Preview of Game 22 - DC United at FC Dallas
DC United, 12-3-6 (W-D-L), head to Texas for a game with FC Dallas. This matches two of the hottest teams in MLS against each other and is a rematch of one of the quirkiest games of the season. DC United is on a five match MLS winning streak, outscoring their opponents 10-1 in that span. Brian Carroll is unavailable due to yellow card accumulation. Christian Gomez is one card away from sitting out the next game, as well. Everyone else should be available after a fill week of rest except for Josh Gros. This is the second of three straight on the road for DC. Taking the full three points at Toronto was a great way to start the trip. United evened their road record at 5-1-5 (W-D-L) with a +3 goal differential. United leads the league in points per game (1.86 PPG) and is in 2nd place in the Eastern Conference, three points behind New England (1.83 PPG) with two games in hand. United is also in 2nd place in the Supporter Shield race.
FC Dallas, 11-3-7 (W-D-L), are cruising along in the Western Conference. They appear to have a playoff spot locked up and are looking to solidify their position one of the top teams in the West. FC Dallas is 6-1-2 at their home stadium with a +7 goal differential. They are in 3rd place in the Western Conference (1.71 PPG), two points behind Houston with two games in hand, and in 5th place in the Supporter's Shield race.
Brian Hall is scheduled to ref this match, which leads me to my new favorite statistic. Hall has reffed thirty games each for United and FC Dallas in his career. FC Dallas' record is 16-6-8 (W-D-L) in his matches. United's record? 13-5-12. So one team is eight games over .500 and the other is one game over .500. I was unable to figure out how long Hall has been employed by MLS, but I will guess that he probably averages four United games a year, being that there are six games a weekend over thirty weeks, and I think he works every week. So his thirty games would go back to around 2000. During that time, United has a record of 89-50-94, or five games below .500. FC Dallas has a record of 92-43-96, or four games below .500. Almost identical records over the last seven and a half seasons. Yet, in games overseen by Hall, United is one game over .500 and Dallas is eight games over .500. Now, this isn't an indictment of Hall, the three time MLS referee of the year. However, is bears watching. Patterns like this are terrible for referees. The records of the teams they ref should be similar to their overall records after enough games have been played. Thirty games is a large enough sample to start drawing conclusions from.
United will be without Josh Gros and Boswell is still riding the pine. I expect the starting eleven for United to be Emilio, Moreno, Gomez, Fred, Olsen, Simms, Namoff, Burch, McTavish, Vanney, and Perkins in a 4-4-2 formation. Kpene, Addlery, and Moose all should get in during the second half.
With nine games remaining, United needs about fifteen points to have a good shot at retaining the Supporter's Shield. If DC wins one of the next two games on the road, then they need twelve points from the five home games. It's looking better and better.
DC United 1:1 FC Dallas