Some thoughts on Saturday's game, a very eventful affair that really showed me a lot about a lot of players. First off...
This was a positive result It's obviously disappointing to walk away with a point from a game you led with ten minutes left, but the second half response from Dallas was very good and really showed some of the depth Dallas has as you saw two fairly deep bench guys(Bruno Guarda and Andrew Wiedeman) come in and make huge contributions.
Tale of two halves The first half was some of the worst soccer FC Dallas has played this season. We've talked before about how Dallas is not a team that needs to win the possession battle to win the game, but what they don't do is turn the ball over in dangerous areas. It seems time after time in the first half, the entire team was turning the ball over. Take a look at the chalkboard from the game and you'll see a very uncharacteristically high amount of turnovers.
Turning the game around The half-time substitution of Bruno Guarda for Eric Avila was a masterstroke by Schellas Hyndman. Needing a goal, Guarda provided more offense from the 2-way midfield position while bringing in Andrew Wiedeman with 30 minutes left in the game vastly improved the play on the right side as there was finally someone out there who looked like they wanted to be on the field. Chavez will gain the plaudits, but it was Schellas Hyndman's fantastic substitutions that got the ball rolling on the comeback.
Guarda and Wiedeman Wiedeman is a guy I tabbed in the pre-season as a dark horse to become a major contributor and I think he's finally showing that promise. He turned the ball over just once and had a couple of dangerous scoring chances. I think the best part of his game was that it looked like he really wanted to change the game. It sounds simple, but you don't always see that.
Bruno Guarda is quietly coming on strong for Dallas. He's working incredibly hard for Dallas and while he's prone to colossal mistakes at times, the end result of his play is generally good right now.
Marvin Chavez A lot of us on Twitter were critical of his play at half-time, but the Honduran came through in a big way. I still feel like Chavez hurts the team playing in the middle of the park, but he's earned himself another few games. I do hope that Dallas gives someone else a chance at forward in Champions League on Thursday.
New York goals You've got to take your hat off to Henry for the equalizer. There's a reason why he's one of the main rivals of Brek Shea for the 2011 MVP award and he showed it yesterday. That Agudelo goal was just an unfortunate deflection, these things happen. Where the improvement needs to happen from the defense was the first half distribution which was pretty awful, though it got better in the second half.
Set pieces Goodness gracious, that was just awful set piece execution. It's not acceptable to me that a free kick from 35-40 yards out cannot be a dangerous scoring opportunity and must be a kick that either bounces into the first defender or flies over everyone's heads. Surely there's a scouting report on Dallas to foul Brek Shea 35 yards from goal as Dallas is never going to beat you from there.
Looking forward Our focus now turns to Thursday's crucial Champions League first leg(that sounds so cool to say) and a big question is what kind of lineup will we see. I think it's fairly clear that Andrew Jacobson and Jackson will return on Thursday. They're a massive part of Dallas' success lately and I'm pretty comfortable with Warshaw at defensive mid, Jacobson at central mid and Guarda at offensive mid. My main worry is at the back where it really seems like Dallas is pushing their luck to throw out the same back four twice a week. Let's just scrap out a draw in San Salvador and come home for two games.