The fight was there but the effort was lacking. I think that about sums up the 3-2 loss last night by FC Dallas to the Chicago Fire. Dallas fell behind early and struggled to get back into the game late. Now their season is toast as they are eliminated from playoff contention.
I have been thinking long and hard about my usual game recap/thoughts piece and I wanted to try something different on here with this one. So instead of five thoughts, I'm giving you what we learned from last night. Similar model, differnet name. We'll see if it sticks going into 2014. I mean, everyone is playing for 2014 at this point, so why not me too?
More questionable lineup choices
First and foremost, George John picked up a knee injury at some point in the last week, the team didn't report it and accord to Schellas Hyndman after the game last night, he tried to go on it Friday in practice but just didn't feel like it was going to happen. Raul Fernandez on the other hand has a bit of a hip injury. We don't know what kind of hip injury but anytime your keeper has a hip problem, that is no reason to start him. He did train some last week but Chris Seitz is a solid back up.
So last night's lineup was an interesting one. Zach Loyd came back in the lineup for Kellyn Acosta. I wasn't overly shocked by that move as it was bound to happen before the end of the year. Acosta has been good, that we know, but the young rookie had shown some mistakes in the last couple games so it was only natural that a veteran like Loyd would return to the lineup.
Michel was brought in because Hyndman believed that Dallas would earn more set pieces on the night. Boy, that was a gamble that did not work out. Michel was his usual turnover machine in the middle of the park. Which caused Andrew Jacobson to cover and clean up more than he usually has to. Michel was also in there for communications reasons, I still feel that Erick didn't start because lately we've seen issues between him and the back line in terms of communication.
Then there was the front group of David Ferreira, Jackson, Mauro Diaz and Fabian Castillo. A very quick attacking group. Hyndman stated that Jackson's role was to actually be more central and forward from the start. But once Diaz went down (he'll have a MRI tomorrow by the way), things had to change with Kenny Cooper in the game.
Ramon Nunez was brought in to facilitate some passing in the midfield but truthfully, all his roaming around seemed to look disorganized.
Why Cooper didn't start from the beginning? We'll never really know. Hyndman stated he wanted Jackson to push the Fire with his speed and skill. So there was that.
Effort was lacking when it mattered
In what you could call an elimination game for the season, Dallas just didn't show up when it mattered most. Chicago pushed the envelope early and often, dictated how the game would be played and everything else in between.
In some ways Frank Klopas out coached Hyndman on the evening as well. But in a way he didn't have to. I thought Hyndman over thought his lineup and his substitutions. Sure the Diaz injury that early in the game didn't help matters out but the switch to a three-man defense late in the game when Acosta was brought on didn't pan out because there wasn't enough time to make it work for me.
But really it came down to effort of those who started. It appeared as once Chicago got on the board first, the heads were all down.
Cooper shows up
One effort that was certainly there on the night was that of Cooper. The big man scored two goals to help end his season on a higher note. I felt he busted his butt more than most on the evening. You could say he is playing for a 2014 spot with this team but honestly, he isn't going anywhere. But that is my two cents on him. I'll dive more into the roster discussion for 2014 soon enough.
So we have 180 minutes left on the season. I asked Hyndman after the game if he plans on experimenting in the final two matches with his lineup, something I sort of expected to see out of him. His reply, was simple. Yes. He hopes to actually get some of the younger players involved in the final two games. Guys like Walker Zimmerman for one should be featured as long as his hamstring isn't bothering him. Outside of that, I guess we'll have to see how this week goes as the team prepares for their final home game of the year.
There are other things moving forward that we will begin discussing on here in the coming days and weeks. From where the club will be going player wise, coaching wise, SuperDraft pick spots and more.
The season is toast right now, so all we can do is move forward.