I will start by apologizing to everyone for getting their hopes up about the "electrifying" offense we now have. Could I have been any more wrong? I suppose it is hard to say our attack was not electrifying, as it was non-existent. Well... Let's get started.
For starters, Matt Hedges is by far the early candidate for FCD player of the season. He easily outshined all other players on the field as he only had one pass that was unsuccessful while making several tackles and interceptions.
The center back pair of Hedges and Stephen Keel worked much better than the Hedges and Moises Hernandez one that was on display against Montreal. It was clear that Keel had the experience Hernandez lacked and that was all we missed last week at Toyota Stadium.
Castillo's new position as a LW (Left Wing) is working much better than sticking him at LM (Left Mid.) Oscar Pareja has instructed Castillo to stay high up the pitch when the opposing team has the ball, so we can find him on the counter. Some will say this is bad, as we lose a defender, but the slack is picked up by none other than Blas Perez. He drops back on most plays and covers the extra attacker and this actually helps our defense and offense, as Perez is a stronger defender than Fabian and Fabian is much more efficient on the counter. The only down side is that we lose Blas on the hold up play, but we still saw this quite a few times when he did not drop back. This is much like the Helder Postiga and Cristiano Ronaldo relationship for the Portuguese National Team. Portugal relies on Cristiano on the counter, so Postiga (or whoever the striker is in that match) will drop back to do the covering to help the team as a whole.
Je-Vaughn Watson at right back actually went well. I cannot believe I am saying this and maybe I need to watch the game again (for a third time,) but it seems like he knows his role there and does the job admirably. It seems that Pareja does not trust Acosta later in the match (whether it's fitness related or strength and height in the box when they are sending in cross after cross) and it looks like until Zach Loyd is able to return we will be seeing Watson get about 25 minutes or so at the RB position. Let me know in the comments if I am crazy thinking this... I would not be that surprised.
Michel coming off the bench when we need a goal is fantastic. This is the role he needs to play in this squad and I'm ecstatic Pareja found the right role for him. What a service and what a header by Hedges!
What didn't work:
Although I just got done praising Watson's job at RB, I fail to see him as a week to week starter at RM for FCD. He definitely plays more defensively than Castillo, so I will give him a midfield label instead of the wing role. Watson does not tear down the flank like Castillo does and does not defend well enough while playing in the midfield to really become a threat of any kind. It will be nice to see Andres Escobar get the start eventually (which I do not expect for a couple more weeks.) Teams are able to recognize that all of our attacks will be down our left side with Fabian and Jair, therefore adding help to that side and shutting down our attack. We need another winger that will attack down the flank with the same threatening ability that Castillo shows week in week out. Also, Jair Benitez was very poor tracking back (he did not get a chance to go forward because of the large portion of possession KC had.) He seems to have fallen back into the 2012 form.
Andrew Jacobson and Adam Moffat as a duo in the holding midfield... Oh boy was this reminiscent of the last two seasons. Neither player had the ability to shut down KC's attack while constantly left gaps in the midfield that were exploited a number of times. With AJ playing alongside Moffat, Pareja had AJ take the more defensive role and that is just not in the realm of AJ's ability. If Hendry Thomas is not playing next weekend I would assume Peter Luccin replaces either player to find the better combination. That being said, I pray that Thomas is good to go against Chivas and he plays the whole 90 and I would not be surprised to see Moffat stay in the lineup as he did a better job linking the play (better pass percentage) than AJ had in either match.
FCD fans should hope the refs crack down on the opposing team targeting one player to foul whenever he gets on the ball. Although Mauro Diaz was only fouled 4 times, KC had a player man-handling him every time he got on the ball. It's tough to blame Peter Vermes after the time and space Montreal gave him last week and how well that went for them.
Chris Seitz's ability to read crosses is poor. He does fine shotstopping wise, as well as reading the game by organizing the defense and reacting well on 1v1s, but the times the ball is over his head and he has to come out for it... He can't seem to get his hands on it. Something needs to change here, or he might be moved to the bench when Raul is healthy. (Note: I think Seitz has done very well other than this; fix this and I don't see Raul getting the spot back anytime soon.)
Questions this match Created:
- Will Watson see time as a starter at RB when (and if) Escobar breaks into the starting XI?
- Will Keel and Hedges be a strong enough combo at CB for a large portion of the season if George John cannot get/stay healthy?
- Is Benitez going to lose his spot to Michel/Hernandez after two poor showings?
- Are you fine with FCD playing extremely defensive on the road to places like Sporting Park?
- Can Diaz play an important role when the opposing team is trying to shut him down by fouling him on every touch?