FC Dallas-Crew Preview

FC Dallas has been shut out in two straight matches, part of a

lengthy victory drought since its best stretch of the season.

That mirrors what’s happened to the Columbus Crew.

Meeting for the only time this season, Dallas and Columbus will

each try to snap a five-game winless streak Saturday night at Crew

Stadium.

“It’s going to be two desperate teams looking to get a result,”

Columbus goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum told the club’s official

website. “They’re a very dangerous team and very potent

offensively.”

That hasn’t been the case lately, as Dallas (3-5-3) has scored

just twice – both on penalty kicks by Brek Shea – since its last

victory, 2-1 over expansion Montreal on April 14. That was the

team’s second consecutive win after defeating New England 1-0 on

April 5.

Dallas is 0-2-3 since those victories, but the team has reason

for optimism heading into Saturday. Daniel Hernandez and Blas Perez

will return from red-card suspensions, and Shea likely will be back

in a starting role after being a second-half substitution Wednesday

due to turf toe.

“I think the biggest thing we can do is to come together as a

team and continue to believe in one another,” defender Zach Loyd

told Dallas’ official website following Wednesday’s 2-0 loss to

Seattle. “For the next game, we’ll have Daniel back, we’ll have

Blas back, and we will have Brek back in the lineup, so I think

we’re going to see a huge improvement with the team. Hopefully

going forward we can see better results.”

FC Dallas’ last single-season, six-game stretch without a win

was an 0-3-7 slide July 2-Sept. 10, 2005.

The Crew (2-4-2) are trying to avoid their first winless skid of

that length since going 0-1-5 from Aug. 27-Sept. 28.

Columbus is 0-3-2 since winning back-to-back matches to close

March.

“I’ve been very happy with the last three games, to be honest

with you,” coach Robert Warzycha said after Sunday’s scoreless draw

at Portland. “We were unlucky last week (a 1-0 loss to Vancouver),

but overall, we’re playing pretty good, pretty solid and steady

games. We’re making progress.”

The Crew, though, have been shut out in three of their last four

matches and have scored six times all season. With midfielder Dilly

Duka and forward Olman Vargas questionable due to injuries,

Columbus could get a boost Saturday if midfielder Chris Birchall

makes his debut. He was signed this week after making 18 starts

during Los Angeles’ run to the 2011 MLS Cup.

Both sides could be without their captains as Dallas’ Ugo

Ihemelu and Columbus’ Chad Marshall are dealing with concussion

symptoms. Rookie Matt Hedges will likely get a second straight

start if Ihemelu can’t go, while Eric Gehrig could get the call

again if Marshall is a scratch.

Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman, a native of Athens, Ohio, made

five saves in a 2-0 home win July 2 to end the Crew’s four-game

point streak in this series. Hartman’s teams have not won in 13

consecutive games in Columbus since the Galaxy’s 4-2 win there May

17, 1998.

Warzycha was playing for the Crew at the time.