It is April 13. I keep having to remind myself that we're not even two full months into this 2015 season with FC Dallas. That is also a reason why the last two weeks have been so hard to watch.
FC Dallas has given up seven goals in two games, four of them coming most recently in a home loss to the Colorado Rapids. That same Rapids team was also winless on the year (and since the summer of last year too) and hadn't scored since the end of last fall.
It isn't just the defense and the goalkeeping that have caused all of these goals to flood in all of a sudden either. For the large part, I'm still confident that this group in goal either be Dan Kennedy or Chris Seitz along with what should be the weekly group on the back line of Je-Vaughn Watson, Moises Hernandez, Zach Loyd and Matt Hedges are capable of getting the job done and carrying this team for the large part of this season.
More and more I am concerned with an area that I am afraid I was too naive to believe would be a problem area for FCD in 2015, the center of the midfield.
For some reason in preseason I was more fixated on the wings, both in the midfield and in the back. Those areas are fine for the most part, even if you want to place some blame on some of the recent goals for how those players have played on the wings is fine. No, it is the center that is the big underlying problem.
I also think that this isn't totally a lack-of-Mauro Diaz problem either. We know the team can win without Diaz and that part of this equation doesn't really concern me right now. I'm totally fixated on fixing the two-man midfield as it has stood these last couple of weeks.
So what can Oscar Pareja do here? Well, there are a few things that can be considered.
Finally move Acosta
The one move a lot of us have been patiently waiting on is seeing Kellyn Acosta move into the midfield for good. We saw some brief glimpses of this late last year but it may be time for Pareja to fully commit to this change. Acosta as we all know has the range and mobility to be a solid center midfielder. His defensive work is strong, his passing is improving with each game and when he doesn't make boneheaded mistakes like he did against Seattle, we generally are very pleased with what we get out of him.
This move makes a little more sense to me right now, given how early in the season FCD is. We know moving a guy around takes some time for acclimation purposes and chemistry reasons. This is a move that needs time to mature if it is the best option that I think it is.
Dump Michel for Bekker
Michel has been largely out of his game this season. Sure he has an assist and has had some decent set pieces to discuss but for the most part he is the weakest link on the field right now for FC Dallas. It doesn't matter if they are in a 4-4-2 or a 4-2-3-1.
Michel is turning more into a liability than a luxury.
Bekker isn't great by any stretch either here. I linked to a slew of GIFs that were put together from Friday's game in my "What we learned" post on Bekker's performance in the second half. Lets just say, it wasn't pretty. Missed passes, failed attempts at helping his teammates out, one horrible pass in the penalty box on a rebound that should have been a one-time shot. Yeah, it wasn't pretty.
But the thing with Bekker is he at least brings some mobility to the midfield that Michel does not. He may also allow Victor Ulloa to get back to doing what he does best, by just being the stop gap in the midfield that he is better suited for than being a facilitator.
Maybe try someone else?
Maybe we're coming at this from the wrong angle too. Maybe a guy like Ryan Hollingshead could be suited for this type of change in the middle of the park. His work rate is good enough to be a temporary solution in my book. That would also free up some room for Michael Barrios to get more time on the field as well.
Finally use that roster space
I know many of you have asked me, when will FCD fill their remaining roster spots? That truly is a guess any of us can make right now but no one truly knows. I honestly don't believe Pareja and technical director Fernando Clavijo know right now. For those keeping score at home, FCD's roster currently has 25 players on it which is also three short of the league maximum.
The time is running out on filling that void with someone before the MLS spring window closes. All we can really do is hope that FCD is able to find someone, anyone in the summer window that can come in and make an immediate impact in this area. My gut tells me right now that FCD is still a Kyle Beckerman or Jermaine Jones type player away from being a true contender for silverware in this league. All we can do is wait and see if Clavijo and Pareja can deliver that kind of player.
What would you do right now to fix the midfield situation?