What a great morning it was for soccer in north Texas. The temps neared 60 degrees with a nice cool wind which is about as good as you can ask for on an early February morning and the sun was brilliantly shining.
It was really a nice crowd at the adidas field as well, I'd guess a couple hundred, and while the first half was pretty dull, the second half was definitely entertaining. For the full recap and Drew's thoughts on the match, Click Here.
My thoughts on the match (and please take into account that the first match of the pre-season really doesn't mean a whole lot, especially for the starting players who really just want to work on fitness and not get injured):
Talking Michel The Brazilian left back is really the talk of the first two weeks of training among most of the supporters I talked to. He put in a man of the match performance today against Memphis, assisting on both goals in the second half from his customary left back position. FCD gave him a look at center back in the first half and he could be serviceable there as an emergency replacement, but left back is really his stronger position. At this point, I'd be shocked if he didn't make the squad provided a contract has already been agreed to.
First Half The first half really wasn't very good offensively from FC Dallas. A bunch of players looking early in their pre-season who really only wanted to ramp things up to about 70% didn't produce much in the way of offense. It's nothing to be worried about as Schellas noted after the game that they haven't worked on offense much yet.
Second Half Much better from FC Dallas and in particular down the wings. Michel was absolutely dominating the left side of the pitch while the combination of Kellyn Acosta and Cam Wilder had some really nice moments down the right side. The central midfield pairing of Victor Ulloa and TJ Nelson really didn't do enough to affect the game however.
Ulloa You really wonder how much longer he has left here. He's a great kid and great in the locker room, but if he can't come into a game like this one and put his imprint on things, when is he going to contribute in an MLS match? It's a sad but fair statement.
Baladez You can see it with Baladez. The talent and desire are there, he just has some things to learn about how to play forward at the professional level the way Schellas likes it. He makes decent runs and works hard off the ball, but some times he's almost thinking three steps ahead without doing the things necessary in step one and step two. He's not terribly close to ready for MLS, but I like the odds of him developing into a serviceable forward with a higher ceiling potentially.
Sasaki He makes decent runs and finds himself in good positions, but what FC Dallas needs at forward is a finisher and "Sasa" flubbed the two best chances of the half. On another day he could've had a first-half hat trick, but on this day he didn't and as a trialist you generally only get about one chance.
Cam Wilder He's just really interesting. He was really good on Friday in practice pairing up with Bradlee Baladez in a 4-4-2 and I thought he did a lot of nice things on Saturday. Schellas compared him to a poor man's Marvin Chavez and I'd have to agree with that statement. Wilder is really, really green and just kind of runs around being an absolute pest. He will make some poor decisions, but he has a nice end product mostly. He absolutely injected some life into the game today with the nice assist on Baladez's goal and I'll certainly be rooting for him to stick around longer. He could be the story of pre-season.