Eight games. That is where the winless streak is at now for FC Dallas.
Four games. That is where the scoreless streak is at now for FC Dallas.
Both are ugly marks to see after the 0-0 draw to the Montreal Impact on Saturday. But believe it or not, there are some silver linings that should help make things a little better for some fans out there as the club moves into a bye-week in Major League Soccer.
Lack of the ball. Yesterday was one of those games where Dallas saw very little of the ball. The team wasn't winning the ball as much as they normally do in the midfield. Time and time again the club was also losing the ball too easy in the open field. Those things combined mean you aren't going to spend a ton of time creating chances on the ball in the attack or easing the pressure off your defense in the back.
I know many of you criticized Je-Vaughn Watson's performance yesterday. Rightfully so too. While he was one of the only midfielders in the attack that was actually getting back on defense, he wasn't helping matters out much by losing the ball as freely as he did.
I may break down the entire midfield's performance later but no matter how you spin it, they all lost their fair share of the ball on Saturday.
Montreal took it to the wings. This is something I typically preach but without Fabian Castillo and Jackson, Dallas struggled to do what always works for them in the attack, playing to the wings. Instead, it was the Impact that took the ball wide and made the most of it on the evening. As funny as it was to hear some players say how good of a game Justin Mapp had for the Impact, it was true, the veteran shredded the wings for Montreal and caused a lot of issues in the back for Dallas.
Since Dallas was playing a turnover machine in Watson, a forward converted into a wide player in Kenny Cooper and then a rookie Homegrown forward on the wings in Bradleee Baladez on the afternoon, it is no surprise that they had little wing play.
Dallas has to get back to basics here when they return to league play and find a way to spread teams out. When they do that combined with overlapping runs by Jair Benitez and Zach Loyd, good things tend to happen. Always.
Michel. Many of you were wondering why on earth Schellas Hyndman elected to sub out Michel at halftime for Ramon Nunez. That was my second question to Hyndman after the game and he said that first off it wasn't an injury. So there is that. It was purely tactical. Hyndman wasn't liking what he was getting out of Michel in the midfield and noticed that he needed some creative juice in the middle of the park. That is why Nunez came on.
The result was a gamble according to Hyndman and probably one that he would like to have back. Teams are figuring Michel out these days, they know where he likes to be with the ball and they also know how to keep him from seeing the ball as well. That is what Montreal was doing in the first half. As much service as you lose with him off of the field, you have to realize that if he isn't doing enough to get on the ball, those chances won't be there.
Missing Perez more than anything. This was pretty clear on the game. Dallas was missing Blas Perez just as much as Montreal was missing Marco Di Vaio. I have to imagine this would have been a completely different game had those two been involved.
But back to Perez. Hyndman stated afterward to me that this was a game that really proved to the staff that they underestimated how much they need Perez out there. Yes they have Cooper and Eric Hassli. They also have a couple young Homegrown forwards in Baladez and Jonathan Top. But none hold a candle to what Perez is able to bring to this club.
With only six shots yesterday by the club, I have to imagine that Perez would have added at least a couple more, if not been able to set some folks up for other chances. Hassli just didn't bring it yesterday in the lone striker role. He and Cooper do better feeding off someone that works hard like Perez up front.
Still, a shutout is a shutout. The positive from this game was that it was a shutout on the road. Those are very tough to come by in this league so while the game wasn't pretty for Dallas they at least got something to take away from it.
At least that is how Hyndman put it to me afterward. I like the shutout for the defense. Having George John back certainly made a massive difference for the club. Matt Hedges looked a whole lot more comfortable in the back. Jair Benitez played well on the wings and really didn't have to do a ton. And Zach Loyd had arguably his best game this season.
I should also throw Andrew Jacobson in the mix there as in the second half he was working his butt off as his fellow midfielders really gave him little help to get the pressure off the defense. Raul Fernandez also had a few big stops along the way, but outside of one or two chances, I didn't think he was truly tested all that much.
But again, it is a shutout and some momentum to build on believe it or not. Yes the goalless streak continues but Hyndman and the team have some time off to get things back on track. They'll begin to include newcomers like Erick and Mauro Diaz this week, along with getting some players back like Jackson and Castillo. Depending on how things go Wednesday in Arlington for Panama and Perez, they may even get him back sooner rather than later.
The time is there for this team to get back on track and they will do so. This break coming up should be a good chance for it to happen.