All things considered, FC Dallas should be pretty proud about the way things are going so far this season. A 3-0-1 record, best in the league through four games. Sure, Saturday night's result in a 0-0 draw with the Seattle Sounders was a disappointment to some, but it could have easily gone a lot worse.
The obvious line from this one was that both sides were missing their big guns in this one. Seattle lacked Clint Dempsey and Osvaldo Alonso due to injuries, Obafemi Martins was a late scratch (hence the reason why Seattle only had six on their bench instead of the usual seven), and Marco Pappa was out on international duty. Dallas as we all know was hammered with international callups of their own.
So this game really was about depth vs depth. A 0-0 draw really isn't that shocking when you re-watch it.
The defense continues to improve
One thing I don't think FCD is getting enough credit for this season is the defense. Yes, we know Atiba Harris has been a total work-in-progress at right back but Saturday night may have been his best game yet at the position. Zach Loyd and Matt Hedges continue to do stellar jobs at containing teams in the attack and more importantly, they limit what teams are able to do on goal.
Seattle had a few chances in this one to put the game away being up a man for as long as they were. I do think that had Martins or Dempsey been out there, this game would have likely looked a lot different. But we may never truly know how it would have looked.
It was also good to see Ryan Hollingshead drop back as much as he did in the first half following the red card to Kellyn Acosta. The work-rate that this kid has continues to be fun to watch.
Victor Ulloa also may have had his best game this season out there. The fight, the hustle, the energy he brought for the 90 minutes on Saturday was something else for a young player like him. I continue to be blown away by his ability on and off the ball. His game isn't anything that typically shows up in the stat sheet but to me that is the definition of a guy in his midfield position. Do the dirty work, keep the pressure off the back four and find ways to move the ball forward. He did all three against Seattle.
Let's be real honest for a moment, both teams stunk up the place offensively on Saturday. The fact that neither registered a single shot on goal is...well...sad but kind of impressive at the same time considering the amount of talent on both sides. But not a single one on frame. Not one.
Seattle didn't even have a single shot at all at halftime.
But I digress.
FCD struggled to really stretch the field in the manner that they like to do on Saturday because of the red. Oscar Pareja commented on how David Texeira dropped back more in the midfield to allow Fabian Castillo to move up in the 4-4-1 that they were using after Acosta's early exit. This was a wise move really when you look at it again. Castillo's speed was there to stretch the Sounders and at times he did just that.
We thought that Texeira was hidden in this game once the red card happened and at times he was, but a closer look and he did get some touches on the ball to help pull the Sounders' defense out a bit to give Castillo room to run. Again, this isn't stuff that shows up in a stat sheet but it is worth mentioning considering how down everyone and their mother was on Tex Saturday night (myself included).
A thought or two on Diaz
We had in the morning links today a article about what FCD is doing with Mauro Diaz. The more I sit and think about this the more I think FCD and Pareja probably did the wise thing in holding Diaz out of this one. If he was tight like Pareja said following the game in Philadelphia and that he didn't fully train with the club all week, then not dressing him made total sense.
After all, Diaz is technically the club's franchise player. They've seen before in that pushing him too much can lead to more injuries. If holding him out of a game here and there keeps him healthy for the long haul, then you do this. Sure the attack could have used him on Saturday but if you keep him fresh for another week as the team hits the road again, then I'm all for that.
Very nice crowd. The lines were super long getting into the stadium but it did lead to a really good crowd on Saturday. The weather was spectacular as well.
Blanco a no-show. The club kept hyping up the scarfer for the week but Blanco didn't show according to the club. Which made for an awkward last minute change in who scarfed the Lamar Hunt statue.
The red card. I didn't touch on it much above but I still hold firm that the call was right, even if the ref made it weird by letting play go on for a minute before issuing Acosta the early bath.