Pachuca vs Dallas – Tuesday 19:00 PST/22:00 EST Estadio Hidalgo – Pachuca, Mexico.
Dallas are traveling to Mexico with the narrowest of margins. The Toros defeated Pachuca on March 15, 2-1 at the Toyota Field. While there was certainly a lot that was positive to take away from the first leg, Dallas will also fear the fact that they have conceded the all-important away goal.
At the same time, there is optimism that Dallas could become only the third team from Major League Soccer to reach the final of the CONCACAF Champions League. Both of the two previous MLS finalists, Real Salt Lake (defeated by Monterrey in 2011) and Montreal Impact (defeated by Club América in 2015), failed at the final hurdle.
Pachuca, meanwhile, won the competition in 2010. The club, from the Mexican state of Hidalgo, defeated Cruz Azul thanks to an away goal (1-2, 1-0).
Heading back to Mexico, Pachuca, therefore, know from experience what it will take to overcome a 2-1 deficit. In fact, a simple 1-0 win at home will see them through to the final. Furthermore, they will be delighted with the return of Hirving “Chucky” Lozano.
Without Lozano in the squad, Pachuca have struggled, losing on the road to Dallas and Querétaro. Pachuca seemed to miss the outlet on the wing, which made it easy for opponents to break down their attacking play.
The winger showed, however, that he was not back to full match fitness yet, when he missed a crucial penalty against Puebla on the weekend. The game ended in a 0-0 draw, meaning that Pachuca have now been without a win in three games.
Dallas, in the meantime, have travelled to Mexico early in order to acclimatize to Pachuca’s altitude, which is at 2432 meters (7,979 ft) above sea level. The club made good use of the free time provided by MLS, and played several friendlies around Puebla.
The fact that Major League Soccer gave Dallas time to get used to the climate and altitude in Pachuca shows, to some extent, the desperation of the league for this title. After all, a Major League Soccer team has never won the trophy, and Dallas, at present, provides the league with the best opportunity to end the title draught.
Pachuca vs Dallas – 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.
Hirving Lozano is back and, despite the fact that the winger showed against Puebla that he is still looking for match form, he will be the most dangerous player in the Pachuca uniform. Quick and explosive, Lozano has long been linked with a move to Europe. So far, Chucky has resisted a move to Europe, but a stellar performance on Tuesday would surely attract more potential suitors.
Pachuca vs Dallas – Match Stats
- Dallas won the Supporters Shield as the best team in the Major League Soccer regular season last year.
- Dallas have taken time off in order to prepare for the altitude.
- Pachuca have not won in three games.
Prediction: Pachuca vs Dallas 2-0
Blanco – Garcia, González, Murillo, López – Guzmán, Hernández – Lozano, Gutiérrez, Aguirre – Urreta
Coach: Diego Alonso
Formation: 4-4-2 Flat
Seitz – Figueroa, Hedges, Zimmerman, Grana – Lamah, Acosta, Gruezo, Barrios – Urruti, Colman
Coach: Óscar Pareja