Early in the season, the Hoops appeared to be the team to beat in MLS, going nine games without a loss to begin the year.
The FCD team that comes to Columbus on Saturday is not in the same form. Dallas has not won a match since July 22 and enters this match after a disappointing 3-3 draw with the Houston Dynamo in the Texas Derby Wednesday.
Questions for Big D Soccer
Massive Report: It appeared to be going so well for Dallas early in the season, but now five matches without a win. What's going on in that part of Texas?
Big D Soccer: There are a lot of things to point out but the big key is just the defense has been figured out by other teams in this league as of late. Any time you give up two goals a game over a five game stretch, something isn't right in the back. Part of that has been health of players like Walker Zimmerman. The other aspect may come down to guys like Matt Hedges or Kellyn Acosta not being themselves since returning from national team duty.
On the flip side, the attack did come alive on Wednesday night thanks to a formation shift by Oscar Pareja. While we would like to see Mauro Diaz healthy and on the field as much as possible, his recovery from last season's Achilles tendon surgery has not been as smooth as it once seemed. But the new look on Wednesday with Roland Lamah and Acosta in the middle of the attack did lead to better chances through the wings than what we had seen in recent weeks.
MR: Both teams come into this game off Saturday, Wednesday schedules. How will this impact what the Black & Gold will see from FC Dallas this weekend?
BDS: A lot of fans here in Dallas are calling for a big rotation of players on Saturday. We've started a fair amount of main guys these last two games and getting some of them some rest on the road seems like a good idea in order to attempt to break out of this current funk. Everyone loves to point to the last time Dallas visited Columbus, when they trotted out five Homegrown players in the starting lineup and won 3-0. While I don't think it will quite be that case on Saturday, we could see a couple fresh faces like Reggie Cannon, Paxton Pomykal or Coy Craft get their shot in this one.
MR: For Crew SC fans who haven't paid as much attention out West, who are a few players they should keep an eye on Saturday?
BDS: The obvious names like Hedges, Acosta, Diaz and Maxi Urruti are worth watching when they are on the field but the big surprise for me this season has been the play of Michael Barrios on the wings. He is near the league lead in assists right now and has really been a big reason why the attack has been good this season.
I'd also throw out newcomer Luis Gonzalez's name as well as he looks to get his first minutes on the field with FC Dallas. This game seems like a prime spot for him to get his debut with the team.
To read Massive Report’s answers to Big D Soccer, check out their Three Questions piece.