AUTHOR"S NOTE: I'm baaaaaaaaaaack! I can't tell you guys how much I missed this site and being able to contribute and comment on a daily basis. I am very excited to see that the BigDSoccer Nation is stronger than ever and this blog is in great hands with some very talented writers.
As you all know, I used to do the Rankings Recap and Stock Reports for the site before I went on a four month loan (as Drew called it) to FC Dallas as the Digital Content Intern. I learned a lot (will be doing a write-up on my experiences as a fan turned front office member, so stay tuned for that in the next few weeks) and I am really excited to bring some of that experience back to the blog that gave me my first shot.
This time around, we are excited to announce a new series to BigDSoccer called "The Splendid, Substandard, and Nasty." This piece will be modeled around the "Good, Bad, and Ugly" with an Arab-American FC Dallas fan perspective. I hope you enjoy it and, as always, please comment if you agree, think I am a moron, or have any ideas on how to expand on this subject. #DTID
FC Dallas is currently in the midst of a five game win-less streak. Not many "splendid" affairs arise from sub-par form in Major League Soccer. However, if we focus solely on this last match, we see that some good came out of the tilt. For one, Fabian Castillo played his heart out. Obviously, Fabian is still learning and is still due for one or two (or more?) head-scratching decisions per game. What impressed me the most with Castillo on Saturday was the fact that he simply did not give up. Fabian of last year or two years ago might have stayed down after that collision and subbed off in a frustrating match to say the least. On Saturday, Castillo came back into the match after picking up his knock and showed some passion by getting on the end of a Benitez cross and side-footing it home for the equalizer.
Speaking of Jair, I thought he had his best match of the season when he didn't have as many defensive responsibilities. This week's BigDSoccer Man of the Match had a sound outing and his creativity with through balls almost helped jump-start our offense on multiple occasions against Chivas. Je-Vaughn Watson continues to impress with his hustle and drive every match he puts on the FC Dallas uniform. Victor Ulloa continues to embody the beauty that is trusting the youth by having another stellar match in the center of midfield.
In another bit of splendid news, Andres Escobar is finally back on the field. The midfielder made his first appearance in weeks against Chivas USA. While it was not effective by any stretch, I feel like Escobar needs a bit of time to gel with his new teammates before things start falling his way and goals start coming. I saw a few connections between Andres and Fabian. How scary a combination is that if you are the defender staring those two down?
A 1-1 draw against one of the league's bottom-feeders is surely nothing to gloat about and FC Dallas knows this. I have said this on the blog before and I will say it again. Any time you do not get the full three points at home, you have failed in that specific match on that specific day. Obviously, it is irrational to assume a team will win out on home turf,. Having said that, the mentality going in to every home match must be, "we can win this game." FC Dallas should have had all three points on Saturday. Failing to do so is not acceptable and up to the standards this organization sets for itself as well as the standards of the die-hard faithful.
Mistakes on the defensive side of the ball have been KILLER for this team. Since this team is struggling to score, the defensive efforts have been magnified. Unfortunately, this team has not played horribly on the defensive side of the ball. I say unfortunately because FC Dallas has lost 4 out of the last 5 games played. Mistakes have been the undoing of this team and while I understand the pressure is high with the offensive struggles, a majority of those losses could have been salvaged for draws (at least) if the defense does not have that "uh-oh" moment once or twice a game. Michel was the victim of the "uh-oh" moment this game when he misjudged a ball in the air that Rosales pounced on and set up Delgado for the first goal of the match. Without that one mistake, FC Dallas is controlling the midfield and the game. FC Dallas is trying to get the winner late instead of having to fight back for a point at home.
This offense reeks of desperation. The forwards on this team have zero confidence at the moment (Blas, Texeira, and Tesho). Thanks a lot, San Jose. The poor finishing carried over from the last match played versus a 10-men San Jose team. Blas Perez looks like he needs a goal in the worst way possible and has not seemingly recovered from the miss against the New York Red Bulls from the penalty spot. At times, his runs were too slow or people were not spotting him going forward. The build up play seemed to favor the speedy wings as opposed to the lone target forward Perez. Give Blas credit, he continues to hustle his tail off and surely a goal is coming, but this offense as a whole is sputtering right now and he is a big reason. Not having your star striker score can do that to you.
Can you blame Blas only though? Absolutely not. FC Dallas are struggling MIGHTILY to score from the run of play. Even Fabian's goal against Chivas was the direct result of a set-piece. With Super Mauro sidelined for a while, someone needs to step up and assume the play-making responsibilities that the young Argentinian shouldered for the first month and a half of the season. Will it be Danny Garcia or a healthy Andres Escobar? I am not sure, but I know this offense needs an injection of energy and intelligence. Right now, the ball is not finding the back of the net and the offense just looks nasty.