Nothing can change a mood of a team more than a win. For FC Dallas, saying hello to the win column had to feel good last night as they downed Chivas USA 3-1. Not only did it break the spell of 11-games without a win but it also broke the 10-game road winless spell as well.
They say all good things have to come to an end at some point. The same goes for bad things ending at some point too.
A season-saving win? Getting a win at this time of the year is absolutely massive. Enormous. Critical. Must-need. Whatever other adjective you want to describe it. As the season turns to the final two months of the calendar after this weekend for FC Dallas, a lot will be riding on whether or not this club can ride the momentum that was built in the second half or not to the playoffs. Seeing how players reacted last night to the win, I feel a little more confident about this bunch again, the same way I felt back in the spring when this team was winning games left and right.
If anything though, this win may have saved Schellas Hyndman's job. Minutes before the game-winner it felt like this season was officially over. But with two big goals in the final minutes, the season still feels like it has plenty of life to it here.
Second half subs. I'll give credit where it is due to Hyndman and company. They played the gambles correctly last night. Starting out was a gamble with that formation switch. At times it appeared to be a 4-3-3, though it could have also been a 4-4-2 or even the old standby, a 4-2-3-1. At times it worked, as the offense peppered Chivas with shots and chances. Fabian Castillo once again looked very dangerous on the wings though his decision making in the final touch/ball/shot was just not there when it needed to be early on.
But after the Chivas goal and the start of the second half, things looked better. Hyndman brought on Kenny Cooper for Je-Vaughn Watson to move into a 4-4-2 for real. Erick held his own in the midfield on the night in the defensive midfield role (though he did look gassed towards the end). While Cooper didn't add a ton to the attack, he did at least spread some things out for Dallas. The big move was brining on David Ferreira for Mauro Diaz. I felt Diaz had a decent game but he just isn't there yet in terms of leading this attack. He will soon enough so I'm not worried.
Ferreira on the other hand was the spark that the club needed on the night. For the first time in a while, Ferreira looked like the Ferreira that we've all come to love. He was energetic, he was the playmaker that we know and he opened up the attack in the biggest possible way. The goal and assist on the night was just was the doctor ordered.
Nunez comes through. I'll also give credit to color commentator Steve Jolly for calling it out when Ramon Nunez came in. He said that Nunez could be that guy that Dallas needs in the attack to move things along and get the game-winner. Well he at least set up the game winner to Ferreira and then bagged a beautiful one of his own to seal the game. If anything, Nunez earned a starting spot on Saturday with goal and assist. Hyndman really won't have a choice in my mind after seeing Jackson pick up a red card in the second half.
Monkey off the back. If anything, getting the win last night removed the giant gorilla that was on the backs of the FC Dallas players. Usually it is a monkey but at one point last night it appeared to be a 500 pound gorilla. Once Ferreira scored the game-winner it seemed as though the guys were just playing for fun even though they were down a man. Hyndman told the press after the match that the mood was finally good in the locker room again. From what I could tell, the last few weeks, everyone was putting on a good face during this winless run. But from the sounds of it last night, the guys could finally be themselves again. Given how fun this group was to be around earlier in the season when they were winning, that is a refreshing thing to see and hear.
Quickly moving on to San Jose. It won't be long, heck, the team arrives back in town today and will have a recovery session tomorrow before playing San Jose on Saturday. The turn around is ridiculously quick but that is the way the cookie crumbles here. To me, that is a good test to see where this group really is at. San Jose is another team that has struggled big time this season and if you don't beat them at home right now, you don't go to the playoffs in my book.
Hyndman will likely have to make a couple more changes to the lineup for Saturday, one we know of for sure with Jackson. Does he bring Ferreira back into the starting lineup? Yes. Castillo and Diaz start? Probably so. Erick again in the defensive midfield role? Possible but it wouldn't shock me to see him and Michel lined up together. Kellyn Acosta staying in the back? More than likely.
Knowing Hyndman though, he won't want to change too much after a win. That's always been his thing.