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The SSJN: FC Dallas causes grievous Chivas

The Splendid, Substandard, and Just Nasty: Road Victory!

Castillo was a menace as the game went along.
Castillo was a menace as the game went along.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time in forever (Frozen sing-along), FC Dallas won a match on the road in regular-season play! Sure, it was not much of a road game. I think I saw more people at my cousin's graduation at the Allen Events Center, but I am not complaining. A win away from home is always good for this team's morale going into the playoffs. The last time this team won on the road in league play was (yep, you guessed it) was when they CRUSHED the Orange of Houston 4-1 in early April. A road victory usually means that the team all-in-all played well. That is certainly the case here with only one person receiving the daunted nod of nastiness.

The Splendid

Shut It Out

This defensive unit is finally starting to mesh together. This, of course, is a credit to Oscar Pareja and his willingness to move players around to fit the game plan he wants his team to execute against different opponents. Against Vancouver, he went with an overly defensive unit. It didn't pay off with three points, but the effort was there as a unit for sure. Against Chivas USA, there was truly one standout in the defensive third. For the second straight week, Zach Loyd stepped up to a man of the match-like performance. He has made the loss of George John AND Kellyn Acosta bearable this season. Who would have thought would have been the case before the season started? Raul Fernandez was steady in goal and Matty Hedges shut down Cubo Torres when called upon. For the most part, Je-Vaughn Watson held his ground on the right side of defense (again, Papi brilliance) and Mo Hernandez continues to be a revelation on the left side of defense with his recovery speed and perfectly-timed challenges. This defensive unit has the chance to be scary deep once Acosta and Jair are healthy. I like what I am seeing from the Hoops, responding well after a lackadaisical defensive start to the season.

The Substandard

More From Mauro

Mauro Diaz has been slowly returning to form since his meniscus injury that sidelined him for two and a half months. While we were all excited about his return to the starting fold, his appearances have been more or less..."meh". Let's face it. The Magician spoiled us at the beginning of the season, looking like a sure-fire MVP candidate before the tragic turn of events at RFK Stadium in April. It would be unfair for any of the FC Dallas faithful to be frustrated with Diaz (or Papi for not playing him). He still needs the time to get back into his groove and dominate from the field of play. The cool thing about Mauro's absence is that it allowed Fabian Castillo the opportunity to continue to blossom into the Columbian starlet we wish for him to become. The other awesome avenue of Diaz's play is that he has the ability to unlock defenses with one swift stroke of his right leg. His through balls at the end of matches have the potential to break teams down, especially if Fabian Castillo is the one on the other end of them. Give Mauro Diaz some time. Sure, he has not been the "Mauro of old" since he has returned from injury. He has been average at best, but the team is playing better as a unit. The fact that FCD is not overly dependent on Diaz like it was at the beginning of the season is enough to outweigh his slow-yet-steady return to the fold in the FC Dallas starting lineup.

The Just Nasty

Andres Escobar's First Half

What more can you say? Escobar was largely invisible in the first half of Sunday night's match. Some would argue that Andres Escobar is in fact none other than Fabian Castillo of two years ago. Others would say that his injury probably put a damper on his return to the lineup and that is why he was pulled at the halfway mark. Regardless, Escobar had a pretty rough half. Has he earned one rough half of play? Absolutely. He has come in to this team and overcome a lot in order to be the dynamic player he has grown to be over the last month or so. This is not so much a knock on Escobar so far this season. It is a knock on the fact that he was the only player on the field Sunday who I genuinely thought had a bad game.

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