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A critical clash awaits as Dallas travels to Minnesota

Jun 23, 2018; Harrison, NJ, USA; Referee Robert Sibiga shows FC Dallas defender Reto Ziegler (3) a yellow card in front of New York Red Bulls midfielder Tyler Adams (4) during the second half at Red Bull Arena. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

FC Dallas will play Minnesota United Friday in what seems to be a routine road trip for the team.

It’s not. Dallas is coming off an embarrassing 3-0 defeat against the 10 men New York Red Bulls in Harrison. The team has also transferred leftback Anton Nedyalkov and is reportedly in talks to transfer star midfielder, Mauro Diaz. Here are some keys for Dallas to obtain a positive result on the road.

Forget the distractions

There is a lot of distractions going around FCD right now. Nedyalkov’s sudden departure and the potential Diaz transfer is giving plenty of storylines off-the-field. That seemed to be part of the demise of the 2017 squad, where Kellyn Acosta was gaining European interest and Michael Barrios and Maxi Urruti were the subjects of transfer bids. 

Pareja needs to rally the troops and focus on the game at hand. Looking at the standings, Minnesota does not look like a good team, sitting ninth in the Western Conference. There are so many circumstances that make this a trap game of sorts: the bad play last match, the transfer rumors, and the looming July 4 matchup against a strong Atlanta United side. TCF Bank Stadium is turf and the weather will be blistering hot, with kickoff around 95 degrees. 

This is one of the rallying moments for the team. If there is not a result here, it could be the start of a tough string of matches for Dallas, which include: ATL, @RSL, CHI, @HOU, @SKC.

Replacing offense

Mauro Diaz was an integral part of the FC Dallas offense. He had eight assists on the season and at times, the team does look lost without him. Dallas will need to replace his offense for the time being, as a player cannot be added until after the July 10 transfer window.

Dallas can go with the 4-3-3 approach and not change much. It might be what the team does this weekend, potentially starting youngster Paxton Pomykal alongside Kellyn Acosta and Carlos Gruezo. It seems as if there is traction on Pomykal receiving a start or significant playing time this weekend, especially in what will be a short week for Dallas with the July 4 fixture. 

With that, there will be more expected from the wingers to provide some sort of spark. Michael Barrios has been struggling, but this would be a game for him to help him pick it up. Roland Lamah, offensively, has been providing goals and assists. If he’s placed on the left wing, it will be interesting to see how he and the new starting leftback work together. Nedyalkov covered many of Lamah’s defensive mistakes and without him, it may provide some issues.

Who is going to step up?

There is going to be a player that is not a regular that is going to step up to the task at hand, especially in this match. The rotation and bench players have a chance to stake their claim in the rotation before Dallas begins exploring the summer transfer market.

Pomykal was mentioned earlier as one who could have a standout match. Ema Twumasi could be another if he is in action. He was the number 11 pick in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft and has provided pace on the wings. He also is very versatile, as noted by his ability to play left wingback in the 1-0 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match victory over San Antonio. Tesho Akindele, who has been used as a wing for much of his career, can make an impact. Akindele scored during the last match against Minnesota and maybe the man offensively for the squad since it seems Cristian Colman has fallen out of favor.

Match Information:

Where: TCF Bank Stadium (Minneapolis, Minnesota)

When: June 29, 7:00 p.m. CST

Broadcast: TXA 21; Radio- FCDallas.com/Radio (English), 1270AM (Spanish)

Stream: ESPN+, DAZN

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