FC Dallas closes out the month of September with a big win last night over the Seattle Sounders 3-1. While the scoreline was great there was plenty to take away from this game, both in the good and the bad.
More Pareja genius
When the lineups were revealed there was a lot of talk on Twitter about how weak FCD looked compared to Seattle. It was hard to argue that going against the likes of Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins, Osvaldo Alonso, Marco Pappa, Brad Evans, Chad Marshall and DeAndre Yedlin is never an easy task.
But that is why games are not played on paper. Oscar Pareja trotted out with a lineup that made some folks heads hurt yet again with David Texeira getting his first start since April. Yes, since April. There were some bumps and injuries along the way that kept him from not being in the lineup as much but that is a fairly long time for a player to go between starts. Then there was having Jair Benitez in the midfield above Moises Hernandez in the defense.
By all accounts it worked.
When asked last night if Pareja had a hunch as to whether or not Texeira would perform the way he did last night, he just smiled and said that the young DP made him look like a genius.
A genius indeed.
DPs making it count
I'll be the first to admit, I haven't been fond of Texeira or Andres Escobar this season. We've only seen so many little burst of good out of the two to think that their nearly combined million dollar contracts just aren't worth it. But last night may have swayed me a good bit back towards understanding why Pareja wanted these two players in Frisco in the first place.
For one, like we've discussed in the past Escobar used to play in Colombia with Fabian Castillo. Pareja commented last night that at times when scouting the two that some folks actually viewed Escobar as the speeder of the two. While Castillo was out last night, Escobar picked up the pace and made sure the speed from the outside didn't miss a beat.
Escobar pretty much dominated the Sounder defense with his pace but with his passing, something that hasn't been on display nearly as much as we would like to see out of him. The times that he doesn't try to do too much are usually the times that he is seeing good things happen.
On the other end of this was Texeira. A lot of the players commented last night on how hard he works and how it was great to see that hard work finally pay off for him.
Texeira fed off Blas Perez well on the night and didn't try to complicate things all that much either in the attack, similar to what Tesho Akindele does up front too. In some ways we saw that Perez helped make Texeira look good by forcing the Sounder defense away from him, giving Texeira the space he needed in the box to be dangerous.
But the most important aspect to see out of Texeira last night was his finishing. Young players like him need minutes to boost confidence and help with scoring but with his minutes limited this season, we hardly got to see him get momentum in the finishing department. This game hopefully does enough to keep him going for the rest of the season.
But about those turnovers...
I'm not going give out all the numbers but man there were times when things just looked bad in the midfield last night. Both Michel and Victor Ulloa looked a tad out of their elements. Je-Vaughn Watson, while good in moments, gave up a ton of bad passes out of the back. Same goes to Benitez and Escobar at times too.
Part of this has to do with who Seattle has in their midfield (Alonso) and the work rate of their guys up front.
Still, good teams will find ways to pick apart this FCD team is the guys aren't more careful on the ball and in possession. Thankfully outside of maybe one or two chances last night, Seattle really didn't have a ton of good chances on goal to really test Raul Fernandez. That is because of how well Zach Loyd and Matt Hedges played in the middle of the field keeping their forwards at bay.
We're inching closer to the playoffs though folks. If things go well this weekend, FCD could be just a mere point or two from a berth by the time they play Vancouver next weekend.