Whew. In a way I feel like FC Dallas really dodged a bullet there. Going to Colorado to face the Colorado Rapids is never easy, even when the Rapids are having a down year (which right now they aren't). Thanks to Blas Perez's two goals to help bring back the Hoops not once, but twice in this match to salvage the draw is something I'll take and I'm sure many of you will too.
Perez's big night. In my book he had a hat trick and had that first half goal stood, we'd be talking about a big weekend for him right before he goes off to Panama for national team duty. Still both goals were really, really good. Damn good even. The volley on the first and then the long range shot on the second one. Great ways to respond to the two Atiba Harris goals for Colorado on the night. He certainly showed why Schellas Hyndman has put so much trust and faith in him too. Five goals on the year may not seem like a ton compared to the Marco Di Vaio's and Jack McInerney's of the league but when you consider the wealth of offense this club has at the moment, to get a guy like Perez to lead the way with five and nearly everyone else have two or three of their own means you are doing something right.
Lack of possession. Typically we don't see FC Dallas lose the possession battle in a big margin but last night was one of those nights where they just struggled to get the ball for stretches of the game. Colorado won the possession battle 69%-31% last night. So basically for almost three-fourths of the match, the Rapids had control the ball. I want to be upset with that number but I'll get some benefit of the doubt due to playing on the road and playing at altitude. The Rapids also nearly doubled the amount of passes in the match between their players compared to Dallas.
The only stretch according to the passing and possession matrix that Dallas controlled the game was when they were pressing for goals. The 60th minute to the 65th minute showed Dallas with the highest control and possession advantage of the night. Yeah, just that five minute stretch. Oddly enough that is also when the Rapids scored their second goal.
Nice getting AJ back. It was good to see Andrew Jacobson back on the field for Dallas last night. Overall he had a pretty decent night in the midfield as you would expect. He didn't give up a ton of sloppy passes or make any big mistakes in the midfield that really cost the club in the end. The only faults I had with his game last night was the fouls he was committing. The one late in the match cost him a yellow card too. Sometimes when Jacobson is a bit rusty like he was last night we see that out of him. Still, overall he was strong in keeping the pressure from the Rapids down on the defense. He and Michel had a decent night in the middle of the park and really the two goals scored against them were more about the break down in marking in the back than anything else.
Going to the bench. I thought it was an odd night for Schellas Hyndman. On one level I get why he waited as long as he did to make his subs. During a key stretch of the game when he would normally go to his bench, his team was playing well, scoring goals to tie the game up. Usually in moments like that you don't want to break any momentum as a coach by bring on a new player if you don't have to.
But the thing was once the 70th minute hit, the momentum was nearly gone for Dallas and Colorado was back in control of this one. I really thought Eric Hassli should have been brought on about that point for Fabian Castillo. Not any knock to the young Colombian but Hassli's weird pace and physical play could have been just what the club needed up front with Perez holding the ball a bit more for him.
I'm sure the argument against that early sub would have been that it would have required David Ferreira to go wide with Michel and Jacobson having to man the middle of the park. Sometimes that would be Hyndman's argument as it probably was in this case last night. Colorado was earning a ton of the ball in the middle of the park and was getting possession on the wings. Switching formations for Hassli wouldn't have been able to slow that possession and attack down enough.
On the flip side, nice to see London Woodberry get a shot in his natural full back spot.
Silver lining. I love silver linings. And this game certainly had one. No Portland game last night and with LA on the road and New York losing in the East, this draw doesn't have that big of an impact in the grand scheme of things just yet in this year's race. We've been saying all a long that if Dallas can get draws like this away from home and take care of business in Frisco that things will write themselves pretty nicely. After 14 games, the club sits nicely at 28 points. That is exactly two points a game as the team closes in on the midway point in their season. The next two games are big ones but they still are manageable. This club has gained some confidence after this draw too as they know they can battle back in any place and in any game.
Lastly, we can't sleep on this Colorado team anymore. Judging from last night, Oscar Pareja's bunch has turned the corner from what we saw in the month of March out of them. Scary thing is they are getting healthier too.