May and June have never been kind months to FC Dallas in recent years. But there is hope coming in the form of July and a slew of home games ahead on the schedule. FC Dallas finished their franchise-long road trip with a 1-1 draw last Friday against the Colorado Rapids, pretty much limping their way back home.
The game itself was rather dull. In a small way it played out exactly like I anticipated it to with FCD grabbing a lead and then squandering it late. I hate when I am correct about things like that but it was pretty obvious when the lineups came down that the best foot forward wasn't really going to be there on the night. I just figured the gas would run out with the third game played in seven days.
The road trip as a whole showed exactly where this club is at currently in their depth. I think nearly every Dallas fan has exhausted themselves as of late discussing the team's lack of depth. Clearly there are a couple issues on the field with regards to depth in the central midfield as the correct pieces just aren't in place right now. I do still believe that Kellyn Acosta, Victor Ulloa and Mauro Diaz central midfield pairing can work long-term if everyone is healthy. I know Acosta had a poor game on Friday but I still attribute that to his jet lagged effect from being in New Zealand for a few weeks.
Diaz himself was gassed. You could see it early on, which made me question why he was even in this game at times.
This trip also showed how the defensive depth is truly a scary thing. While I love the fact that Walker Zimmerman has finally arrived as a MLS defender during this trip, seeing Matt Hedges go in and out of play has been really tough to see. The club needs his leadership and they need him to be 100% for the long haul. Same could be said about Zach Loyd too but I tend to lean more on the 'we need Hedges all the time'.
The full back depth has also been a tricky thing to see evolve over the last few weeks. Ryan Hollingshead and Michel have spent more time playing full back with Je-Vaughn Watson, Moises Hernandez and Atiba Harris all putting in work with their respective national teams. The transition has been tough for Hollingshead but I do think he could work out long-term in this role, which could allow Oscar Pareja to use Harris in the midfield again, which I think in off-the-bench situations that makes more sense. Michel on the other hand is just showing his age on the field more and more. His set pieces aren't what they used to be and teams know to target his side of the field.
The next couple of weeks are vital for the playoffs chances with this club. In league play, four out of the next five are at home and the lone road game is against an expansion team. The schedule isn't exactly a cake walk at home but the games are starting to inch into that must-win category here. I'd really throw this weekend's game in that line as you have to bounce back here after these road games with a strong performance at home against your top rival.
Right now FCD sits sixth in the West, just above the red line.
I'm not really worried about Colorado catching up to FCD at this point, they only have two wins on the season and really don't look like a contender. But that three point gap between Dallas and Houston is a real alarming thing right now as we head into the summer months. These next few games could determine whether or not FCD moves back up towards second or third or if they will be more in the battle with SKC, LA, San Jose, RSL and Houston for those final spots.
Pablostache is no more. I have to say, I'm deeply sadden by the fact that Colorado manager Pablo Mastroeni shaved his mustache off before Friday's game.
More Zendejas. Even though the sample size has been small, I really like seeing Alex Zendejas on the field. The kid kind of has that lovely part of his game that is a bit naive in the sense that he doesn't get caught up in the moment of being a pro at 17-years old.
Kudos for the game plan on Castillo. For the most part, Colorado was wise to put Drew Moor on Fabian Castillo as early as they did in this one. But Fabi's speed and skill ended up working well once Kyle Bekker came in and got more involved in the attack.