It's been two weeks since Columbus Crew SC last took the field in Major League Soccer action, a 1-1 draw with the Chicago Fire. That marked the first point earned by the Black & Gold on the young season, but it was not a reassuring performance after beginning the year with two consecutive defeats.
FC Dallas has made a habit of starting the season positively in recent years and has not disappointed their fans this season. The team formerly known as the Burn is off to a 3-1-0 start with their only loss coming in the rivalry game with the Houston Dynamo.
It took Columbus until July a year ago to get the team's first road win, After one point on the road in Chicago two weeks ago, the Black & Gold hope to right the ship this week in Dallas and get the first victory of the season.
To get a sense of what to expect from this contest, we talked with Drew Epperley of Big D Soccer.
Questions for Big D Soccer
Massive Report: We have seen quite the opposite string of results to begin 2016 from two teams that had good seasons a year ago. What has been the key to the fast start for FC Dallas?
Big D Soccer: The key has definitely been the consistent attack along with some of the new faces. Oscar Pareja has been able to keep a lot of the core from last year's roster while adding in some key elements and depth across the board. To go with that, guys like Mauro Diaz and Maximiliano Urruti are starting to get on the same page with one another in the attack.
On the other side of the ball (minus the Houston loss), the defense has really stepped up in a good one to pick up three shutouts. Matt Hedges continues to lead the charge but seeing guys like Walker Zimmerman or even rookie HGP Aaron Guillen step in and perform well has played a huge part in why the team is doing well.
MR: Maximiliano Urruti came over to Dallas from the Portland Timbers this offseason and has three goals in four games. How has he been able to adjust to his new team so quickly and what has made him successful?
BDS: I think a lot of it comes down to the fact that he was a guy that FCD has wanted for a long time. The team is built with a lot of South American flare so he fit in very nicely on day one and has built some good connections with Diaz, Michael Barrios, Fabian Castillo and another newcomer in Mauro Rosales. I think the off the field adjustments made it a lot easier for him to get settled in on the field this season and so far it is paying off.
MR: It's still early in the season and fans are still getting acquainted with other teams' players. Who are some guys (with the exception of Urriti) on the Dallas roster that Crew SC fans should be on the lookout for in this game that they may not know about?
BDS: One name to definitely keep an eye out for is central midfielder Carlos Gruezo. The young Ecuadorian midfielder had spent time in Germany over the last couple of seasons and was even one of the youngest players to play in the last World Cup in 2014. He is one of those quiet midfield destroyer types that doesn't put his team in a bad spot on the field very often.
Off the bench, one guy that is already making a name for himself is rookie forward Timo Pitter. He scored six goals in preseason and has already started to get a little bit of a cult following among the fans.
To see Massive Report's responses to Big D Soccer's questions, head over to their site.