FC Dallas vs DC United: What We Learned

Paul Frederiksen-USA TODAY Sports

The road can be a very tough place to pick up points.

Sometimes it doesn't matter who you are playing on the road in this league. Being away from home has its own set of challenges and and be tricky. FC Dallas dropped their worst game of the season in a 4-1 loss to D.C. United.

D.C. United had three wins in 2013 but that team improved drastically over the offseason and looked like a team that could hold their own weight in 2014. Heck, they've already tied their win total from a year ago.

When at full strength things will flow

Before all the crap hit the fan, FCD looked like the team we've grown accustom to here in 2014. Fluid in the attack, constant pressure on the wings and some silky stuff from Mauro Diaz. The first 15 to 20 minutes of this one was all FCD really. Pressure led to free kicks which lead to chances on goal...which of course led to Diaz's goal.

The build up to the Diaz goal was just what we love to see. FCD plays it wide with some pace to Fabian Castillo, he then plays Blas Perez in the box, who smartly lays it off for Diaz and you know Diaz won't miss that kind of shot.

Fouls and cards

Speaking as a former defender, both of Zach Loyd's yellow cards were sort of suspect at best. I get why he was carded both times. The first being a tactical foul to slow down a counter attack but in some ways I didn't think that foul on Fabian Espindola was worthy of a yellow at the time. Yes he got ball and jersey but that wasn't enough for a yellow.

The second one was issues purely on the fact that he had one boot show studs. I get that it looked worse in real time but again I don't think it even warranted a card of its own. But that is me as a former defender speaking. I hated calls like that in my playing days as it showed the ref was trying to instill his type of game on the players.

The red card timing couldn't have been any worse for Dallas though, just like we saw with Portland when they played here in Frisco. They had to drop a midfielder back into the defense and it just didn't work. The first Espindola goal before halftime was a result of poor marking and miscommunication between Hendry Thomas and Je-Vaughn Watson.

When wheels fall off, they fall hard

Defending with a man down for half of the game is never easy. Any team will admit that. The extra space allowed D.C. to really dictate the pressure and possession in this one. Before the game, United really never showed this season that they could take it to a team but when the advantage they put the foot on FCD's throat and didn't let up.

The second United goal was clear evidence that the wheels were falling off in that moment and the third just showed what happens when your full backs fail to do their jobs. The fourth goal was a little bit of everything.

I don't know if implosion is the right way to say it but at times it looked like the club was imploding in that ten minute stretch.

Time for responding

One thing United did after they got their fourth goal was really take the foot off the pedal. They had one or two more decent run of things but FC Dallas began to settle back down into their own game. David Texeira came off the bench and looked good at times laying the ball off for Castillo and others. The team was still getting free kicks in decent spots that would test the United back line.

Sure Michel got a red towards the end of the game that killed off any final momentum for Dallas but the club showed some glimpses of how they can respond in the coming weeks to this loss.

Other notes:

- Kellyn Acosta picked up an injury in training on Friday, that was why he didn't play in this one. Tough break, hopefully the knock isn't a long term one with Loyd suspended for next week.

- Time will tell on how long Diaz is out as well, he left before halftime with an injury. I would imagine Oscar Pareja would have subbed him anyways with the team being a man down at that point.

- Big stretch of games coming up in May will really tell us more about this team. But we'll discuss that more this week.

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