The long summer draught continues for FC Dallas. After last night's 2-1 loss to the Portland Timbers, we are now at 11 winless matches. The club has two games ahead this week, leaving many to wonder when will this run come to an end. Will it be Wednesday in Los Angeles against Chivas? Or Saturday at home against San Jose?
Whenever it may be, getting over the latest Portland loss has to be quick.
Diaz and Erick improvement. Both guys are new and both are still gaining fitness here for FC Dallas. But let's be real for a second, this club is going to be better off with both of them in the lineup. Erick continues to be a fairly calming player to have in the middle of the park and while I felt Mauro Diaz was a little out of position to start out with, his play on the field spoke volumes as to how good he will be for this club.
The improvement with these two in the midfield showed as Diaz, Blas Perez and Fabian Castillo combined on the team's lone goal. Where has that Castillo been all season long? Seriously, that bit of play reminding me of what we all expected him to be, an exciting young player that could provide a spark.
Too much walking around. I know the game was on turf and that stuff sucks to play on but it is getting a bit old to see so many players walking around during the run of play. I point this out because the team's captain David Ferreira is becoming worse at this by the game. Long stretches of the match last night saw him just wonder around, walking aimlessly like he didn't have a cause to be out there. Having that from your captain doesn't help young players out either and you'd see Castillo do it from time-to-time and then Jackson as well. I know it is a long season but at some point someone has to take a stand against this kind of laziness.
Ferreira on the night lost possession 12 times. For a former MVP, that is an alarmingly high number. I know he gets fouled a ton in this league but I attest some of this to this laziness we're seeing. If Ferreira isn't 100%, Schellas Hyndman needs to sub him out early or bring him off the bench in games like this.
Physical play. Part of the walking around had to be due to the physical play in this one. To me, the second half was a slugfest that saw Portland and Dallas trade fouls left and right. There was no flow to the game when that happened. Not to mention Dallas began losing the ball more in the midfield in the second half when subs like Je-Vaughn Watson and Ramon Nunez came on to the field.
Michel at left back. We've been asking for it for a while now and Hyndman finally did it last night. But was it all for nothing? Looking over his game last night, Michel gave up the ball a lot. According to his chalkboard numbers he was tackled or lost possession 31 times on the night. I know this is something Hyndman has brought up about Michel is that while his set pieces are great the rest of his game needs to come up to that level. In other words, he has to stop giving up the ball so easily and frequently in the open field.
On the flip side of all of this, we did at least get to see him on the wings more, which is where he belongs. His runs with Castillo were decent at times but as we've seen with Jair Benitez and Castillo together, that side of the field gets hammered because of Castillo lack of tracking back. This is why I still argue that Castillo is better served to play up front in a 4-4-2 and not on the wings in this kind of formation.
More Acosta, please. For me the player of the night was easily Kellyn Acosta. The kid just gets it. I get that Hyndman was pushing for the late equalizer when he subbed him out late in the match for Kenny Cooper but I would have been fine seeing him stay on rather than Michel. Acosta did everything that was asked of him and even handled guys like Darlington Nagbe and Rodney Wallace very well. He's winning tackles, intercepting the ball and making good decisions on the fly for a young player.
I've been telling some folks that Dallas is in the middle of a youth movement or transition if you will. Acosta is that key catalyst in the movement. I'd be shocked if he isn't an every game starter by the end of the season with the way he's playing so far.