You have to love Sunday evening games. They end up bunching up my usual weekend schedule a bit, and my Monday schedule for that matter too. Still, there is a lot to go off of last night's 3-3 draw for FC Dallas against the LA Galaxy.
Acosta the utility man. Holy cow. Kellyn Acosta not only got his first start for the club in a regular season game but went the full 90 AND played in three positions in one game. Impressive stuff from the 18-year old. The more I see this kid the more I am impressed by his demeanor, his ability on the field and just everything that he brings to the table. He's a humble little guy too, which makes him more fun to watch than most young players.
Last night against LA, he did extremely well in the first half when he played on the left side of the defense. Going up against players like Landon Donovan and Sean Franklin was a challenge but the young Homegrown did well for sure. The second half saw him switched into the middle of the park for about 15 minutes or so, and again more of the same. He closed down space well and kept the pressure off the defense. After an injury to Zach Loyd, he moved back into the defense and showed well once more.
In other words, if you haven't noticed by now, you should have. The kid is the real deal.
Erick. I'll probably go more into Erick's first start later on this week if there is time. Schellas Hyndman mentioned after the game that once he is match fit, he'll be the defensive midfielder that they've been looking for. He didn't wow me with any play but at the same time he didn't make any bonehead mistakes in the midfield. That part is key going forward. He wasn't horrible on the ball either. He also made timely stops to cut off some passes and won plenty of 50-50 balls.
Goals returned. Sometimes you need a bit of luck. Yes, the first Blas Perez goal was offside but we'll take it. The second could be argued as well for offside but, we'll take it. The big take away for me from last night was the fact that the guys in the attack took risks again. They took shots from outside the 18-yard box. They tested the keeper. That is big to see again.
For the last month it seemed as though the guys up front were afraid to take a chance on a shot from distance. But after last night, I think that fear is gone. I mean, look at what Jackson did in the dying minutes of the match with that ridiculous bomb from 35-yards out. Had that goal gone in, geez, we'd be talking about a completely different game. Not to mention a different feeling that this team would be almost bad to what we saw out of them earlier this season.
Injuries certainly hurt. Andrew Jacobson's hamstring injury could be a bad one. He'll have a MRI on it today to double check but talking to him after the game, he didn't seem like his normal self. In other words, you could tell something was certainly wrong about it given the way he talked. At least the depth is starting to show again with Erick. If he can get 90 minutes fit in a hurry, an injury to Jacobson won't be the worst thing.
Same can be said if Loyd is out for any considerable time too. Acosta has proven he can step in and contribute very well. Plus, London Woodberry is in the depth as well for that position. One thing Hyndman mentioned last night about starting Acosta was that he had to remove a veteran player (Jair Benitez) from the line up. Which means the veterans in the defense know now that their job isn't safe unless they step up. Acosta had a good game too, which makes the roster battles more intense. Nothing bad about having some roster battles at this stage in the season.
On the flip side, I didn't get the Kenny Cooper sub at all. I don't think any one did. The first two subs were purely because of injury but the last one just made no sense to add Cooper on the wings in that one.
Landon freakin' Donovan. Normally I don't go too much into the other team in these five thought pieces but his hat trick last night warranted a quick discussion. After all the Clint Dempsey talk these last two weeks, Donovan proved once again that he's still the man in MLS. Hard to believe it that last night was his first hat trick since 2008 in MLS too. I know it is hard to root for him at times because of who he plays for in the league but I have to admit, I always enjoy watching him play no matter what jersey is on his chest.