We'll be covering that Holy Toledo match and the red herring that was his refereeing plenty here in the next two days here a Big D Soccer but I will be skipping it for this post. Not because there wasn't any tactical changes to make note of, but rather the reds kept coming so quickly before either team settled into any discernible tactical rhythm. It really just came down to who could innovate the most on their own and had the confidence to grab a late winner. Ultimately both teams ran out of time, the points were split and FC Dallas ended their two game losing streak.
So what is there to talk about? David Texeira and Victor Ulloa, two players that I thought went hot and cold by the 45 minute mark.
David Texeira continues to really disappoint me. Not because I don't think he has the talent or right skill set to play at this level, but because he somehow has discovered the art of making himself invisible for long stretches at a time during matches. Here's what I mean:
It's about the same work rate you'd see from Blas Perez, 10/11 passing, 1 through ball, 1 key pass, 1 shot blocked, 2 fouls won. Perez would have logged in a few defensive actions too which Texeira didn't manage to do, but in the first 45 minutes it was pretty decent work from the former DP.
Then this happened:
This is everything he did in the last 45 minutes. Everything. 5/6 passing, 0 shots, dispossessed once and one recovery. Granted one of his passes was another key pass, so I will give him that. But from the 50th minute to the 69th minute, Texeira didn't touch the ball once. Then went on from the 69th minute to the 85th minute before seeing the ball again. I know the reds didn't help and altered the way Dallas played but for a player who's been exiled to the bench and has been waiting for his chance to show his worth to this club, this was certainly not the way to do it. You cannot go 33 minutes without getting on the ball at this level.
Texeira will get another chance with the Gold Cup looming, taking Blas Perez off our hands for a stretch. But if Texeira continues to remain anonymous for long stretches like this, don't be surprised to see Coy Craft start to get minutes in the coming weeks.
What I love about Victor Ulloa is that his game is very unassuming and he quietly goes about his business, doing the little things to help this club succeed. At half time I tweeted out that Ulloa needed to see the ball more having just attempted 9 passes (it was actually 12 after Opta corrected their stats), but for a player of his caliber and pedigree, he has to find the ball more than he did. He basically did a Second Half Texeira and was invisible, by Ulloa standards for much of the first half.
Ulloa was his usual tidy self on the ball (10/11 passing) and did his usual defensive work (1 block, 2 interceptions and 2 recoveries). So why point out Ulloa then? Because his second half display shows his full potential with this club.
You'll notice that there isn't a single red circle with an arrow in this charge. Yes. It happened. Victor Ulloa went 31/31 passing for the 2nd half for a total of 41/42 for the evening. That one misplaced pass? A header. Beyond the perfect second half from Ulloa, he also contributed 2 key passes in the second half, a stat that he's been lacking in terms of helping this team on the offensive side of the ball.
My favorite part about this is that Ulloa got on the ball and started spraying passes everywhere, especially in the final 6 minutes (from the 88th minute on) where Ulloa made 13 successful passes, with only one of them being a back pass.
So there you have it Dallas fans. One striker with a lot to prove, who started the game well, then did his best disappearing act the rest of the way, who made no dent in helping us forget Blas Perez. Contrast that with the HGP midfielder who did the exact opposite and rose up when the team needed him to.