Tauro FC have a new badge and a 2017 Panamanian championship under their belt as they ride into their home scrap versus 2016 Supporter Shield winners FC Dallas.
The good news for Dallas is that Tauro are in spotty form if anything, flying into tonight’s game with two wins, two draw, and a single loss since the beginning of the 2018 Panamanian Clausura. They currently sit in sixth place in the Panamanian first division.
Dallas should have nothing to fear, as expectations would suggest. But the only thing to be feared in soccer, aside from the words,“Alan Pardew is your interim manager,” is a man with a superior nickname. That man is Tauro’s Jose “Pizza Boy” Tamburelli, a man who should, if we are being honest, be able to play at Pizza Hut Park. Either way, Dallas has never won at Tauro in CCL competition, striking out, well, once in 2011. If USMNT supporters and MLS fans have learned anything in the past decade of CCL action, an away game in central America is anything but straightforward.
FC Dallas have been reassembled in what is hopefully a better image of themselves during the 2018 winter transfer window. Anton Nedyalkov and Reto Ziegler, their two newest defensive and European additions, will get their first tastes of Panama, giant canals, top-notch ceviche, and CCL competition. Mauro Diaz is actually healthy (your prayers are appreciated) and should be, once again, the focal point of the Dallas attack. Kellyn Acosta, however, will not feature as he came up limp last week with a groin injury during the club’s preseason soiree in Arizona.
Dallas will attempt to replicate its form that carried the team to a semi final finish in last year’s regional competition before bowing out to Pachuca. Pareja has hinted at a desire for more tactical flexibility, and thusly we might see the 2018 debut of a 3-5-2/5-3-2, as opposed to Papi’s usual 4-2-3-1. Additionally, tonight’s game officially kicks off the redemption narrative in Frisco.
After a dismal, playoff-less 2017, a strong CCL campaign and beginning to the MLS season will give the FCD faithful reasons to stop brooding over the new home kit and enjoy soccer, stadium construction, and the North Dallas Tollway again.