I've always been told both by my coaches back in my playing days and coaches that I cover today, that long stretches of a man disadvantage like the one Real Salt Lake dealt with last night against FC Dallas is actually not a bad thing.
For RSL it ended up being alright as Dallas could only muster a 1-1 draw despite playing up a man for nearly 75 minutes of the match.
More tinkering. I've always thought that Schellas Hyndman was a coach that over thought thinks and last night may have proven me correct on that. Yet another game and another new lineup from the Gaffer. Chris Seitz came in goal for Raul Fernandez, who I'm told is likely on his way to Peru for the October World Cup qualifiers despite Peru being eliminated from contention. Elsewhere was Jair Benitez returning to the lineup at left back, Stephen Keel in at center back for Matt Hedges, Michel in for Erick in the center of the midfield and more of Mauro Diaz at the attacking midfielder spot.
The 4-2-3-1 with that influx of new players and once again more of Fabian Castillo and Jackson on the wings allowed Real Salt Lake to sit back and figure out this Dallas team yet again.
I'm okay with some roster tinkering during the season like Hyndman has had to do. Injuries, suspensions, and international call-ups happen but having a different lineup for 28 of 31 games in a season is way to much.
More questionable subbing. Hey, as happy as I am for Kenny Cooper scoring, the manner of bring him into the game was highly questionable with the man-advantage. At halftime you bring in a forward for your attacking midfielder? The logic there just puzzles me. You want that extra attacker when facing a team with a dis-advantage in the numbers game but when you have two defensive midfielders on the field at the time, Hyndman has to take the risk in pulling either Andrew Jacobson or Michel off the field.
I don't mind him bringing in a defensive midfielder like Peter Luccin. A guy like that adds a certain bite to the midfield that has severely been lacking this season. But with a man advantage why have two defensive midfielders for a long stretch of the game? Why wasn't David Ferreira brought in late over Je-Vaughn Watson? It just didn't make a ton of sense to me watching this game without Ferreira late in the match to pick apart the RSL defense that was getting tired before the Cooper goal.
No bite, more walking. Once again before the end of the first half we saw more lethargic play out of Dallas. I bring this back to the lack of bite on the field. If George John is going to wear the captains' armband he has to be more vocal and step up more, which in my mind he did, but others have to follow suit. You can tell that this is still Ferreira's team in a way, because most of the midfield continues to play like what we've seen out of him this year. There was too much walking around off the ball to go along with just piss-poo tactics that didn't seem to even want to move the ball forward to push the advantage.
The lack of bite out of this club is so tough to watch right now. It is not that they have quit on this season, no, this bite that I am referring to has been lacking since the days of Daniel Hernandez on the field. Maybe the bite left the building the day that Ugo Ihemelu got hurt. Or maybe, just maybe, the bite left the club the day that Hyndman stopped wearing the butter leather.
Time to shift the haterade towards Michel. I don't like drinking haterade on anyone but I'm really starting to loathe what I see in Michel on the field. Sure, his set piece ability is a high standard in MLS but everything else that he brings to the table is brutal to watch - that even include when he is in his natural left back spot.
Yesterday was more proof that teams figured this guy out quickly here this year. As fantastic as his early part of the season was, his last few months have been dreadful. He's digressed from his form earlier in the year and I'd even go as far as to say that he should get counted for an assist on RSL's lone goal.
Three more to go. The playoff dream isn't completely gone but it is pretty much dead in the water. Dan Hunt has been vocal lately but he continues to stand by the comment that the front office won't comment on any player or coaches contracts until the end of the season. I respect that but we know the end is near. The club absolutely has to win the final three to have a realistic shot at the playoffs this year and really, that is pushing it.