It's a consensus that we just want to forget last Friday. That's easily the least fun I've ever had at an FC Dallas game and I know the players feel the same way. With that in mind, let's look to Saturday night against Toronto FC and what there is to watch for. I also want to expand this post's reach, so I'm going to add a few things to watch for throughout the league and American soccer scene.
Injured Injury Report
At this point, we're all used to the horrible inaccuracies that are MLS Injury Reports. They're almost never up-to-date, they usually vaguely list an injury like "leg" or "shoulder" when we all know there are more than one way to injury a body part and there isn't strong protocol on how teams list the likelihood that players will be fit. Because of this, no one really knows who's actually going to be healthy this weekend. We know Matt Hedges will be back as he was fit to play last week but was kept out as a precaution. Oscar Pareja said Wednesday morning that Mauro Diaz is "available" but at this point I'm wary to believe he's ever actually healthy anymore. All that being said, if they both do end up going, look for this team to return to the form it had back in March. Oh, how I miss March.
So far this season, the MLS is experiencing a bit of a goalscoring drought. MLS games so far this year are only averaging 2.09 goals per game, while last year's mark was 2.93. FC Dallas knows this pain all too well, only scoring one goal in their last three games, including being held scoreless in their last two home games. While goals do not necessarily equal excitement, they certainly aren't the worst thing to have in a soccer game. I'm looking to see a few more balls end up in the net this week and hopefully FC Dallas can help that cause -- Blas Perez is due.
Let's Take a Breath
I know it's always popular to begin to speculate and even freak out when a team starts playing poorly -- let alone being walloped by the worst team in the league -- but I really don't think this is cause for concern. What I do think it shows is that we have a very intricate back line situation. It's obvious that the pairing of Hedges and Loyd holds the team together and that they can constantly bail out the left and right backs should they make mistakes. Going forward, this team will be okay. The team really struggled to make the final pass last weekend, but, the opportunities were there as much as any other game this year and that's where Mauro Diaz makes a difference as he has the right touch and vision to get those passes in.
So if we can all maintain our cool, we'll be able to see that this team is still made up of hard-working players who understand soccer and have a hunger to win. We'll also remember that we have a coach that has faith in each of his players and his players have faith in him. I don't know how many of you were pressing the panic button last weekend, but I do know that it was pressed entirely too early. Just breathe -- and DTID.