What can we say, losing really sucks. Even when FC Dallas deserves to lose, it still really sucks to see. But we should also be honest with ourselves in the fact that this team was never going to remain unbeaten for the entire season either - not that anyone was thinking that was possible. Still, the 3-1 loss to the Portland Timbers stings no matter which way you look at it.
Part of it was playing on turf, that really nasty crap that they have up in the Pacific Northwest. Part of it was players being out of position or just not used to their role.
I look at the first Portland goal that Nat Borchers scored. Why on earth was Atiba Harris marking Borchers in the first place? Borchers is a tower, he has a good six or so inches over Harris in height and not to mention the physical aspect of Borchers game. I won't even go into that beard, damn that thing is something else. Still, Harris has no business marking a guy like Borchers. Someone like Walker Zimmerman has to fill in there, or even a guy like Tesho Akindele or David Texeira. You have to match height and physical play in the box on set pieces, and FCD didn't do that.
But the blunders weren't just on the first goal alone but on the other two as well. Harris was like a fish out of water on the night, which could have been partly due to the turf causing him issues (I noticed a couple miss steps on his part). Zimmerman also struggled on the night to deal with Fernando Adi and Max Urriti. His lack of pace is a certain concern to see out of a central defender, which is why having Zach Loyd in the middle with Matt Hedges makes so much sense anymore. A game like this showed that.
Its a style that teams can defend
Dallas did have their moments in this one in the attack. Portland to their credit has a solid defense these days but one that still leaks in a lot of easy chances. But here is the one thing that teams can pick up on FCD in a hurry this season if they are smart; if teams limit the amount of fouls in the final third of the field against FCD, they will stand a good chance at keeping them from getting chances on goal.
It really is that simple right now. FCD is a team that plays for set pieces and second chances in the attack, especially when they are on the road. They look for counter attacks and pick their moments in the game for when to strike. The press-heavy type defense that this team could have from top to bottom is really a sit back and defend type.
Part of that is how the club's two central midfielders sit. Michel doesn't really give FCD a range on the field other than his set pieces. When those are off on a night, the club's chances decrease in a hurry like we saw against Seattle the week before. Victor Ulloa, as good as he has been for us this season, is still limited in how he possesses the ball in the attack. Ulloa struggles at times when it comes to longer possessions in the attack. He sits further back in front of his defense in the game for one, which shows when the team is transitioning into the attack.
This was also a game that showed FCD needs Blas Perez out there to help hold up the play in the final third. Texeira just isn't the man to do that for FCD in the way that Perez does. I could dive more in to how the club also misses Mauro Diaz out there but I think we could safely assume that we knew that would be the case.
Excuse me, can I have a tissue?
Okay, the whole TissueGate thing is rather amusing. I can see where Caleb Porter had issue with the tissue from Oscar Pareja and felt disrespected in the process. Portland fans are going to hate it and follow their coach on the disrespect bandwagon and that is all good and fine. Dallas fans hopefully will take this up and run with it in some creative way.
I do think that this kind of thing does reflect on the club and why this team has discipline issues on the field as well. We know the club takes after the coach in the way they play and it shows now that they also take up in the way he acts too.
Fake grass. More and more I really hate games on the west coast that feature the fake turf. I get we're never going to truly get away from that with the three clubs in the Northwest but boy does it ever change how the game is actually played against those teams.
No road blues? I know Portland is a green jersey team at home but how come FCD didn't don their new road kits for the first time? That felt like an opportunity lost.
Second goal from Portland. I've watch that sucker a few times, Urriti was offside. Hopefully Simon Borg agrees in his Instant Replay of the weekend.