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Wednesday CCL Preview: Well-rested FC Dallas, Pachuca face off in semifinals

Photo by Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports

After watching MLS counterparts fall to Mexican opposition last night, FC Dallas will hope to avoid a similar result tonight against their own Liga MX challenger.

FC Dallas enters their midweek CONCACAF Champions League semifinal match well-rested after sitting a fair few starters during the weekend’s draw against Sporting Kansas City. The team is dealing with a fairly clean bill of health, aside from long-standing injuries to Mauro Diaz, Ryan Hollingshead, Anibal Chala, and Victor Ulloa, and should be at close to full strength entering the match.

Also benefiting Dallas is a return home. The defending Supporters’ Shield champions have opened their MLS season on the road in their first two matches, with a win over the LA Galaxy in addition to the aforementioned draw against Sporting KC. The hosts have been unbeaten at home since Sept. 10, including their recent 4-0 CCL quarterfinals victory in the first leg over Arabe Unido. They’ll hope for a similar start to the semifinals, as they’ll want to muster as big an advantage as possible before heading to Mexico for leg two.

Pachuca has been in very solid form as well of late, finishing second in the 2016 Apertura season and starting the 2017 Clausura season with  a 5-2-2 record, currently tied atop the table with Chivas. With just one injury to speak of, leaving winger Hirving ‘Chucky’ Lozano out, Pachuca enter almost completely healthy and well-rested after last week’s referee strike caused matches to be cancelled.

The joint-leaders previously won the CCL title in 2009-2010, and hope to do so again after dispatching Saprissa easily on a 4-0 aggregate in the quarterfinals, leaving them as the sole team to not concede a goal as of yet in the knockout stages. Among the expected starters for Pachuca includes U.S. Men’s National Team defender Omar Gonzalez, who will be paired with Oscar Murillo in the center of the defense for the visitors.

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