Heading into Wednesday’s CONCACAF Champions League match at Toyota Stadium, FC Dallas is at a disadvantage. A 1-0 loss on the road in the opening leg has them on the precipice of an early exit.
Still, even down a goal, Oscar Pareja and co. like their chances of handling business at home.
In last week’s opening leg, FC Dallas squandered a number of chances en route to a 1-0 loss to Tauro FC of Panama. In what ended as a fairly balanced match statistically, a goal from Tauro FC’s Edwin Aguilar proved the difference, putting FC Dallas in a must-win scenario heading home.
“We need to win first,” Pareja said. “We’ll factor in the goals and the away goals and all of those things. The first thing we have in our minds is that we are at home and need to win that and keep the balance as well. Don’t get desperate. We have 90 minutes to tie the game, not losing our heads and start rushing things and getting desperate is going to be key for us.”
There are a number of scenarios and permutations to consider, as with any two-legged tie. A two-goal win would send FC Dallas straight on through and an FC Tauro away goal would force FCD to push for that two-goal victory.
Last time out, FC Dallas found themselves choked out in the midfield. With star midfielder Kellyn Acosta out of action, the MLS club found the midfield clogged and couldn’t get through. Both teams relied on the long ball, with only FC Tauro finding any measure of success given the fact they scored the game’s lone goal.
“They were an unknown team to us before this, but now we’ve got some more video of them we kind of know what they are going to throw at us and we are putting together ideas right now of what we need to do,” defender Ryan Hollingshead said.
“We are just expecting they are going to sit in a lot, they are obviously trying to just get out of here with a tie or at least a clean sheet and that would allow them to move forward, so we are going to be ready to throw everything we have at them and get a goal or two.”
When FC Dallas faced off with another Panamanian side, Arabe Unido, at home last year, they rocketed four goals en route to a semifinal run in CCL play. They’ll need another cohesive attacking performance on Wednesday, even if the club has put together few since that night early last year.
In the wake of a letdown 2017, the CCL is a way for FC Dallas to rebuild some confidence and stature heading into the 2018 season.
“It’s big. Being at home is a huge advantage and we feel like we can take care of business and we’ll be fine,” Hollingshead said. “We’re in a good spot right now.”