It was incredibly nice outside on Saturday night in North Texas, and the people of Dallas responded with a huge crowd in attendance. Away fans for Portland were also out in force as usual here, for most of the match it was a contest of volume between them and Section 116. The weather, the fact that it was the last game of the season, and combined with being able to see a playoff team in action really drew the fans and I was just as excited as we welcomed a hobbling Portland Timbers crew into what we've made a fortress over the course of the season. The crowd got loud, there was energy bouncing around in the stadium, and surely, just surely this energy would've been transferred to the home side. Not so much.
FC Dallas came out and was met by a determined PTFC side from the get go. Powell was certainly making himself to be a nuisance all night, and the FC Dallas defense was struggling to hold the pressure from Portland as a whole. The first 45 was just a shamble from the home side, nothing was getting done right, and Portland was reading every play like an open book. Their method of milking injuries to waste time was just unheralded. Blas, on multiple occasions, tried to speed up the taking of free kicks, to stop Portland from wasting precious time. Unfortunately, his attempts at this led to even more time being wasted. To add to this, we were just getting no help from the team in yellow. It seems like every referee that comes into Toyota Stadium comes in with the mentality of getting under the skin of the home crowd. The yellow-men completed this objective with flying colors.
The first goal that was let in was just a fluky deflection that managed to go in, but the second was just garbage defending from out back line, no chance for Seitz to do anything in that position. After the 2nd was scored, it just deflated the players, and took the life out of the once electric crowd. Really depressing.
'Pick-Up Game' Level
No sort of rhythm, and absolutely 0 understanding between the players in red. It was like this was the very first time these guys have ever played together as a soccer team. I'm not sure if they were attempting to be cute, or trying to thread the needle too much, but absolutely nothing was getting through. A pass sequence would just end up being cut out or misplaced with frustrating frequency. My favorite attacking method used by FCD over the course of the night had to be the 'float hopeless cross from deep'. This was where we floated the ball into the box from deep wide areas (not from the wings, but closer to the halfway line) with Blas or Tex/Tesho waiting trying to out dual Ridgewell and Kah. Yeah, that'll never happen. Well, Watson got it to happen once with Tex, so exciting. No, but there's no way in heck that Blas and Tex/Tesho were going to win headers against Kah and Ridgewell without some pintpoint service. There was no such pinpoint service.
Michel was horrible. I have to say it. To call his service sub-par would've been an understatement. There was maybe 2 occasions that a free kick or corner kick actually beat the first man, and his service from the outside areas were never threatening. His one value is set pieces, and he failed.
Most exciting player to watch? Acosta, mainly for his ability to plug in that left side and do work defensively but also getting forward and having that attacking threat. I was a little confused at seeing him go but we needed to bring in an attacker and he was the chosen one.
This team has stumbled into the playoffs, there's no way around it. Our win against the Galaxy was glorious, yes. Last week we squeaked by with a win against a train-wreck of a team thanks to a mental error from Chris Klute. Then this week we get beaten handily by a Will Johnson-less and Zakuani-less Portland Timbers side who aren't even in the playoffs. We're facing Pedro Morales, Mauro Rosales, Darren Mattocks, and Sebastion Fernandez on Wednesday in an elimination game. What I saw Saturday night and the week before worries me to no end, we can't slip into another slump going into the playoffs, this can't happen. We need to win on Wednesday, and the team that's gone out the last 2 weeks won't even come close to beating the Whitecaps. C'mon Pareja, fire the boys up!
Was the FCD attack just too easy to read, or did the nerves of facing an extremely determined opponent get to our players? Am I just too soccer-dumb to realize our long distance floated crosses into the box was part of a genius attacking plan? Who here feels confident with our deflated team hosting a red-hot Vancouver side on Wednesday? Was I too harsh? Let me know in the comments!