Dallas has been pretty crummy lately. They've been an injured, maligned, red-carded bunch that has lacked offensive creativity and finishing, especially since losing Mauro Diaz. Two games ago, they seemed to have something figured out when they earned a scoreless draw at Real Salt Lake, but another costly red card cost them in a 2-1 loss to San Jose last weekend.
This weekend, they'll see if they can find something that works against their coach's former team.
One thing FIFA has really impressed me with in the 2014 version is the ability to know which players played last week and in what formation. When playing a on-off game, the lineup and formation that were played the previous week are the default lineup and formation for the video game.
Instead of the 4-2-3-1 that FC Dallas had been sporting for much of the year, this week's version was a more traditional 4-4-2 formation.
Losing some skill
The players who are playing for FC Dallas currently aren't the ones the video game thinks are the best players. Guys like Victor Ulloa and Tesho Akindele have shown a lot of improvement this season and do have good skills, but the game had to pick an overal lrating for them months ago. Whereas Hendry Thomas is in the high 60's and Mauro Diaz is a 72, Ulloa and Akindele are both at or below 60.
This makes winning with the current roster of players on the field a little more difficult in the video-game version of this week's game.
Like the real team, I tried to take the defensive approach that seemed to work against Real Salt Lake. Walker Zimmerman especially stood-out on defense while Ulloa played a big role too. In focusing on ball possession, safe passing, and positioning, I was able to hold Colorado to just two shots on goal and zero goals.
Blas Perez got off a few really nice shooting opportunities, but was unable to find the net before giving way to David Texeira. Texeira, who in reality hasn't seen action in any of the past three games, made his presence felt immediately, creating a chance for Akindele.
With the score still tied in the 87th minute, Texeira took a pass from Ulloa and slotted a goal from five yards outside the 18-yard box. It was a beautiful goal and one that doesn't often find the net in the video game. The goal gave FC Dallas the 1-0 victory.
So, what does the 1-0 victory mean for Saturday's actual game? First of all, maybe it's a good signal that a blue-collar victory would be just what the Hoops need. In games where they've been allowed to be dynamic and creative (at the beginning of the season), they were very good. Since teams have forced them to play a little more physical style, FC Dallas has wilted. A tough, hard-nosed 1-0 victory is going to also be my prediction this week.
If Oscar Pareja is going to get his team back on track, who better to do it against than his former squad?