FC Dallas released a lot of frustrations last night on a Portland Timbers team that came out with a bunch of inexplicable lineup changes and an amazing lack of fight. Just a few thoughts from the on the performance and what it means going forward.
The left midfield spot The biggest story for me was how well Carlos Rodriguez and Jair Benitez combined to fill the hole on the left wing left by the absences of Brek Shea and Fabian Castillo. It's not always easy to explain exactly why something works, but I think Schellas Hyndman may have stumbled on to something here.
Rodriguez is right in the middle of his best stretch with FC Dallas playing what is probably the best soccer of his career and the partnership with Benitez was flawless. Playing behind Fabian Castillo, a player who provides no defensive support, has kept Jair's offensive talents muted, but with a natural left back in front of him Benitez had licence to bomb forward. Rodriguez kept the possession on the wing that Schellas loved and knew exactly when to stay back to cover for the Colombian.
As much as I'm concerned, and this may be controversial, but Carlos Rodriguez won the left midfield spot tonight at least for another week. Fabian Castillo, despite his good game against San Jose, is a substitute off the bench for me in the LA game and Brek Shea will have to earn back his spot without a doubt.
Complete team performance Hyndman said post-game that when he reviews every player in this game it will be above average or far above average and you have to agree with him. One little bobble early in the game from Hernan Pertuz and that's about the only foot that anyone on the team put wrong. Sealy scored, Luna scored, Jacobson scored, Hernandez' distribution was fantastic and I don't think I need to tell you about Ferreira or Jackson. I'll have more about this in an upcoming article...
The moment everything turned around If this season ends up going somewhere, I think we can all look back on the moment that Dallas' luck turned around. Michael Fucito had a shot deflect off Daniel Hernandez that seemed to be going in, but the ball hit the inside of the post, rolled along the goal line and went out harmlessly. 100 times out of 100 that shot goes in during the bad luck run. After that, FC Dallas had every ball bounce their way and now Donovan will miss the crucial LA game next Saturday with yellow card accumulation while David Beckham may be in London for the Olympic Opening Ceremonies. The luck is turning around...
Scattershooting...Dont get too high with the win and too low with the losses, Portland was as bad as Dallas was good last night...110 career shutouts for Hartman...2-2-3 since the 3 week FIFA break with the two losses coming to Houston and San Jose, games Dallas shouldn't have lost...Don't change a thing in the starting lineup for LA...Saturday vs LA is almost too big for words, three points in that game and the last 1/3 of the season is a race.