Fatigue may be a factor on Saturday as FC Dallas comes to Columbus, playing in its third match in seven days. Down to nine men after Daniel Hernandez and Blas Perez were sent off, Dallas was beaten 2-0 at home last weekend by the Colorado Rapids behind goals from Jaime Castrillon and Martin Rivero. In a midweek matchup on Wednesday, FC Dallas fell victim to two goals from Seattle's Fredy Montero and his hot streak in another 2-0 loss at home.
When Dallas has seen success this season, it has been due to the speed of its attackers.
"(Dallas) has a lot of individual guys that can turn it on at any moment. Brek Shea is a good player. (Fabian) Castillo is dangerous in space," Black & Gold midfielder Danny O'Rourke noted of FCD. "Good team defense (will be key). There will be a couple of times where their guys are talented enough to get by one of our guys 1v1. To be able to help them and get there. Once we do win that ball, we need to be effective with our transition.
Schellas Hyndman's squad hasn't scored from the run of play in its last five matches, and Crew head coach Robert Warzycha hopes to keep it that way Saturday night.
"(FC Dallas) is a good team and this is the time of their season where it's difficult to find the goal," the Crew boss said. "I hope it goes that way for them one more game."
Like FCD, goals have been at a premium for the Columbus in its last five matches. Warzycha hopes to create some magic through set pieces this weekend though he will be without dead ball targets Chad Marshall and Olman Vargas.
"We're not going to change anything. The one thing we have to have is good service. We worked today a lot on set pieces and hopefully we can surprise them on one or two," Warzycha said after Thursday's training session at Crew Stadium.
O'ROURKE WILL WEAR THE ARMBAND
For the second consecutive match, veteran Danny O'Rourke will wear the captain's armband in the absence of Chad Marshall, who is still sidelined with concussion-like symptoms. The 28-year-old midfielder hasn't noticed a difference in his approach with his teammates despite his new responsibilities as captain.
"I'm always the same. I'm always as vocal as I was (against Portland). Obviously, we want Chad back as soon as possible, but I'll be the interim (captain) while he's gone," he said Thursday.
"It's no different. (Marshall and O'Rourke) are both experienced players and that's what you want out of your leaders," Crew coach Robert Warzycha said.
LISTEN: O'Rourke on Inside the Crew
RETAKING THE PIONEER CUP
In the first regular season edition of the Lamar Hunt Pioneer Cup, the Crew and FC Dallas each won their respective home legs 2-0. With the series tied on aggregate, Dallas was rewarded the Cup by virtue of all-time goal difference in the series.
The Black & Gold will make it a priority to take back the Cup which bears the namesake of the Club's founder.
The two sides owned and operated by Hunt Sports Group share an all-time 16-16-8 head-to-head record in MLS play. with FC Dallas edging the Crew by just one goal.