Typically around these parts I am probably the more optimistic one when it comes to the outlook of FC Dallas. That is just who I am and how I am as a person. But damn, I just don't know any more folks. I just don't know.
After Saturday's 3-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders, this club really has no where else to go in my mind but back up. Getting back up though is going to be the toughest thing of all.
I'll hopefully dive into some specific things this week in regards to the current slump that the team is still enduring. Until then, it is time to look at what went so wrong against Seattle.
1. High line and lack of pressure. We heard it all throughout the game, mostly because the Sounders broadcast crew only had one note about FC Dallas and it was about their high defensive line. Seriously, they beat that horse to death yesterday but that is beside the point. Dallas did play with a particularly high defensive line in the first half and yet again they got burned by the speed up front from the Sounders.
But for me it isn't that George John, Matt Hedges, Zach Loyd or Jair Benitez had bad games all at once. No, that high line could have worked. I am almost willing to bet that when they play Seattle again later this season at FC Dallas Stadium that the high line will be there again and it will work much better on natural grass than on the ugly turf at CenturyLink Field.
Really the high line was ineffective because of the lack of pressure out of the midfield. David Ferreira brought no pressure in the middle of the park, something you hate to see out of your captain. Jackson and Fabian Castillo weren't tracking back enough to help out defensively (but when do they ever), and that left Je-Vaughn Watson and Andrew Jacobson to do all the dirty work in the middle. Well as we know it, Watson was a waste yesterday on the field in the first half. No pressure on the ball from him, and a slew of give aways in the middle of the field also didn't help. Jacobson tried, he did, but when you are the only one in a five-man midfield that is pressuring the ball, it can wear on you rather quickly.
So what happened? Seattle scored two easy goals. Okay, three if you count the penalty in the final seconds.
2. Speaking of that penalty. The frustrations late in the game from Ferreira were pretty obvious. He was upset with Eddie Johnson for not running off the field quick enough, so what did he do? He got pissy and shoved his way into a yellow card. Shortly after that he had a rather careless challenge that led to a penalty kick that Brad Evans easily scored.
So what do we make of Ferreira these days? I want to touch on this more at some point this week if I can in a full sense but the short end of it is he probably shouldn't be the captain of this group anymore. I just don't see his leadership on the field like I use to. He use to bring the pressure in the midfield that helped spark players like Castillo to do the same. Now days, he is running on 70% and it shows. He is last to the ball, his touch isn't what it use to be and it appears that he just doesn't care like he use to.
And don't get me started on that hair of his.
3. Diaz looks good. Like I tweeted during the game. Mauro Diaz cannot get 90 minutes fit soon enough. His touch on the ball was silky and he probably had the one good chance in the game for Dallas. I think once he gets up to speed and has the fitness levels to go the full 90 or at least 60-70 minutes he'll be a starter. Seeing him go 45 was good but I don't want him pushed to long minutes just yet. I want him to be able to give 100% in those long minutes and not be a waste of a sub or a start after 35 minutes.
Still, he is every bit as good as he is advertised to be.
4. Acosta gets a run at it as well. I was shocked and then also extremely excited to see Kellyn Acosta get his first big minutes this season on the road like this. Yes the game was completely gone by the time he stepped on the field but at least Schellas Hyndman gave him the chance here.
I don't think it was a matter of Loyd having a bad game but more of a lets see what Acosta can do against this kind of pressure. To me he handled it well. I would love nothing more than to see him get more minutes here this season and I think he will. Hyndman actually has some trust in him which is rare to see from the Gaffer with a young player.
The big question becomes where will he end up playing? For me, full back seems like the best spot for now. I know he can play nearly anywhere on the field but his ability on and off the ball for me makes him a natural full back.
5. Time for changes. I know many of you were wondering where Michel was in the lineup. Yeah, I got nothing. I can say this though about the Brazilian is that clubs figured him out. They figured out how to defend him in the open field and how to make it harder on him with Jacobson in the middle of the park. That and he honestly hit a wall. His last couple of games he wasn't that good on the field for Dallas. Better than Watson has been, sure, I'll certainly give you that. I see him getting rested in games like this to keep his levels up for the long haul. He is still adjusting to the league after all, which for a new player is very tough to do over one season.
Outside of that thought, something has to give. I know we'll touch on Hyndman and his job this week but I'll say this about that subject, he isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Yes he should be on the hot seat for this club's current form but he just won't be going anywhere anytime soon folks. You may need to deal with that thought if you are in the #FireSchellas camp.
But some tactics do need changed. You can tell Hyndman desperately wants to be in a 4-4-2. He knows that is the move that he needs to make once the right people are healthy. But getting to that point is so difficult for this group because of who is on this roster. Their defensive midfielders currently on the team either are injured or aren't good enough to carry the load from game-to-game.
So what is this team to do? Make a trade? Find another signing? Something. The clock is ticking away very fast here on this season. If something isn't done, the playoffs won't be here. But as weird as it is to say that, this team is oddly enough only one win away from moving into second place in the Western Conference. Silver lining? Maybe. But again I'm just trying desperately to be my optimistic self about this club.