People, myself included, were wondering just how the aging legs of Blas Perez would hold up in 2015 for FC Dallas. He was never a player that relied on pace, but his physical style of play had to be taking a toll at this point and thank goodness, none of us know anything and Perez is having the last laugh as he is now tied with Clint Dempsey (at the time of this writing) with the league lead in goals scored with three thanks to his brace last night against Sporting Kansas City.
Where Perez Goes, His Team Goes
We covered this here earlier this week, and sure enough Blas Perez had another 3 shots on goal last night. That effectively puts FC Dallas at 4-1-2 all time whenever Blas Perez puts at least three shots on target. And it also puts Blas Perez third in the all time FC Dallas goal scoring list (behind Kenny Cooper's 46 and Jason Kreis' 91). This isn't all too surprisingly as Perez isn't a volume shooter by nature. What I mean by that is Perez really only pulls the trigger when he's in a high percentage goal scoring position and for him to be in those spots means he's working the defense and his teammates are getting him quality service as evidence by the shots below.
And ultimately that means Dallas is playing well overall, which brings me to my next point.
Is Dallas a Counter Attacking Team?
Just look at the stats:
Just not even close. Then there's the passing, where SKC outpassed FCD 391 by 260. And then take a look at Diaz's chalkboard:
That's a pretty pedestrian 15/20 passing for 69 minutes of work from your attacking midfielder. Credit to SKC for limiting his touches but the lack of overall involvement in the game, let alone Diaz's ability to influence the game was certainly very disappointing.
Now think back to how the goals were crafted by Dallas last night, none of which were a result of an articulately crafted build up. They were classic counters and set piece opportunities that the team capitalized on. Just take a look at the final goal:
Three players. Five touches. One beautifully executed counter.
What was Kansas Doing?
As most of you probably noticed, Atiba Harris' name wasn't really called on last night. For whatever reason, especially in the first half SKC opted to go down Dallas' left side and Moises Hernandez than after Harris.
Here are SKC's passing in Dallas' half in the first 45 minutes:
Which as you can see, they rarely ventured over to Harris' side. Now, for anyone who watched last Saturday's game, Harris was pretty shaky with his positioning and defensive instincts and would have loved to exploit that side. Things changed slightly in the second half, but SKC opted a more central route of Matt Hedges and Zach Loyd, which at this point is pretty futile.
The only thing that I can think of was that Peter Vermes wanted to try to keep Fabian Castillo pinned back by trying to bait him to committing to his defensive duties. Amadou Dia's heat map did show him joining the attack more but outside of that one magnificent run in the 6th minute, he didn't get deep enough to force Castillo to help Hernandez. It was an interesting gambit, but I won't hold my breath that Philadelphia would be so generous.