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The offense sputters, defense dominates and three points in the first month is a good three points.
I'm not saying anything anyone doesn't already know to say that Saturday night's opening night win over the Colorado Rapids wasn't the prettiest game in the world, but a win is a win. Here's my five thoughts from Saturday's three points:
Poor Offensively I watched this team very closely all three games in Portland (two of them in person) and I can say that was just a poor offensive performance. Cooper and Castillo were great against San Jose playing in the exact same formation last Saturday against what, at least on paper, should be a better team than Colorado. If it's still a problem against Chivas USA then I think there's reason to worry, but right now I feel like that was just first-game jitters which it seemed like the whole team had.
Outnumbered in the midfield It's only the first game, but the book may be out on how to slow FC Dallas and that is put three men in the center of midfield. Andrew Jacobson and Je-Vaughn Watson had all sorts of trouble winning the ball and holding any possession against the trio of Mastroeni, Powers and Thomas. Is that a recurring theme we will see all year? There is a flipside to it...
Defensive dominance Since the Rapids did play three relatively defensive players in the midfield, it was up to DeShorn Brown, Atiba Harris and Kevin Harbottle to create the offense. Some speculative long balls towards Brown and Harris were effective in the first half, but once the size of Michel was brought in to counteract Harris vs Benitez and the FCD center backs quickly figured out how to (relatively) stop Brown, the Rapids possession-based dominance wasn't worth a whole lot. Despite all the possession, the Rapids didn't have a shot on goal in the second half.
Historically early struggles A couple players who have been around for awhile said it to me last night and it's something that has historically been proven to be true: Schellas Hyndman-coached teams come out of the gate slowly. I've never quite been able to put my finger on why, but it's undeniable. Counting up the first four games of the previous three seasons, FC Dallas has won just two of those twelve. Opening-month wins are rare under Schellas Hyndman and last night FCD played pretty badly and still got the three points. That seems like a good sign to me. If FCD can get a win over lowly Chivas USA next week, they'll have more points through the first month of the season than they ever have under Hyndman.
Michel I'm sold. He's the starting left back for this team regardless of how healthy Benitez is (Schellas said he has bruised ribs). The Brazilian, 30 seconds into his debut, sent a cross-field pass with pinpoint accuracy and was solid all night long not showing a bit of nerves that many on the team did. Obrigado.