FC Dallas went up to Kansas City hoping to rebound from their mistake laden performance last Saturday against Montreal, unfortunately the team's road woes continued and got utterly embarrassed on the national stage. I don't say this often but Oscar Pareja got this one completely wrong and somehow our captain was made to look like a subpar defender.
No Castillo = No Width
During the first half, when Dallas actually got 43 minutes playing 11 on 11, it was very clear that this team was feeling the loss of Fabian Castillo and his ability to create space for his teammates.
(Chart above is Dallas' passing for the first half)
Even when Castillo's game is off, his blinding pace at least pushes the defensive line further back a few yards which gives a little more space and freedom to operate under. Without him, Dallas were unable to find any joy down the flanks and played everything through the middle which made things easier for Sporting Kansas City to keep everything in front of them. You can also note the lack of action in the final third was incredibly troubling.
This of course is by no means Pareja's fault, as he couldn't reasonably control who gets injured but the non use of Michael Barrios definitely hindered his team's ability to get forward. This team has figured out how to play without Mauro Diaz, but it hasn't figured out how to do without Castillo just yet.
Live by the Sword, Die by the Sword
Credit to Dallas last weekend for basically going all in, in the final few minutes against Montreal throwing every available body into the box, chasing that game tying goal. It was a valiant effort that for whatever reason did not please the soccer gods. The downside of such a foray into the attack is that it empties your defense and makes you really suspect to being scored on again and SKC did the exact opposite of what Montreal did and made Dallas pay.
Dallas actually won the possession battle (54%) in the second half and to their credit, really pushed to get a result from this match. In doing so, Dallas generated four shots which was three more than they were able to in the first half and as you can see, actually managed to get into the final third far more often.
The downside of course are the gaps and spaces it exposes, especially when you're already pressing down a man. I loved Moises Hernandez' effort for bombing up the left flank but the space he abandoned behind him caused Dallas' defense a lot of troubles that they weren't able to manage.
After rewatching certain parts of the match and looking at the chalkboard, it's clear that Peter Vermes and his coaching staff did their homework and saw the gaps that Dallas could be exposed for and forced Dallas into chasing the game. It's been very rare that Pareja's been outcoached like this during his tenure in Dallas, but Vermes baited Pareja and FCD to venture forward all the while manipulating the space to give his SKC side the chances to pour on the goals.
Oh Captain! Oh... Captain...
In the same vein as not having seen Pareja outcoached, I cannot remember the last time Matt Hedges was made to look like such a subpar defender in this league. Krisztian Nemeth won an impressive 8 fouls (not all on Hedges of course) and made Dallas look very uncomfortable defending the Hungarian striker. Nemeth didn't dominate on the stat board (just 22 total passes) and still managed to get a goal, 2 key passes and an assist for the evening. Basically, he the most of his touches and was able to combine with his teammates.
This turn for the second goal of the match? You can bet Hedges will be damn sure it won't happen to him again.