The funny thing about games in Major League Soccer, is that from week to week you really never know what to expect. We thought and assumed FC Dallas would continue their winning streak when they visited the Chicago Fire on Sunday but instead we saw more inconsistent play creep in during a 2-0 loss.
Our staff was split going into the game here at Big D Soccer too. On Sunday afternoon several of the other writers went into our chat room that we have with one another and thought FCD was in for a stinker of a game. They were certainly right in their worry with Chicago scoring three minutes in.
Illusion of consistency
Maybe it was the humidity in Chicago yesterday or just the fact that the team was on the road. No matter how you spin it, FC Dallas is just like nearly every other team in MLS when it comes to playing on the road. Sure, teams do get wins on the road from time to time but more times than not the 'play for the road draw' mentality can come back to bite you if you come out flat.
Oscar Pareja did touch on this last week as he mentioned the late goal that was given up in the big win over Portland. Yes it was a fluke kind of penalty kick scored by the Timbers but it showed that this team can still be wildly inconsistent with their play. A lot of that comes down to youth. Just four players yesterday were over the age of 25 out of the starting group (and that includes one of those players being 25-years old in Matt Hedges).
As great as the youth movement is with this club, the fact still remains that they are bound to play inconsistent at times against teams that don't match their quality. They haven't found that killer instinct yet to put teams away that don't possess the same level of talent. Look at all the Colorado games this season. Same goes with the two games so far against San Jose - sure one was a win but it took over 90 minutes to get that Blas Perez goal.
Consistency will come for this group and it is definitely good that they are hitting some patches in the season like this to bring them back down to earth. We know they are solid at Toyota Stadium but at some point that road identity has to be found.
Moving on and moving forward
The bye week for FC Dallas finally hits the schedule this week. We're actually the last team in MLS to get their first bye week, some teams have already had two bye weeks this season before FCD even got to their first. I think it is safe to say after this game that this week comes at the right time. Players will only train a couple days this week and some players aren't even here right now - I'm fairly certain Perez has been back in Panama since the end of the Gold Cup.
If anything this is a good time for Pareja to rework his lineup a bit and get those position battles back up again. As good as Ryan Hollingshead and Atiba Harris had been in the back this last month, yesterday was one of those afternoons that proved how valuable the depth the club has in the defense really is. I didn't think Harris had a bad game overall but Hollingshead was a different story. I think it is fair to say, he was due for a stinker of a game and Moises Hernandez has the poll position to earn his starting spot back now.
Same might be said for that starting right wing spot. Michael Barrios was great a couple weeks ago but he couldn't seem to find his footing in this one against the Fire. Maybe a Tesho Akindele or even someone like Alejandro Zendejas could be ripe for battling over that spot.
And yes, I do think Perez will win back his spot from David Texeira. Big Tex did well for the month that he was asked to stand in for Super Raton but we all know that is a spot he will win back come next week.
The sub of Ulloa. One of the most puzzling moments of this game was seeing Rolando Escobar come into the match for Victor Ulloa. Just as Fox Sports 1 mentioned how he was the club's ironman on the season, Pareja ended that with a weird second half sub. I'll say this, Ulloa wasn't having a great match but Escobar didn't bring much to the field for the time he was on the field. I'd almost like to replace his name on the back of his jersey with: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The camera on Diaz. For whatever reason, Fox decided to isolate a camera on Mauro Diaz in this one. Between all the shrugs and angry faces, it was probably not what they'd hoped for.