I won't beat around the bush, that loss last night was a tough one to swallow. But at the same time it was also expected. FC Dallas struggled defensively when it mattered most and dropped their third straight game and fourth in five games, a 2-1 loss to the Seattle Sounders.
About that lineup
First and foremost I have to talk about last night's starting lineup. No Fabian Castillo. No Jair Benitez. A 4-4-2 that some what resembled a 4-3-3 at times. There were a lot of bodies in the middle of the field with Adam Moffat and Hendry Thomas. Andrew Jacobson would pull in at times but typically stayed wide like I figured he would. Danny Garcia would float from wing to the center as well.
The reason why Seattle struggled for the most part in this game was because of this group. Thomas was all over the place and really clogged up the middle of the field and the passing lanes that Seattle had. I felt like last night was easily his best night in a Dallas uniform to date.
Garcia was active yet again but probably not enough that Oscar Pareja would have liked him to be. But it helped that he had two forwards in David Texeira and Blas Perez that were very active. The work-rate of those two guys is impressive and it was really nice seeing how they would interact together on the field for a long period of time.
The moves also allowed Pareja to finally get Benitez and Castillo some rest that they needed. Sure both came into the match late but in this game, it was worth having them off the bench. Castillo brought a spark like you would expect, as did Victor Ulloa (who is possibly starting to be one of my favorites to watch this year).
Passing was an issue
Moffat struggled in the middle of the field at times and the back four really had their hands full at completing good passes on the night. I'll let Jason dive more into the Chalkboard later today or tomorrow but when I see 74% passing on the game it sounds good but it really wasn't at al.
Blame it on the turf or the physical nature of this game (29 combined fouls called, 18 on FCD), whatever it may be the passing on the night for FCD was horrendous when you look back on it.
Defensive marking was poor
Watching how bad the defending and marking was on both Seattle goals cut me to the core as a former defender. Getting beat on the near post in the first goal is just something that can't happen. I don't blame Raul Fernandez either for the two goals, there really wasn't a ton he could do about them (boy that sounds familiar with what we've been saying about Chris Seitz all year too...hmm...).
The second goal was the worst for many reasons but how can you lose a guy like Kenny Cooper in the final third? Seriously? Not only is Cooper one of the bigger guys on the field but he is also someone everyone on this FCD team is familiar with, especially that defensive group. They know his tendencies and where he goes in the final third. That goal was vintage Cooper, as he found a pocket of space and capitalized on a great pass from Obafemi Martins.
Quickly moving on
There really is no time to dwell in this one for FCD. That is the good part about staying on the road for the weekend match in San Jose. The group has to find a way to regroup and collect themselves to move on from this one because it certainly stung.
Thankfully San Jose is dealing with injuries issues of their own and are struggling on the season as well. So anything can happen on Saturday. This is a long and brutal season, something we've learned year after year with this league. Pareja and his team are learning from their mistakes and in time will correct them. We know this is a make or break month for the club but the signs are all there that they can get results in bad situations. It is only a matter of time before things begin to click again for the entire group.