Digging Deeper Into Sunday's Draw With AIK

Steve Dykes

Some overall thoughts then looking player by player

My thoughts on the match and then player by player analysis:

Defense First - It's fascinating to contrast the two games we saw in Portland tonight. In one, you had a fairly cagey 0-0 stalemate in which both defenses impressed and the offenses sputtered while in the other matchup between Portland and San Jose, the game ended 3-3 with very bad marking on set pieces and some sloppily conceded goals. Which one would you rather be a part of in pre-season? I can probably tell you what Schellas Hyndman would say.

The Offense is Not Gelled - Captain obvious alert, but the FC Dallas offense is very much a work in progress. That's not to say the players out there aren't extremely talented, but they're not quite sure how to work together yet. Castillo, Jackson, Cooper and Perez just kind of drifted around and hoped to get by on individual talent and it almost worked a few times, but overall it was not what you want out of your offense. The nice thing is there's so much individual talent that they'll probably get by ok through the first month of the season while things gel.

Fernandez Impresses - First impressions are important and I think Raul Fernandez gave a very good account of himself in his first meaningful match. The Peruvian made some nice stops, came off his line well on a few occasions and I thought his distribution was crisp and generally the right decision.

Mickael Tavares - It's just one game and pre-season, but I'm not sold on the guy. MLS is a counter attacking league and getting caught in possession like Tavares had happen to him multiple times is a great way to get yourself scored on. Looking at the upside, however, the midfielder played some very good balls into Ferreira and I'm confident he can provide adequate depth if Peter Luccin is in bad shape.

Portland's Turf - Dallas struggled today with it big time. It's just not something you can learn in a day and be used to it. The turf ate Cooper up a couple times and Tavares never adjusted to it so it's tough to be completely fair in evaluations of him.

Finally - It wasn't a win, but it was the first hard preseason game, many of the starters got 90 minutes and no one got injured, that's a good result. Portland and San Jose tied so all teams have one point through one game. FC Dallas resumes tournament action on Wednesday against Portland at 930 central time. I will be there.

Individual Player Comments

Game grades in pre-season are silly so I'm just going to make a few comments on what I saw from each player

Seitz - A good, quiet half for Seitz. Is it important that he started over Fernandez?

Loyd - Not really the best day from Zach Loyd. He got beaten for pace a couple times and should have had a penalty called on him in the first half. He doesn't play well on this turf.

John - Perhaps the story of the day is George John getting more than an hour of playing time without any problems. A fantastic development.

Hedges - Solid in his 45 minutes on the field, another good development

Tavares - See above

Ferreira - Never really got out of second gear, but played some nice passes. Still learning how to play in the 4-4-2.

Jackson - For me, the FC Dallas MOTM as I mentioned in the recap. Incredibly active all game up and down the field, picked up two yellow cards on AIK players and someone who could be the x factor this year.

Castillo - A good game from the 20-year-old who is just becoming more consistent with what you see every game rather than the ups and downs. It's a good thing.

Cooper - As I said earlier, I thought he struggled a little bit with the turf and looked to be just a little bit off the pace. It's going to take time for him and Blas to gel. Gotta finish that chance in the second half.

Perez - About the same as Cooper. Very close to things happening but never quite came off. They'll get on the same page eventually.

Subs:

Fernandez - Pushing Jackson for MOTM. A very good performance and one that again throws the goalkeeper race wide open

Keel - A nice 45 minutes for Keel. Looked much better with George John than Woodberry, but he's going to be great depth to have on the team.

Woodberry - Flashes of brilliance but flashes of naivety too. Ultra-athletic and with a super high ceiling though, just needs to learn the nuances of the professional game. Excited to see where he can be in a year.

Jacobson - Solid, nothing spectacular but this game wasn't really about him.

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