Pregame: Columbus Crew v. F.C. Dallas

Brett Deering

Every game is a playoff game. The Crew can get within a point of fifth place with a win with vital games against Sporting Kansas City and the New England Revolution coming up.

The Lineup: Josh Williams and Andy Gruenebaum are healthy, but unlikely to start. Bliss will probably run out the lineup that has won two straight

Lampson; Barson, Wahl, Marshall, Viana; Oduro, Trapp, Tchani, Anor; Arrieta, Higuain

Crew on Offense: The goals are coming from all over the field. Federico Higuain is still creating, but Dominic Oduro and Bernardo Anor added goals from both wings last week. Tony Tchani is creating chances from central midfield. Jairo Arrieta looks due for a goal.

Dallas will play compact and often looks to counter. It will be vital to switch the point of attack a quickly as possible to pull the Dallas defense out of shape. That also means the Crew will have to rely on wing play a little more often. Anor is adept with the ball at his feet and Oduro has the ability to use his speed. Getting in good crosses will help stretch the defense.

The last option will be to take advantage of as many set pieces as possible. It's the Crew's biggest chance to even up attacking numbers when they can push Chad Marshall and Tyson Wahl forward.

Crew on Defense: Dallas's Blas Perez is a physical presence who can create problems off of set pieces. Fortunately the Crew are strong on defending set pieces. Marshall and Wahl are quite good in the air. The challenge will be handling Perez's holdup play as he brings in the rest of the Dallas offense.

David Ferreira isn't the offensive force that he used to be, but he does have three goals and eight assists on the year. He is Dallas's biggest creative force. Clamping down on him will choke the home team's offense.

Final Walkthrough: Dallas is in a tailspin and are dropping out of playoff contention. The Crew must win to keep hope alive. A tie does little good for either team.

Crew 1 - FC Dallas 1

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