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FC Dallas vs Colorado Rapids: What we learned

From getting Mauro Diaz back on the field to dominating the counter attack, FC Dallas earned three more big points on Saturday.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Taking away the scoreline from Saturday's game you wouldn't think it would be possible for FC Dallas to win in the manner that they did over the Colorado Rapids. They were outshot by a wide margin and out possessed by a good amount but in the end, the scoreboard mattered and FCD got the big three points in what most were calling a 'six-pointer'.

Changing of the guard

It was pretty telling that Oscar Pareja and FC Dallas were content on how things went on Saturday. Sure, players all said afterwords that the first half didn't go nearly as planned after the two goals were scored. The foot was taken off the gas pedal and Colorado really controlled the remainder of that half.

But it is funny to hear Pareja speak about how he is evolving as a coach and how his team continues to change with each passing game but in a positive way.

Today they came up sharp with two goals in the first half, but after that we gave the ball away and too much territory to Colorado. I was a bit uncomfortable, but it seems like we're learning to be comfortable with that level of pressure and counterattack. We're all evolving.

All evolving indeed.

The real evolving may have centered around getting the minutes out of Mauro Diaz that we saw. Sure, it wasn't his best outing but as Pareja said it was absolutely key to get him back on the field.

Today was a big hurdle for him because I was bringing him from the bench and he's doing progressively well. Today he needed to give me at least 60 minutes from the start. Finding the game from the beginning, trying to find the rhythm and I thought that mission was accomplished with him.

I haven't looked at those stats but when he was active it caused Colorado to buckle a bit. I also noticed when he was active on the field, it opened up room for Michel to do his thing...which we know how that went on Saturday with him having a hand in all three goals.

More shuffling in the back

You also saw Pareja mix things up on Saturday with Tuesday in mind. But he also had to mix things up due to a freak kind of injury that Moises Hernandez picked up in the middle of last week at home (he'll be back in a couple weeks unfortunately).

So Pareja went with Walker Zimmerman and Matt Hedges in the middle of the defense instead of using Stephen Keel and Hedges. This was all designed to slow down Deshorn Brown. At times we saw that it did as Zimmerman did an excellent job of shadowing the speedy forward. I liked this game plan a lot considering the week before we had Zach Loyd covering Erick Torres. If anything it shows that Hedges doesn't have to be the guy marking the best attacker, which I would actually prefer.

Having Loyd at left back was a bit of a change but it was one that worked out because he could force Vicente Sanchez into the middle and cut him off with his dominant right foot. That was something Pareja did by design as well, which worked very nicely.

I know some of you are probably annoyed with me saying this but the more I see Je-Vaughn Watson play at full back the more I believe that is his best position moving forward. Yes, I know he caused the penalty on Gabby Torres. It was late in the game and bonehead plays are Watson's thing at times but overall, he was solid in the back on Saturday. Once he and Andres Escobar get a better understanding of one another on the field, the better it will be.

On to Tuesday

Despite the lack of possession and shots, things really did go as planned for FCD on Saturday with Tuesday in mind. Pareja alluded to it in how he was able to get some rest for Blas Perez on the night and also pulling off Fabian Castillo and Tesho Akindele proved to be a sign that Tuesday was in the back of his head on Saturday as well.

This is all good with the game being at home tomorrow night too. The Philadelphia Union come into town and everything seems to be lining up for FCD on the night. The Union used nearly a full strength lineup on Saturday against Montreal, minus Amobi Okugo. Sebastian Le Toux scored two this weekend but it was against the Impact. So grain of salt, am I right?

As much as I was concerned with what Pareja would do for Tuesday's lineup, that was pretty much put to rest with the lineup and subs that he used on Saturday. Tomorrow will still be interesting but there USOC is really FCD's to lose right now.