Five Thoughts: Takeaways From The Stoke City Friendly

Cooper Neill

Young players look good, Diaz and Garcia debut and more.

At the end of the day, it was just a friendly. FC Dallas hosted English Premier League side Stoke City for the first time ever on Saturday night and the 1-0 loss wasn't desirable but it also wasn't the worst thing that could have happened.

No injuries. First and foremost, the biggest takeaway for me was that no one for FC Dallas got too banged up from this friendly. Yes, some players played more minutes than I would have liked but given how things have gone lately, I kind of expected it to go like that. Still, no injuries from a rather meaningless friendly is what you want.

Mauro Diaz. It was only 15 minutes with the starters and another 10 with some reserves but Diaz looks like the real deal. His first touch is good, his vision is what has been lacking on the wings and his ability to actually track back and defense was a pleasant surprise to see as well. So that part is all good but the downside is Diaz is only about 20 minutes fit right now.

FC Dallas manager Schellas Hyndman alluded after the match that he wanted to see him with the first team to get an idea of where he might be at. After his first couple of touches I believe we got that idea. But the thing is don't expect Hyndman to start Diaz in a match anytime soon. His fitness isn't there seeing how he has been inactive for over a month and he did just land in Dallas on Thursday.

Still, you can tell the players are excited to have him around. A couple were beaming with excitement when asked what they thought about his debut.

The kids are alright. Kellyn Acosta went the full 90 in this one folks. And that is a very good thing. Hyndman put him in three different spots because he can and it didn't matter, the kid responded and showed up. I liked in the first half how he played right back. Acosta got forward when he needed to, looked comfortable on the ball, made good decisions on and off the ball and most importantly didn't buckle under pressure.

The second half was more of the same. He moved up the pitch to a wing spot early on before going into the middle of the midfield. His vision on the ball is good and he isn't afraid to take anyone on. I love that in a young guy.

But Acosta wasn't the only one that looked good out there. Danny Garcia made his debut and had a few good touches on the ball that showed he will be a fine player with this club. Jonathan Top showed me once again that if he wants to he can be a good forward for this team. Same goes for Bradlee Baladez, London Woodberry and Victor Ulloa.

Most of the second half Dallas had five Homegrown players on the field. You could tell that their level of energy was good and more importantly their level of familiarity with one another was pretty evident. You have to think for a second that these guys have been playing together with one another for a few years now. That kind of familiarity is pretty rare in this league. But it still comes down to getting them minutes and Hyndman said there still needs to be a better way to do it than going straight from the Academy to the first team.

Still no goals. It is a shame the club didn't bag at least one goal to end their little scoring rut. But the thing is the shots that the guys are taking aren't going on frame right now. If you don't put it on frame and test the keeper, you don't get goals. Dallas had a couple on the night that tested the two Stoke keepers but none that really caused any real trouble. The only one that really caused trouble was Ramon Nunez's free kick in the final seconds of the game. What a goal that would have been had it gone in to get a draw in the friendly.

On the flip side of that, how about that penalty kick save by Chris Seitz. That was lovely. I really wish though that he got the start in this one over Raul Fernandez. Seeing how Fernandez has MLS All-Star game duty this Wednesday in Kansas City, it made a ton of sense to me not to play him in this friendly and let Seitz and Kyle Zobeck get some quality minutes.

Good night to be off in MLS. Hyndman stated it a couple times afterwards, had this game been super important in some fashion or way, he would have left the starters out there to win it. But he didn't thankfully. He kept saying that next week in Seattle is far more important to everyone and it is.

Dallas was the only MLS club not in league attack last night and it was probably a good thing. It was a weird and wild night in the league that saw some wild finishes and a lot of movement in the standings. While Dallas is now sixth in the Western Conference standings, they did get favorable results in losses for LA, Portland, Vancouver and RSL. August will be about making up for what happened in June and July. If anything this past weekend in MLS is a good sign that anything is possible for this club.

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