The hottest team in the MLS right now is, without a doubt, FC Dallas. In a year where the American league has more attention on it than ever, the Texas team has got off to a blazing start and outshone the star-studded teams of NYCFC, Orlando City and LA Galaxy. Dallas stands as the only club to win both of its first two games with emphatic victories at home against San Jose and Sporting KC.
Blas Pérez has continued his habit of leading Dallas in scoring again this season with three goals in the first two games of the season. This hot start has made the Panamanian striker an early contender for MVP. On the other side of the attack, the Texas team is just as deadly with Fabian Castillo. Castillo electrifies the crowd with his pace, flair and strength on the ball and has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. The 22-year-old is one of the most exciting prospects in the league and could prove to be an integral part of any title chances that Dallas has in 2015.
On the defensive end, the standout player has been goalkeeper Chris Seitz. He sporadically started throughout the 2014-15 season and was very unimpressive in the 16 games he was in net. During his starts, opposing teams scored 21 times (1.31 goals/game), and he kept a clean sheet only three times. 2015 has shown vast improvements in Seitz’ game, as the veteran goalkeeper has been instrumental in his side’s undefeated start, with a clean sheet against San Jose and a vital penalty save against Kansas City. A consistent starting goalie in Seitz will provide stability to the Dallas backline and should improve the side’s standing at the end of the season.
Tonight, Dallas will travel for the first time this season and play a struggling Philadelphia Union. The Union have limped into the new season and have yet to taste victory in 2015. The first two games of the season saw Philadelphia draw twice, with a scoreless result against Colorado and a disappointing 3-3 tie against Real Salt Lake. In the RSL game, the Union twice gave up the lead with the late equalizer coming from a controversial penalty call against Maurice Edu.
The Union, who haven’t made the playoffs since 2011, will be looking to finally get a full three points in their second game at PPL Park this year. In 2014, home games proved to be a difficult task as the Pennsylvania side won just six matches out of 17, losing three times. The major issue was the team’s inability to scrape out tight results, drawing eight matches. If they have any hope of upsetting an upstart Dallas side, the Union will have to learn how to win at home.
The difference in each team’s early season form makes me think that tonight’s match will be very one sided with Dallas on the front foot all match. Philadelphia will have to defend for their lives as the dynamic duo of Peréz and Castillo bear down on them for 90 minutes and Rais M’Bohli will need an inspired performance in goal to keep this one close. It’s too difficult to see FC Dallas dropping points here and I expect them to walk out of PPL Park with another dominant 3-1 victory, leaving Union fans waiting for their first win since October 18, 2014.