All things considered, a scoreless draw was about the right call yesterday for FC Dallas and the Columbus Crew. The game was postponed a day due to lightning in the area on Saturday night that actually struck one fan in the parking lot at Crew Stadium.
Yes, you read that correctly. Thankfully that fan was not killed and is recovering from the tragic event.
But what can we take away from yesterday's game as a whole? To be fair, not a ton. The weather was hot and humid, like Houston humid from what I was told. A lot of the players that played also went 120 minutes earlier in the week in Houston in the US Open Cup. So needless to say, there were some tired legs.
The attack fizzled
No Fabian Castillo. No Blas Perez. What else might we expect out of a FCD attack that was leaning heavily on a rookie forward and two newcomers to the league that haven't exactly lit anything on fire here this season (talking Andres Escobar and David Texeira for those curious).
Not to pull any excuses here but Akindele looked gassed the more the game wore on and probably should have been subbed after his second bad miss in front of the goal. Texeria didn't provide a ton in his short time on the field either but he did at least get one header on goal that was close to going in.
Escobar had his moments in this one but never really looked all that dangerous. The midfield did the dirty work in this one though. Michel being back on the field was a nice spark but he didn't exactly look fit enough to go 90 minutes in this one either. Hopefully by Friday he will be ready to go the distance against a Philadelphia team that struggles on set pieces.
Not having that extra speed on the wings with Castillo hurt though. Columbus was a team that Castillo could have ran circles on and done well with his ability to cut inside and drive down the middle of the field like we've seen him do in recent weeks.
Defensively good, emotionally improved
Columbus held the possession in this game, causing a lot of issues on the left side of the field with Hector Jimenez. Any better team in the league would have scored some of the chances that they had on the afternoon. Jair Benitez showed me yet again why Oscar Pareja is starting to heavily lean on Moises Hernandez in the starting role at left back. The veteran defender just doesn't have the wheels to deal with some of the speed in this league anymore.
Overall the defense was calm and cool with Matt Hedges returning to the lineup. It looks like his hamstring isn't bothering him that much and the fact that he battled through some humid heat on Sunday proves that he is ready to go the distance in each match yet again.
The big point though in this game wasn't just the improved defense side but the fact that FCD didn't give up a bunch of silly fouls or cards. No red cards is sadly an massive improvement for this bunch and if anything, these suspensions that mounted up for the club for this game are a nice lesson of how they need to improve drastically in that department.
I've had some good discussions with some fans as of late surrounding the red card issues with this club. My main argument is that this team is good enough to go deep in the playoffs when healthy. But more importantly they are good enough to go deep in the playoffs when they aren't dealing with red cards. You can't expect much out of this team if they continue to get red cards.
Thankfully yesterday was a day that they didn't struggle with the discipline. Nine fouls from FCD on the game is actually pretty good for a road team but seeing absolutely no cards given up is even better.
Quality end to the month
While May was horrible and can easily be erased from all of our memories. June is a month we can look back at as a whole and be very happy about. Sure it was only five points from the three games but the fact that the club took two draws on the road in Portland (with that crowd) and Columbus (only one win in 18 visits to Crew Stadium).
I'll take it.
Sure, there was some disappointment along the way with the Portland game. I'll leave that alone for now. But advancing to the quarterfinals in the USOC and seeing how well Castillo and other players have been playing in that tournament gives me plenty of hope that this team is indeed on the rebound.
I also look at the standings in the Western Conference right now. Both Vancouver, Salt Lake and Colorado are all having their moments right now and Portland losing this week helped in a big way too. The only team I am concerned about catching up to us in the standings in LA. The games played difference will soon balance out but seeing that they have five games in hand on FCD at the moment is a little rough. But hey, the goal is still finish in the top three, that is doable right now.