This was not the way anyone had hoped FC Dallas would head into the playoffs, but Dallas is in the post season and this team will need a short memory of their abysmal performance on Saturday if they hope to advance to the next round of the playoffs. It's not ideal to have such a quick turnaround of matches on such short notice, but that may work in Dallas' favor as players love nothing more than to get back out there and erase their last game from their memory. So let's dive in and see what all went wrong and what actually was positive from that match against Portland.
I like this kid but not as a left back. It's great that he has the versatility to play both fullback positions but it's clear his talents lie on the right side. This is not to say he did poorly but it's like driving a Corvette in the right lane of the highway. It's fine. It's smooth. No problems and you're going at a clean 60mph. However, we all know that the Corvette's engine is wasted at that speed and that's how I feel about Acosta at LB. Acosta is at his best when he's running at full speed, up and down the right flank. Maybe it was by design, but Acosta didn't bomb forward much against Portland as you'll see below:
Aside from a couple of throw ins, he didn't get up that left side very much and a player of his attacking talents should be higher up the pitch a lot more. I will admit that part of it may have been by design as Fabian Castillo had the left wing and there's no point crowding the left side with more bodies. (More Space = Better Castillo.) The other thought may have been to use Acosta to help contain Darlington Nagbe. Speaking of Nagbe...
I tweeted this yesterday morning when I was doing some research for this post:
In case you're wondering, I did not filter any of Nagbe's passes. He was perfect. 48 for 48 passing for the night. It's one thing for a defensive mid or a centerback to be perfect with horizontal passes, it's an entirely different game when an attacking player does most of this inside the attack half. It is quite astonishing and ridiculous that anyone could pull off something like this. And this does not bode well for Acosta who covered his side for most of the evening.
Funny enough, Adam Moffat would have been more effective for this one than Michel. Against the likes of Nagbe, Diego Chara and Diego Valeri, more bite and athleticism would've served Dallas well as Michel's defensive range is more limited than Moffat's.
These are all of Michel's defensive events which indicated that he sat deeper between him and Victor Ulloa, and served as a shield to the back four. Unfortunately it wasn't very good and Nagbe's game winner had him waltz in without confrontation until the very end from Zach Loyd. (Pro Tip: Never let the team's attacking player go one on one against your teams' centerback.)
Michel does bring a wicked left foot which produces goals. Unfortunately for Dallas, his left foot was as good as his right last weekend and it resulted in this:
19/34 passing in the attacking half. Several of which services that didn't even make it past the first defender. Just a bad day all around. If the guy is out there to do one thing and he's unable to do that single thing, should take him off quickly.
Coy Craft. About the only good thing to come from the match was seeing Coy Craft's debut and actually seeing how he actually wanted to play. As evidence by this simple hustle play to chase Chara down:
It's nothing out of the ordinary other than he seemed to be the only player to actually sprint defensively. It was simple, but it made Chara turn back and at that point, anything remotely positive was good for the team.
Then there's also his quick recognition of game situations as evidenced by this run into the box:
Good for Craft to recognize that Akindele was pulled wide, so that he needed to occupy that center spot. It's a thankless run as he ran into space where defenders were, but by doing so it allowed Akindele to be isolated one on one. Smart play from a 17 year old, just disappointing nothing came from it.
Not sure why I liked this screen shot so much. There's just something really fun to see when a 17 year old debutant is calling for the ball for like that Shows a lot of confidence from the young man. And although I'm sure he would want that stepover back and take his shot quicker next time, it was still good to see more HGPs come out of the Academy.