FC Dallas traveled to the Pacific Northwest to take on the Portland Timbers in a match that had the word, "STRUGGLE" written all over it. Portland played like a motivated team needing a victory to kick-start their season. This match was U.G.L.Y with a combined 30 fouls from both teams. It was not the attacking flowing match I was hoping to see, turning into a hack-fest by both teams in an attempt to control the ball. By being physical, the Timbers pushed FC Dallas out of their comfort zone and the scoreline reflected it with a 3-1 victory for Timber Joey and his Army of Timbers.
Finally, a set piece goal and a game in which FC Dallas looked dangerous on set pieces throughout.
That is pretty much it, though. Other than that, I cannot thing of a single player who had a phenomenal match on Saturday. Yikes.
Defending was shaky all night as the back line struggled to find its groove against a relentless Timber attack. On paper, the back line was strong. Atiba did not have a terrible game (though he did pick up another booking). Hedges and Zimmerman just did not seem comfortable together and Loyd was a bit hesitant to contribute to the attack in a match that was sorely lacking width. They never got the BIG save when they needed it most from Seitzy. It was forgettable to say the least.
Ah, the moment when Oscar Pareja pretty much did what we all wanted to do last night. He handed Caleb Porter a napkin (according to reports) which caused a very testy moment between the two coaching staffs after the final whistle. Look, I have nothing but respect for Oscar Pareja and I think controversy is fantastic for Major League Soccer. I have no problem with Papi standing up for his team the way he did.
So, you're probably wondering, why is this in "the Shoddy" section? One reason: negative publicity for the Hoops and their coach. One side of me says, "who cares?" The other side of me says, "negative images or reputations in this league can lead to many things going against you." Calls, suspensions, negativity, hatred, targeting, injuries, etc.
If Pareja gets suspended, was the gesture really worth it? I am honestly torn on this as you can see. I would love for y'all to chime in. All I know is that Pareja seemed to have problems with Porter's whimpering all night long.
Mauro Diaz not traveling is particularly worrisome as we have zero idea as to what is going on with the Argentine. This team needed Diaz more than ever yesterday as the midfield really struggled controlling the match in the center of the park. Victor Ulloa seemed to be outnumbered in the midfield with Michel providing zero to no defensive support. The passing was off all game and it is a shame as the attackers were affected by this. Castillo, Tesho, Hollingshead, and Texeira were helpless but also were unable to make the most of any chances when they were presented to them.
Texeira: for someone who got a lot of "whaaaaat?" (deservedly so) for picking you to be FCD's Golden Boot winner, I have given up on you in the 4-4-2 and in the lone striker role. So, what is left?
There has to be a place for Tex to play effectively in this system. Is it as a last-minute substitute to get a body in there in trying to get another goal? I have no idea. All I know is that he was underwhelming yet again in his golden opportunity last night.
So close to tie the game with a header that was tipped off the post. It makes me sick to my stomach knowing that we were THAT close to stealing a result we really had no business sharing the points in.
Thoughts, comments, questions, concerns? Let's talk!
Has Portland become a big-time FC Dallas rival for you given that a couple of games have been close and physical in the last few years?