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Behind Enemy Lines: D.C. United Vs. FC Dallas

D.C. United and FC Dallas played to a scoreless draw at RFK Stadium earlier this season.
D.C. United and FC Dallas played to a scoreless draw at RFK Stadium earlier this season.

D.C. United and FC Dallas played and fairly entertaining scoreless draw earlier this season. At least it was fairly entertaining as far as scoreless draws go. Will we actually see some goals when the two teams meet again in Frisco, TX tomorrow night? We exchanged three questions with Daniel Robertson of FC Dallas blog Big D Soccer to find out.

B&RU: Brek Shea is on a bit of a tear, and looks to be one of the favorites to win the MVP award this season. Can he keep it up?

BDS: I sure hope so. Brek Shea's rise to offensive juggernaut status has been probably the most key thing keeping FC Dallas afloat with the loss of David Ferreira. He's just 21 years old so you figure he can only get better from here. This season has been a real step forward for Brek as he's shown flashes of brilliance in the past, but hasn't kept it up for a month long stretch. Now at Pizza Hut Park there's a real buzz in the stadium any time he's on the ball. In the Open Cup game this past Tuesday there was a loud cheer when he took off his warm-ups and walked over to the subs table.

B&RU: If we gift you a goal on Saturday, can you please do us a favor and beat the Seattle Sounders in the U.S. Open Cup?

BDS: Hey if there's any team that can beat Seattle in Open Cup, it's Dallas. FCD defeated Seattle 1-0 at Qwest about a month ago and also beat the Sounders in the 2007 USOC Semifinal at Qwest field on their way to the '07 Championship appearance. Dallas is a deep team which is evidenced by their second choice midfield dominating the RSL starters throughout the game on Tuesday and they should match up well with Seattle next month if the team can stay relatively healthy.

B&RU: Has it ever been confirmed that Kevin Hartman is human? Can you furnish us a copy of his birth certificate? Dude is unbelievable.

BDS: Hah! He's been just ridiculous since coming to Dallas and whoever let him go in Kansas City should be fired. Hartman should have been goalkeeper of the season last year and is a perfect fit in Dallas as his always-talking, vocal organizational style fits perfectly with the young Dallas backline. However, if you want proof of his humanness, watch the game against RSL last weekend where he fumbled in the game winning goal.

BDS: D.C. has only lost 1 of their last 10 matches and they've both grinded out results while also winning high scoring affairs. What's been the key to recent success?

B&RU: United's offense has really started to come together lately as the young team continues to gel. Chris Pontius is having a career year, and Andy Najar is back to his 2010 form after getting off to a slow start. Josh Wolff deserves a lot of credit for being the creative orchestrator as a withdrawn forward behind Charlie Davies. And then all of a sudden last week D.C. shut out the highest scoring team in the league. If the young United backline can perform consistently as well as they did against the New York Red Bulls on Saturday, this team could definitely compete for the Eastern Conference title.

BDS: Were people in D.C. surprised by the Dax McCarty to New York trade and how has Dwayne DeRosario gelled into the squad here in the first couple of weeks?

B&RU: We weren't surprised that United moved McCarty since he never really seemed to fit our system and wasn't even able to lock down a starting job ahead of Fred da Silva and Stephen King. And we weren't surprised that United brought in De Rosario, as management had hinted in the past that they were looking to acquire a true central attacking midfielder and the team's strategy this season has been to acquire established talents rather than unknown foreigners. But we WERE surprised by the sudden shift in tone from Rebuilding to Win Now. Its playoffs or bust now for this team.

BDS: Give us someone who might not be a household name that could have a big impact on Saturday and why? 

B&RU: Watch out for our young center backs. Homegrown rookie Ethan White is a physical force who is progressing way faster than anyone had anticipated, and newly acquired Brandon McDonald is now providing the experienced leadership that our backline was previously lacking.