While former FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja prepares for Tuesday’s MLS is Back Tournament final with his Orlando City side, his successor Luchi Gonzalez has had Wednesday’s return in mind since stepping back on the tarmac at Dallas-Fort Worth after two weeks of isolation at the Swan and Dolphin Resort.
“Ownership and the league had been in contact, every day about the logistics of our next game and I thank them for those efforts so that we can do what we love to do for our fans,” explained Gonzalez of the efforts to resume play. “We heard rumors about maybe late July and early August, than the first week of August and now it’s the second week of August, so just adapting that thing.”
FC Dallas will face a couple of familiar faces in the two-game set against Nashville SC at Toyota Stadium this week. Dominique Badji was traded to the expansion club in the offseason, potentially netting FCD $400,000 in allocation funds should Badji meets certain performance criteria. Nashville made Walker Zimmerman the most expensive defender in MLS with a $1.25m trade deal and brought in Dax McCarty for its midfield.
Zimmerman’s former defensive partner in the 2016 double-winning side, Matt Hedges, may get a closer run at Zimmerman than you might expect. The center back has played a role in the attack in Nashville’s opening games, getting forward as Nashville break up the field.
“That’s going to be unusual I think, having him appear in the forward line when they’re building out of the back or doing something crazy like that,” said Hedges. “I mean obviously, he’s a dangerous player. Wherever he is on the field he’s going to be dangerous, so we’re going to have to look for him.”
Zimmerman is currently the Tennessee club’s only goalscorer, with a goal at a set piece in the Nashville’s maiden game against Atlanta United.
We talked a little on the most recent podcast as to what you can expect from Nashville, as well as offering up a breakdown with some game video in this explanation of the 3-5-2 that FC Dallas is likely to use in part.
Toyota Stadium will be open to fans with a reduced capacity of 5,110. The supporters section at the north end will be closed with the two supporters groups likely rehoused in the south end close to the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
Hedges, like Michael Barrios in the Spanish portion of the conference call, is looking forward to entertaining the FC Dallas faithful either in the bleachers or at home prioritizing the welfare of their supporters.
“I’m still kind of up in the air about it,” stated Hedges. “Obviously you have to be kind of worried with what’s going on, but hopefully the protocols the team and the league have put in place are going to be enough to keep fans safe.”