Heading to the stadium I was feeling a bit 'middle of the road'. My prediction was a 1-1 draw and unfortunately it was on point. It was a really nice night out in Frisco, sun was going down so we didn't get sunburned this time, and the sun lowered and was gone after the first 15 minutes or so for us Eastenders which meant no sun in our eyes. I'm not sure what our stands looked like from the other sections but when I looked back I saw our sections pretty packed in the more central-sections where I sat. A great day to watch FCD try and bounce back from a 4 game losing streak against a team that hit Pareja's old team last weekend.
The main topic from the guys I chatted with before the game was the new DBG rule applied and the consequences that could be possible. The sentiment I got from the conversations were pretty much the same I've been seeing from all over the social-media sphere. They couldn't believe the sudden U-turn in policy from the FO and really think it's a shame that it's happening. The guys in the East stand feel for y'all Beer Guardians, I even joked to the guy next to me "woah be careful with that!" pointing at his beer.
Castillo Was An Eyesore
At least for 89 minutes and 59 seconds. Yes, I was there, he indeed got the last touch of the ball before it went into the back of the net for our only goal, that's true. And he also somehow got voted, by us the fans, as the man of the match (I had Je-vaugh due to his tireless running, winning the ball numerous times, and nice combinations with other players). But the only touch from Fabian Castillo that I smiled about when he wasn't schooling defenders was the one for his goal. I've been a defender of Castillo for a good while now, and really thought that with Pareja he'd grow into the threat everyone has been touting him as. But this game seemed like classic Castillo again, get the ball, run down the wing, beat a defender or two, then do something inexplicable with the ball to finish it all with. FC Dallas is paying this guy to run around quite literally. Possession after possession was wasted by the Colombia DP and it got to a point where I really hoped he wasn't going to get the ball next. In our first couple of games the fans and even the kids kept shouting and yelling "give it to Castillo!". I didn't hear that once this game. Again, I realize he scored the goal and that he has the ability to beat defenders which is entertaining to watch, but he was the most wasteful player in blue & white. From what I witnessed at least, more wasteful than Adam Moffat even.
Pareja's tactics were interesting this game to say the least. The one line-up move that I enjoyed was the Michel + Benitez tandem lined up on the left side of the pitch. Mauro Rosales is the play-maker, arguably the best player on the Chivas USA team, and he lines up on the right side of the pitch. What better way to contain the play-maker and limit his time on the ball than lining up 2 left backs there to close him down the second he got a touch? Benitez hasn't done well defensively but has shown he could deliver a ball or 2 into the box in the past so the move to push him up to midfield was an interesting decision by coach Pareja and in my opinion it paid off until Rosales' assist on the goal when he unfortunately found that little bit of space to play it in to a waiting "Cubo" Torres.
Castillo up top with no real attacking midfielder was also an interesting choice that I think didn't work that well in my humble opinion. The midfield was made of 3 defensive minded players, although I liked Benitez at left mid that's still your left mid, 2 CMs, all defensive minded. Not surprising that we didn't get too many looks at goal with that starting XI. Several times I'd head in the stands "what are they doing?!" And it seemed like the game would devolve into 'hoofball' for long stretches of the game. Personally, I was tired of the flick-ons we kept playing in. I can't tell you how many times the ball was played from midfield to Blas, he first time flicks it on to whoever is running off it, and it was repetitive and started becoming very predictable.
Since David Texeria nodded into an empty net against the Seattle Sounders on that depressing night April 12th, FC Dallas has only scored in the run of play once and that was the opening goal in a 4-1 thrashing to DC United. That's 6 games, one goal from open play. I heard the comment in the stands "they've forgotten how to score!", and after the game I couldn't stop playing those words on and on in my head. They have some truth in them unfortunately, we need our shooting boots back.
Castillo: hopeless or hero? Were Pareja's tactics ambitious enough, or did he do what he could? Were the new DBG rules a topic of discussion in your section? Looking forward to seeing y'all's comments, positive or negative!