I keep telling myself that we knew this five-game road trip for FC Dallas would be a tough one. Four games are now over and with one point and one goal to show for, June 26 cannot come soon enough for this group.
But this 3-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders was rather expected if we're all being honest with ourselves today. We knew that given the slew of international call ups, injuries and suspensions taking place these days that it was going to be slim pickings for Oscar Pareja with his lineup. If you had told me that a 0-0 score line at the half against the Sounders was what FCD would get in this one, I would have laugh no at that no matter who started.
In the end, this one was really a tale of two halves.
The gambles worked in the first half
I have to give Pareja a ton of credit for trying some things in this one. Ryan Hollingshead and Michel at the full back spot was always going to come with some risks given what each player brings to the table. Those short comings showed through in the second half but in the first half the two were able to help keep the wings more in check. Part of that was also do to having Fabian Castillo start again and the first start for Alex Zendejas also helped matters out as well.
I loved seeing Zendejas get the start on Saturday. It was a true example of what Pareja does best by placing faith in a young player to prove themselves on a big stage. Zendejas didn't have a super game by any stretch but he did bring a nice energy that has been lacking as of late to the attack. Do I think he will start again this weekend in Colorado? Maybe, but the fact that Pareja is willing to give him valuable minutes in big games tells you everything you need to know about this player, in that he has a big future ahead of him here with this club.
Mauro Diaz was pretty active in the first half as well, as he found Blas Perez and Castillo more than we've seen in the last couple of games.
Seattle tinkered, Dallas didn't respond
We keep hoping that Pareja will take that next leap forward as a head coach here and find better ways to adjust his team on the fly but this was another game where he was out coached. Sigi Schmid definitely made the right adjustments at the half and it showed for as he brought in big guns like Brad Evans and Obafemi Martins. In a way it seemed like Pareja was content on his team playing the bend and not break mentality, which is always dangerous on the road against a team like Seattle.
This is also one of those games that showed just the pure lack of depth that Dallas has at the moment too. To be able to bring in two national team players like Evans and Martins off the bench is such a ridiculous thing that Seattle was able to do in this one and it paid off in a huge way as both were big in setting up all three goals in this one.
The depth that Pareja had to work with was pretty minimal on the night as all he could do was really bring in another 17-year old in Coy Craft (great to see him healthy again) and a newcomer to MLS in Rolando Escobar. He had options like 'Seattle-killer' David Texeira and the speedy Michael Barrios on the bench. He could have easily moved Zach Loyd over to a full back spot by bringing in Stephen Keel at some point.