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FC Dallas vs San Jose Earthquakes: What we learned

Red cards change games. It is as simple as that.

Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn't a bad loss. It also wasn't a win. Really taking anything positive away from FC Dallas' 0-0 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes was tough due to how the game played out with the three red cards. But we'll do our best to get through this here.

Three games into this five-game road trip and FCD picks up their first point and a shutout in the process. Not bad considering they were without one of their key defenders in Zach Loyd, the veteran striker in Blas Perez and for half of the game, the speed of Fabian Castillo.

Lack of bite still there

We touched last week on how the club was struggling to grind out a result here this season. Well, the team did respond in some way to earn the point on the road. I will give them that much. The lack of bite though in the attack at times yesterday evening was still pretty evident when San Jose went down a man for the first 20 minutes or so of the second half. FCD had loads of space and room to spread the field with Michael Barrios and then Castillo. But once again, the chances failed to materialize.

Instead it looked more like a team that was holding on for a point at times rather than one with a man advantage. When you see a team have a man advantage as long as FCD did on Sunday and only muster up two shots on target in that span, then you know the effort just wasn't there.

Long road trips will do this to any club but that isn't really the excuse. It seems like this team is mentally playing conservative at the moment in an effort to tough it out through this spree of international call ups, suspensions and injuries.

Better from the defense

While the offense struggled with all the pace up top, the defense did rise to the occasion again by earning their fifth shutout of the season. I'm trying not to be overly concerned with how Matt Hedges left the field with an injury or that the team won't have Je-Vaughn Watson this weekend in Seattle, or Moises Hernandez who is going off with Guatemala.

In all, I'm really trying to be optimistic here after seeing another shutout here. Dan Kennedy looked strong in goal when the team needed him to against the likes of Chris Wondolowski and Shea Salines. San Jose had their moments and gave Kennedy their best but thankfully the veteran keeper made sure to assure at least the point on his end for the club. A big time keeper like Kennedy can earn teams points in games like this, and he certainly did so on Sunday evening.

In the midfield, we got another strong outing from Victor Ulloa. Again he was paired up with Michel in the middle of the park and the Brazilian didn't bring a ton to the field as Oscar Pareja opted to pull him for Castillo when the club first got the man advantage. I think the extra room helped Ulloa do his thing in the middle of the park. He was calm, made good reads on passes and kept the ball moving forward as much as he could. I don't think Kellyn Acosta can come back from international duty soon enough as I think he is still the best partner for Victor in the midfield.

Other observations

Barrios looked decent. We may have lost him for a bit in this game but early on Barrios was as active as Pareja could have hoped for. His one chance on goal was one of those moments you really hoped would have gone in not only because it would have changed the outcome of the game but I do think he is a goal away from really showing us what he has here. Some guys like him just need to score to break the tension and he has come super close twice now.

Tex and Tesho. While I am more optimistic with Tesho Akindele returning next week from his Canadian national team camp and World Cup qualifiers with just an all around better sense of play, I don't know what to make of David Texeira these days. The guy has all the skill to be a good player in this league but he just fails to get involved enough in the run of play to really help his team out.