Regardless whether that red card was warranted or not on Blas Perez in the 59th minute against the Colorado Rapids last Friday evening, it didn't change the fact that that incident started a series of troubling moments for the Hoops. By the letter of the law a shove like that is a red card offense (malicious), it's just so rarely enforced that makes it weird to debate that and there's no clear camera replay to give us a better idea of what happened.
Going down to 10-men no doubt changed the entire way the game played and I know has sparked some to state that this team has a worrisome propensity to pick up the red cards and haven't learned from past mistakes. I am on the other side of that and I don't think there's any reason to sound the alarms, yet.
And as bad as the red was, most concerning and troubling was the elbow to Matt Hedges that mysteriously went uncalled and how dysfunctional this Dallas defense is without him. If Matt Hedges is up for the league MVP award by the end of the season, one just needs to point to how this team plays without him to make a clear case of his value to this side.
The Red Card
Dallas and Colorado were actually playing fairly evenly for the first 59 minutes. Dallas was obviously conceding possession to Colorado to make sure Dillon Powers and Dominique Badji from getting into positions that would stretch the Dallas defense. You can see very clearly just how the red to Blas changed the way the entire match played out:
Colorado went 228/289 passing in the first 59 minutes, 103/135 in attacking half prior to red.
After the red card, the Rapids went 195/244 passing and 133/170 passing in the attacking half for the remaining 31 minutes.
Actually Dallas was managing the situation very well and were able to keep the Rapids from taking a shot for 17 minutes before the floodgates opened. But once Hedges went down, it felt like it was only a matter of when Colorado would find a goal. Credit to Pablo Mastroeni to getting Vicente Sanchez in at the time he did as Sanchez pushed everything in Colorodo's favor at that point.
As bad was it was to lose Matt Hedges, there were some silver linings from this one. One of them being the Homegrown Player tandem of Victor Ulloa and Kellyn Acosta bossing the midfield like many of us had hoped to see. Prior to this season I said that Acosta's ceiling is higher at rightback, and while I still think that's true, his performance has caused me to doubt that.
Here's what the Homegrowns were able to do:
I am only showing their work from when the teams were playing 11 on 11 as it's a better indicator of their abilities. But that's a very respectable 51/61 passing and 1 key pass. The noticeable difference would be the lack of long balls from Acosta compared to what Michel offers. There are pros and cons to both as Acosta while Acosta helped keep possession better with shorter passes, he didn't offer a 'hero-ball' for Fabian Castillo or Blas Perez to chase down and stretch Colorado's defense. This might have been design though as the shorter passes creates more opportunities and space for Mauro Diaz to do Mauro Diaz things with the ball.
The bottom line is that this Acosta-Ulloa pairing is definitely something to watch for this season.
Return of Super Mauro
I'm going to keep this short. 1 goal, 24/27 passing, 1 through ball and 1 key pass. Perfect 15/15 passing in the first half by the way. It's fun to have a healthy Mauro Diaz do Mauro Diaz things with the ball.