That game was definitely a tale of three thirds. FCD had complete control for the first 20-30. Chivas took over and took the lead from 31-60. And then Dallas took control and the game in the last 30. As Schellas Hyndman said, weird game.
- I'm not 100% sure who the color commentator on the broadcast was, but his unhealthy obsession with Kenny Cooper and Je-Vaughn Watson as contributors to this team was distracting all night. It seemed as if he hadn't watched a single game since April. I'd include DF10 in there as well, but that proved true, as you saw and will see.
- The 4-4-2 showed to be the best lineup for this team last night. That said, you still need a playing partner for up front with Blas that is not KCJ. Castillo was mentioned, but I think Mauro could fit the bill, despite his performance last night. Creative, speedy, can cause issues in the box. This can make KCJ Blas's main backup, and allow DF10 and Mauro on the field at the same time.
- I predicted a 1-1 draw. I was wrong. This win, while not saving the season entirely, was extremely important and a point on Saturday will put this team in a position to make a strong stretch run.
- Quick turnaround means we'll be seeing Michel, and hopefully Zach in the lineup. Nunez will likely get a start as well in Jackson's place. As for Mauro/DF10 any formation changes, I have no idea.
On to the grades. You can check previous posts for my background and my grading system. Once again, I'll start from the back and work towards the front.
Raul Fernandez- 7, gave up a soft one but that was more bad making. had a couple ridiculous saves and shut down some pretty crazy attacks. He spilled a couple grasps, but nothing dangerous. He has been the MVP of this team all season, and makes life a lot easier.
Jair Benitez- 5, gave up a lot of pressure, but kept cool. Did have some good runs up, but had a few turnovers. He did not make a strong case for getting starts or even subbing in when Zack gets back.
George John- 5.5, solid but unspectacular. nothing really stood out for tonight's captain. Was extremely lucky not to give up a penalty early on, and is having trouble adjusting early to attacks with Erick up front alone.
Matt Hedges- 5.5, cleared well, but committed some dumb mistakes especially in defending corners. What really stands out is the corner where there were 5 Chivas guy standing around the ball after an initial header, and not a Blue Hoops Jersey around. I put this in Hedges comment, but it goes for every single central guy there was.
Kellyn Acosta- 6, his poor marking led to the Chivas goal as both he and Erick got caught watching. But he was spectacular otherwise. Got forward, and had some great tackles. Chivas tried coming up his side over 10 times, and only once did they get a cross in. That's phenomenal.
Je-Vaughn Watson- 4, He had his best game in months, and is still not an MLS quality player. There were some positives, as he was one of the few that got a ball on frame in the game, but too many turnovers and not enough contribution to either end.
Erick- 6, He was shut down for the first 30, and the last 30, but that middle 30 hurt as his poor marking contributed to the goal conceded. He did get forward last night, and had some great tackles.
Jackson- 2, He was, by far, the worst guy on the field. Had little punch in putting pressure on the outside, and showed little interest in getting back on D. There were multiple times where he was walking. Throw in 2 stupid challenges that led to his cards, dumb turnovers, and not getting the ball into the box. He put this team in a horrible position. Luckily, Nunez stepped up to make his presence not missed.
Fabian Castillo- 5.5 He keyed the offense yet again, and yet again, he couldn't decide what to do once he beat the outside back. He was a force again getting to the final third. Once there, it was a different story. I counted 4 successful passes including his assist, and 9 missed passes, and 3 bad shots none of which were close to being on target. Not good enough.
Mauro Diaz- 5.5 He did a good job of feeding Fabian and getting the attack going. The problem is that it was the only good thing he did. He had 1 successful pass in the final third. His corners and free kicks were reminiscent of Daniel Hernandez's in the dark days before DF10 arrived back last year. It was just wasted opportunity after wasted opportunity. This game did not help his cause of wrestling away DF10's job.
Blas Perez- 6.5 Blas did his job. He tested Kennedy early, and forced what will likely be a candidate for save of the week. He was accurate with his passes, and though he committed some weak fouls in the box, he got the ball in the net. I can't ask for more.
Kenny Cooper- 4. His biggest contribution was getting Watson off the field, and changing the formation. He went for the shove as opposed to the header on a 50/50 ball, again. He seemed to expect the ball directly to him every time, and did not want to run. He is not earning a job.
David Ferreira- 7.5. 30 minutes of earning his job back. He fed Castillo that led to the first goal. He showed hustle getting his goal, performed his corner well, and sprung Nunez for the last goal. The only issue I had was that he was walking around for a stretch right before Blas's goal. It seemed like the first 5 minutes was the same, mopy DF10 we've seen for the past 2 months. Then he came back and remembered "Hey, I'm dfF*CKING10." If this is the DF10 we get for the stretch, we will make the playoffs.
Ramon Nunez- 8. 10 minutes of earning a start. MOTM in my opinion. The game and season was in complete doubt up until he came on the field. He sparked the rest of the team with killer runs, great energy, an excellent through ball, and was just what the team needed. It's not often you see a guy earn the MOTM with just 10+ minutes of play, but here we are.
Schellas Hyndman- 4.5. I'm not going to get into the quote sheet as that is a different post and would affect his grade. We go by the game here. Schellas put out an energetic lineup that couldn't score again, got frustrated, and reacted too slowly.
The first 20 was great as it seemed like it was just a matter of time. But the shots weren't close, or going in, and the team fell back into the malaise we've seen for the past 2 months. Changes should have been made at halftime to get the ineffective Jackson out. Jackson was clearly frustrated, and Shellas did nothing in time to prevent his yellow.
The first Sub showed the formation shift, but SH needs to learn that Kenny Cooper is not a contributor to this team. He hasn't been all year, and even putting him in his best position is not going to work. The main positive was that it got a worse player in Watson off the field.
The second sub worked out great. Mauro wasn't getting the job done, and was gassed. DF10 woke up and got done what needed to be done. This was Schellas's best move of the night.
The third sub really frustrated me. It was clear that Jackson, who was on a card, was clearly not contributing. Castillo was blowing past the left side of the field all night, and despite poor finishing, was still better. Yet Hyndman decided BEFORE Jackson's 2nd yellow that Castillo needed to come off. This made little sense. Jackson was frustrated, having a poor game, and on a Yellow. He didn't get a chance to make the decision, as Jackson got his second yellow, but I have a huge issue with his lack of awareness of the game at that moment. We are now an attacker down for the next match.
Now, the fact that Nunez had an amazing 10 minutes seems like a happy accident. It just seemed like Schellas would've been happy with 1 point when 3 was necessary. He doesn't seem to get the straights this team is in, and that they will all of a sudden turn it on. What's most telling is that this was FCD's first comeback win all year. 1 is never good enough, you always need to go for 3.
Ok, that last paragraph got into the quote sheet a bit, but still.
Feel free to comment, argue, and call me an idiot. I know I'll get flack for something here. Let me know what I missed. And for God's sake, if you feel like you have a quibble, QUIBBLE AWAY!!!