That was a confusing game.
If things had played out fairly, Dallas would have lost.
But let's discuss the good things first: Dallas scored three goals! Hooray!
- Dallas scored more goals in one game than they had in the entire month of July. Though to be honest, Dallas scored exactly zero goals in July, so take that for what it's worth. They could have scored one goal and that statement would still be true.
The goals came from set pieces (of course), which were the result of better play from Dallas. Dallas looked leagues better than they have previously and in a lot of ways it was an all-around improvement. Almost every facet of the game was kicked up a notch from the past few games. Seattle was such a disaster that perhaps that isn't saying much, but it's still true.
- Chris Seitz had a big game. While it wasn't Fernandez vs. Portland levels of brilliance, it hardly matters. That man is your backup keeper. Count your lucky stars because he single-handedly stopped one sure goal, and another almost goal. He diffused many situations before they got to the "oh crap" levels of panic simply with solid positioning.
- Zach Loyd (dear Baby Jesus, please let Zach be okay) was solid on the night as well until his injury, as was Kellyn Acosta. Acosta came in against the big bads of the LA Galaxy and did very well for an 18 year old. He stuffed Sean Franklin several times on his own which was fun to watch, and he was as composed as you could reasonably expect from a kid. If he's our cover, and homegrown cover at that, Dallas is in good hands. You could argue it's just one game, but Acosta has been doing this for a while at different levels.
The defense was fairly good. It's hard to contain an inspired Landon Donovan, and Robbie Keane is one of the smartest players in MLS.
- Blas Perez.
The bad news is mostly more of the same. We know this team's weaknesses.
Erick came in and while he wasn't spectacular, the midfield effectively fell apart the minute he was subbed out. Some fans (myself included) were ball of fury at his substitution, but watching him walk to the sideline gasping for air must have temepered any discontent at his exit. If the man was as tired as he looked, that can only be a good thing. Coming off his offseason, the man played hard enough to be completely drained. That's what we want out of our defensive midfielders: effort. Once he gets match fit, Erick could be the piece FCD has been missing when it comes to solidifying possession. In the meantime, he's not quite ready.
Erick's replacement left my head scratching. Kenny Cooper? Mauro Diaz probably has enough in the tank for 30 minutes. Dallas was at its best when they were attacking and moving forward, and Cooper again looked a bit lost on the field.
Fabian Castillo should have been subbed out. He lost possesssion far too frequently, and the petulant attitude he keeps displaying when calls go against him won't do him any favors the next time he goes down in the box.
The officiating was atrocious from the linesman. Two offside goals counted for FCD which LA fans are seething over. Dallas fans will take goals any way we can get them, but that doesn't stop them from being ill-gotten. At least Dallas can say they have had a bit of luck now, as fortune has been so aligned against FCD in recent weeks.
While the defending was solid in most areas, the midfield and back four completely fell asleep on Landon Donovan several times, and he made them pay. While he has earned his praise for the goals he scored, he did so with very little resistance. It's not quite the same kind of glory when the defense leaves him wide open to shoot as he pleases.
All in all, it could have been both worse and better for FCD. It's nice to see some fire in the boys though, so there's reason to hope things will improve. If Dallas sort out their midfield situation in the coming weeks there's a good chance they will recover from their summer swoon.
The most promising bit from Sunday is that the team looked focused and aggressive again. Let's hope that confidence continues to build.