After a solid June and July, FC Dallas is struggling to find their way through the heat of August as the playoff push begins to kick into high gear. Following a 2-1 loss on Saturday to the LA Galaxy, FCD is now sitting in a rather tough position in 5th place in the West.
Call it unlucky, or call it whatever
I usually hate to throw out too many excuses for a loss but this may have been one of those cases that unlucky is justified. Dallas outplayed LA at their own game in the first half of this one and had it not been for two mental mistakes at the start of the second half, we would be likely looking a different result.
We knew this would be a rough game against LA's big stars of Steven Gerrard, Giovani dos Santos, Robbie Keane, Gyasi Zardes and Omar Gonzalez. Top to bottom, the LA starting eleven looked the part and acted the part when they needed to most.
FCD on the other side trotted out a lineup that was missing Mauro Diaz to an injury and Zach Loyd due to the birth of his first child this past week. No Loyd in the back meant another game for Ryan Hollingshead to rebound following his disastrous outing in Chicago two weeks ago. He didn't play great but he also didn't play horrible. Je-Vaughn Watson returned to the lineup in Loyd's place in the central defense, which kind of begged the question as to what is going on with Walker Zimmerman or even down the pipe with Bakary Soumare. No fault on Watson but he just isn't a central defender in MLS. It showed on the two Keane goals.
Really the two LA goals came down to maturity in some ways for me. LA caught FCD napping on a counter attack each time, which is their bread and butter. Robbie Rogers's ball into Keane on the first goal was textbook, while it was unfortunate for Dan Kennedy not to be able to clear out dos Santos' attempt on the second goal that he helped loft up in an ally-op fashion to Keane.
Good teams in this league know how to catch FCD napping on counter attacks because of how young the team is. FCD struggles to get back on defense, which is not how you win titles in this league.
As exciting as the transfer of Ezequiel Cirigliano is for FC Dallas fans, we haven't been able to see a single second of the Argentine enforcer. Once again FC Dallas goes out and gets players that aren't able to provide that instant impact like a dos Santos does. Or even like a Roman Torres or Nelson Valdez did in Seattle yesterday.
This was a game that proved just how badly FCD needed someone like a Cirigilano in the midfield to gobble up the field and relieve pressure on the defense.
Fact remains, the only midseason signing that FCD is getting anything out of is Rolando Escobar. Saturday was really the first time we've been able to see anything that he can do out on the field. His chemistry with Blas Perez is pretty good in a two-man striking system as he does more of the dirty work to free up Perez. I've banged on Escobar quite a bit since his arrival but now I am cooling off on him after this game.
The Zimmerman sub. Oh boy. Was the ghost of Schellas Hyndman in the building on Saturday night or something. Down a goal and you sub a defender into the attack. I get that the team was getting more set piece chances but Zimmerman just wasn't the right choice in my book at that moment.
Diaz in Mexico. I know a lot of you probably saw the Instagram photo of Diaz at DFW Airport on Sunday with a caption that read that he was off to Mexico. I wouldn't read too much into that, seeing that he was with his girlfriend in the photo. But it does beg the question as to why the club would allow him to travel on a Sunday. My gut tells me they are giving him another week to recover instead of training on turf for the Vancouver game. Honestly, I'm good with that excuse if that is the case.