Ding-dong the losing streak is over. Okay, maybe a three-game skid didn't deserve a cheesy opening but its over nonetheless. FC Dallas looked more like what we've seen this season out of them in the 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake, a team that thankfully doesn't know how to win in the State of Texas.
Here we are, at the end of another month in this marathon of a season, left trying to piece together what exactly to make of where this team is still going here.
Kids being kids
Once again you have to tip your hat to Oscar Pareja for rolling the dice. Instead of going with the veterans again up top in the attack, he opted for a younger front line of David Texeiera and Tesho Akindele. In a way, this duo showed up better for the rest of the team than what we've seen these last few weeks out of Blas Perez and Rolando Escobar. Does this mean that Texeria and Akindele have surpassed Perez and Escobar as the top duo in the attack when Mauro Diaz is out? I don't think so just yet but I do think they were worth trying out like we saw on Saturday night.
The big reason why I liked this change is because of Akindele. The kid needed a push after going scoreless for a few weeks and having generally a sophomore slump if there ever was one. I like the motivation and the confidence that Pareja puts into his young players. But I also like the insurance of a veteran off the bench in Perez or Escobar like we saw on Saturday too. While you need those kinds of players to be big for you each game, there is something to be said about bringing them off the bench in late game situations when the team is winning.
Aside from the attack, we got another night of Jesse Gonzalez in goal. I think it may be safe to say that as long as he has a good defense in front of him, he will have a very long career ahead of him. I don't think he is the type of keeper that will earn you a few extra points in a season just yet but after two straight starts, I think he has a good chance to completely push Chris Seitz out of the roster come 2016.
The last few weeks had been rocky for the FC Dallas defense. A 2-0 loss in Chicago was caused by speed of the Fire's attack causing issues on the counter. A 2-1 loss to LA after that was largely due to ten minutes of brilliance out of Robbie Keane, Gyasi Zardes and Gio dos Santos. Then there was the 1-0 loss to Vancouver last week, a loss that could have been avoided had it not been for one crafty play in front of the goal.
This however was one of those games that showed how well this Dallas defense can be when they are all on the same page. Zach Loyd and Matt Hedges were more in sync with Victor Ulloa and Kellyn Acosta then what we've seen over the last three games before this one. In some ways I may attribute that to the emergence of Ezequiel Cirigliano in training and on the bench. Both of those Homegrown players know that their playing time could be in danger if they don't step things up.
The result this week was exactly what this group needed though. As Jason pointed out in our Chalkboard post yesterday, RSL struggled to get chances in front of goal in the second half. A lot of this these four limiting what RSL could do in their attack.
I still stand firm in the thought that for FCD to make it through the gauntlet of the Western Conference, this defensive group will have to remain compact and ready for anything that is thrown their way.