I won't lie, writing my game recap last night was tricky. For the majority of the game I had hardly anything written down. Then Chivas USA scored in the 60th minute and my recap went from boring to frustrating. By the 75th minute it appeared that the game was going to go Chivas' way, so did my recap.
But a little funny thing happens when you start writing ahead in those situations. Almost without fail something happens that makes you have to alter your writing. I typically have a few different paragraphs ready in case, and thankfully I was at least able to go with one of them that didn't sound like a bitch and moan session for a game recap as Fabian Castillo helped lift FC Dallas to at least a point at home.
Soccer can be about as big of a chess match as any other sport out there. Last night was one of those nights that just that case. Both Oscar Pareja and Wilmer Cabrera came out with what they felt was going to work on the night. Cabrera's Chivas USA showed up with a 4-5-1 look that basically told FC Dallas to try and beat them in the middle of the park while they bunked in.
Pareja came out with his 4-4-2 to counter bunker.
What happened was a pretty boring game for the most part. Chivas stood back and let FC Dallas pass the ball around without any real objective while hoping to catch a counter attack with Erick Torres and company up front. Possession is one thing in this league but possession with a purpose is another animal. Teams that have purpose with their possession tend to do well while the other struggles to create chances. FC Dallas ended up being on the latter end of that last night.
In a way I give Chivas credit, they took everything that FC Dallas offered on the night and then some. The game wasn't nearly as physical as the foul-fest game from Week 3 either.
But the struggle was on FCD's end. Pareja opted for a 4-4-2 that saw Castillo up front with Blas Perez. Neither seemed to work too well with one another. Je-Vaugn Watson had a solid outing on the right wing while Jair Benitez was apparently on the left wing, though at times he shifted inward.
Going wide worked
It was pretty amazing that it took FCD 80 minutes or so to realize that if they go wide with Castillo, Watson or even Benitez and Michel that good things happened. The few chances that they had before in the game were a result of wing play. Chivas is a team that has talent on the outside but it is also a place where teams can beat them.
FCD tried too much on the night to go straight down the gut of the Chivas midfield. Perez would pull back into the midfield more than he needed to at times and part of that was due to some sloppy passing from Adam Moffat and Michel.
But the lone goal was a direct result of a play from the wing, a busted corner kick for that matter that saw Castillo make a daring run that we haven't really seen him do before.
Defensive issues are a result of leadership issues
That was it. Chivas was really just one for two on the night and nearly walked away with three points thanks to it. I asked Matt Hedges what happened on the goal and at least he was big enough to take some blame for it saying he hesitated on the play and Rivero and Torres made him pay for it.
But that is the issue. FC Dallas continues to give up cheap and soft goals each game. This is coming down to a direct result of a lack of leadership on the field. We talked all last season how the team lacked a bite in the midfield due to how David Ferreira managed the team as a captain. Now we're seeing it again as FC Dallas continues to miss a true leader on the field.
The players continue to speak that things are better this year and that they're more confident about turning things back around. But do you really believe it? Seeing is believing here. Sure, there are plenty of good examples as to how this team is drastically better in terms of mentality being strong compared to last year. But I don't see a true leader stepping up at the moment. Heck, the person that was named team captain at the beginning of the season is struggling now to get time on the field.
Leadership is a big deal with a team like FCD. If no one is holding other players accountable in the locker room and in training, then it is no wonder why they are so quick to get in a rut.
Another busy week ahead
The schedule doesn't let up one bit for FC Dallas. This week they'll have two more road trips to the west as they face the LA Galaxy on Wednesday and then Real Salt Lake on Saturday. Two more games with two tough opponents. RSL for one thing still hasn't lost a game this season. And LA is coming off a loss this past weekend.
But if there was ever a time to face these two sides it may be now. Both are missing key players due to World Cup camps and while both teams have the depth to handle it, they may not be as desperate for turning the tide as FCD is at the moment.
It will be a bumpy week but hopefully FCD will come out on the right end of something for a change here.