At the end of the day, a point on the road is still better than nothing at all. FC Dallas fought their way to a 1-1 draw last night in Kansas City against Sporting KC. Matt Hedges scored the game-tying goal in the last minute of the match to help secure the draw.
There was plenty to take way from this match as you might expect. Some good, some bad and even some ugly. But I'll spare you that type of post this time around as I give you the things that were learned last night.
Weathered the storm
The SKC attack got plenty of shots in the first half along with a lot of set piece chances. I feel in some way that had Graham Zusi been out there for SKC last night, it could have been a different game with him taking set pieces.
Still the wings look shaky once again with Jair Benitez. Age certainly isn't helping on those matters here but SKC was able to get wide early and create some real dangerous chances. Had it not been for some heroics from guys like Matt Hedges and Kellyn Acosta, it certainly could have been a different game.
Oscar Pareja elected to have his squad sit back a little more instead of taking things to SKC. You would have thought at some points in the game that FCD was the team that was playing their third game in eight days, and not SKC. At least we can say that Chris Seitz is really turning out to be a solid keeper choice for the team. I thought he had some great moments in the game last night.
The combo of Adam Moffat and Andrew Jacobson also proved not to be a good one. It caused the team to sit back a little more than we saw a week ago against Montreal. Not that Moffat was bad or anything, his game just doesn't compliant Jacobson's game the same way that Peter Luccin or Hendry Thomas does.
Lacking in the attack
Because of the lack of pressure up front out of the FCD attack, the offense really struggled last night. The few times that the team got wide there were some good chances but none really testing the Sporting defense. Mauro Diaz was mostly ineffective on the night and it seemed as though that because of that Blas Perez was hardly involved. But to Diaz's credit, SKC employed the 'hack-a-Diaz' game-plan every time he got near the ball. It certainly worked.
The only good look for Perez was just before halftime as he had to come back into the midfield a bit to set up the play. I think he scores that in most games though, he would probably tell you the same as that ball sailed just wide of the goal.
Poor marking on the SKC goal
Set piece defending can be a problem for this team. We saw it a few times last year and we saw it again last night in the 80th minute with Aurelien Collin's header. I don't see how on earth a guy like Collin gets that free in the penalty box. It shouldn't happen that way but it did. Andrew Jacobson looked to be the guy marking him but Collin broke away from him and that forced Hedges to try and pick up the slack at the last minute, which was too late. Collin scores that goal nine times out of ten when he is that open.
Michel is still brilliant at set pieces
As much as I dislike seeing him on the field for long stretches of the game, it was the perfect sub last night and certainly at the right time. FC Dallas was pressing for the equalizer so it meant Pareja needed a set piece taker like Michel to help seal the deal.
But what else can you say about that kick? Michel put it perfectly on the back post and had not just Hedges but two other FCD players on the back post. That is poor defending by SKC for one thing but I won't get into that.
First look at Texeira
We saw more out of Andres Escobar, which we may go more into this week around this space. But the first real look at new Designated Player David Texeira presented itself last night as he came in for the final ten minutes or so when he relived Diaz.
Overall there isn't a ton to say about the guy. He earned the foul that lead to the free kick that Hedges headed home from Michel. Aside from that he had a clearance in the defensive end late in the game that helped keep the score level. Yes he did flop to earn the free kick but there was certainly enough play that makes me want to see more out of him.
I do have to say that I give Pareja credit for going to his bench when he did last night and for pushing the envelope with those subs. Two attacking minded subs and a set piece specialist. That's genius in some sense given how the game was going for FCD at the time of those subs. It opened up the game for the second half and in the end helped earn the point.