Dallas vs Pachuca – Wednesday 19:00 PST/22:00 EST Toyota Stadium – Frisco, Texas.
Dallas have cruised into the semi-final of the CONCACAF Champions League. The club won its group using largely a second string squad, and then easily dispatched the Panamanian side, Árabe Unido, 5-2 on aggregate (4-0 and 1-2).
Founded as Dallas Burn in 1995, FC Dallas started the 2017 Major League Soccer season with a bang by defeating Los Angeles Galaxy 2-1 away from home. The Toros then stayed on the road to draw Kansas City Sporting 0-0.
After two games on the road, Dallas now face their toughest opponent in Liga MX side Pachuca CF. The Mexicans had the weekend off after Mexico’s referee union announced that they would strike following several incidents during last week’s Copa MX games.
Pachuca were indirectly involved in some of the controversy, as their star player Hirving Lozano was brutally fouled on matchday 9 of the Liga MX Clausura by Tijuana player Michael Orozco, who was later suspended for the foul. The foul was indirectly part of the discussion on the current relationship between the league and the referees union, as the league felt that referees have been making too many mistakes on the pitch—Orozco received just a yellow card for the brutal foul.
Pachuca were therefore drawn into the politics that resulted in the overall cancelation of matchday 10 of the Liga MX Clausura last weekend. This means that Pachuca have not only lost their best player, but were also part of major media attention.
As is also the case for Tigres, who will face Vancouver on Tuesday, the situation is a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand the club will be rested, on the other hand, players will have been taken out of the match rhythm, which is often more important than rest. Furthermore, the club will be without superstar Lozano, who will be out for four weeks.
That said, Pachuca are currently second in the table behind Chivas, who are even on points but have scored more goals. With Liga MX still ahead of Major League Soccer in terms of quality, Dallas’ game on Wednesday will be a daunting task, with Panchuca the clear favourites to go through to the final.
Dallas vs Pachuca – Players to look out for:
Kellyn Acosta is the FC Dallas player to look out for. The 21-year-old box-to-box midfielder was brought in to replace injured Mauro Diaz. The young midfielder has already scored three goals in four games (in the Champions League, and MLS). Now facing a top team from Liga MX, Acosta will have to be at his best if Dallas want to have a fighting chance to reach the final of the competition.
Pachuca lost star player Hirving Lozano to an injury a week ago. But, while Lozano, who is the teams best player, will be missed, Pachuca have the star power to compensate for the loss of the fast winger. Uruguayan winger, Jonathan Urretaviscaya, better known as Urreta, has been one of the best players in this year’s CONCACAF Champions League and, with Lozano out, will be expected to carry much of Pachuca’s attacking weight.
Dallas vs Pachuca – Match Stats
- Dallas won the Supporters Shield as the best team in the Major League Soccer regular season last year.
- Pachuca have the best defence in CONCACAF with just seven goals conceded in 11 games.
- Pachuca lead Liga MX.
Prediction: Dallas vs Pachuca 0-3
González – Guillén, Figueroa, Hedges, Harris – Gruezo, Acosta, Cermeño – Akindele, Colman, Pomykal
Coach: Óscar Pareja
Blanco – Garcia, González, López, Murillo – Guzmán, Gutiérrez, Hernández – Urreta, Jara, Vergara
Coach: Diego Alonso