Congratulations to last week's Workhorse of the Week against the Portland Timbers in leg one - NO ONE. That's right, a paltry number of votes were cast after FC Dallas' poor performance at Portland. Jesse Gonzalez came in second for his career high six saves, but he likely didn't get any more votes because some of us felt he could have done a little more.
Well, that was fun while it lasted.
I've made my case in comments of other articles already - FC Dallas getting to the Western Conference Finals this year was icing on the cake. There were moments in the season when such a feat seemed impossible. Remember Mauro's extended mysterious absences? Remember the revolving door at left back? Remember when Kellyn was hurt? Remember how Oscar Pareja decided to start a 20-something GK in goal the rest of the way? Good times.
After the first leg, FC Dallas had a mountain to climb. It certainly wasn't impossible, but all the pressure was on them with little room for error. Had they not allowed that third soul-crushing goal against Portland, things could have been a lot different. For a few moments yesterday, that mountain's peak looked more like a hill when Ryan drifted in a lazy goal and Blas headed home another, but all Portland had to do was take advantage of a couple of defending miscues to seal the deal. And they did.
This leg, like the first, had plenty of disappointing performances.
Victor Ulloa didn't look the same after his potential concussion in the first leg. He lacked bite. He seemed a step slow. He just wasn't there when the team needed a great defensive play. I wonder if Pareja is second guessing not giving Cirigliano a look at some point in this series. His athleticism might have been a nice counter balance to Diego Chara.
Zach Loyd completely melted down in the first leg, so I wonder what it means to him that Oscar didn't get him on the field in the second. Maybe there was some sort of nagging injury that hampered him. Maybe he lost some confidence, but we will wonder what might have been if he had stepped up in game one.
Michael Barrios disappointed a bit in this series. He never found his first touch and was too easy to defend.
Fabian Castillo didn't have a series to remember either. He looked gassed and frustrated and often got little help from his teammates when he did get the ball in a dangerous area.
David Texeira netted a nice goal in the first leg but couldn't get it done in the second. All eyes were on him to see if he was going to finally emerge as a legitimate option for FCD in the future, but I think that door has closed. I doubt we see him back, unless he's willing to take a hefty pay cut.
We'll have lots of time in the weeks to come to unpack the Western Conference Finals and figure out what might be in store for next season. In the meanwhile, we can still be excited about this team, about its youth, and about the potential for this team to grow.
Go ahead and cast your last Workhorse of the Week vote below.
This Week's Strong Recommendations
For braving cold, nasty weather and long security lines, kudos to you.
He brought a fight and energy to FC Dallas that we haven't had from him or others in a while. Great appearance and maybe enough to get him back as a player/coach next season.
His defending was suspect at times, but he got forward far better than he has in any game I've seen, getting a gorgeous goal that spurred FCD back into it. This is a missing piece - if he can become more of a threat at left back, teams will find it harder to defend both him and Fabian.
Kellyn has really been the workhorse for this team throughout the season, despite injuries and international call ups. He put in another 90 minutes of hard work, being physical, aggressive, and relentless. His work seemed a stark contrast to Ulloa. Another good game.