Yeah. Losses are always tough pills to swallow for anyone. But I'll admit there was something about the way FC Dallas lost to the Portland Timbers yesterday that left me thinking that things would be okay for this team. We're 15 games into this long season and the club only has a grand total of three losses to date. Furthermore, outside of a player or two the team is largely as healthy as they've been all season.
But yes, a loss is still a loss.
Fernandez worth every penny. I know some still get annoyed with how Raul Fernandez manages his game in the penalty box but whatever you say about his performance yesterday, the words "ridiculous" and "amazing" need to be said together in some form. The Peruvian keeper had easily two or three great saves that would have easily gone in had someone else been in goal (love ya Seitz but that game would have been far different with you in net).
Sure he let one in but let's be real for a second about that Darlington Nagbe goal, it was pretty damn impressive. There was nothing positionally wrong with Fernandez on that play and really, no keeper is going to make a stop there.
Defensively. Honestly, I thought aside from the goal, Dallas probably played one of their better defense games of the season yesterday. Zach Loyd showed up in a big way with several big slide tackles, while George John and Matt Hedges played well as we would have expected them to in the middle. Take one bone head moment out of the game and Jair Benitez had a solid outing as well.
Had it not been for Nagbe's heroics, we'd be looking at a 0-0 draw. Nothing about that would have been bad to see either.
The lack of offensive subs. Okay, I know the big question on a lot of your minds is why did Eric Hassli play if he was hurt? Schellas Hyndman told reporters afterwords that the injury popped up in warmups after they had put the lineup out. There was little they could do to change it at that point and he hoped that Hassli could give them more time. But the second he over extended himself on a play, he was done for.
I originally thought it was a hip injury, I think Taylor Twellman or someone on TV mentioned that it was the case. But a back injury is no laughing matter either. A tweak or muscle pull in your back and your range of motion all over is limited. Hassli tried to give it his all but eight minutes was it.
Now Hyndman couldn't have planned for what happened on Saturday to Hassli, nor could he have planned that Kenny Cooper was going to have to fly home early Saturday to attend a family emergency either. I'm sure once he realized that Cooper was out of the picture for the day that he wished he had another forward with him that could step up. The thing was, his other two forwards on the depth chart are young and wildly inexperienced. Jonathan Top and Bradlee Baladez have both really yet to make a dent on the bench this season due to injuries (Top) and form. You can't blame Hyndman too much for not bringing players that weren't in form on a road trip.
Wasted set pieces. Portland was strong defensively on the day when they needed to be. Donovan Ricketts made a couple good grabs, especially the one on Jackson before halftime. But really, Dallas struggled to get good set pieces on the day. Blame it on the turf if you will but David Ferreira and Michel struggled to really send in balls that we've seen them do these last few weeks in other games. The chances were certainly there but part of the service was a tad lacking on the day.
Making the most of what they had. Everyone but Je-Vaughn Watson went the full 90, and for most players it came after playing the full 90 on Wednesday in the US Open Cup against Houston. That is a lot of minutes on some legs but I have to say that there were a lot of players that really stepped up late to push for a game-tying goal.
Jackson had one heck of a second half when he went forward. That move really caused Portland to take a step back and it really caused issues. I mentioned how Loyd was playing well defensively and he was also making good runs forward.
What happened was Dallas struggled to find the ball early in the game and were forced to chase the game. On the road that is never an easy task. But they managed to get through 45 minutes without giving up a goal thanks to Fernandez.
Overall the game could have been much worse and I thought Jacobson said it best afterwards to reporters, this is a game that they'll learn more from because it was a loss. Yeah, you know teams need adversity at times to succeed, I thought for the most part FC Dallas showed a ton of heart yesterday. That's positive to see going forward as a real tough part of the schedule only gets...tougher.