did not get a result against the Galaxy at home was a 2-1 defeat on August 15, 2015, with Michael Barrios scoring the only goal for Dallas… Mauro Diaz is fourth in being fouled per game, with 3.2… For players playing more than five matches, Ibrahimovic leads the Galaxy in shots outside of the box per 90 (1.4) and shots inside the box per 90 (2.3) 

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