No matter how you put it, Oscar Pareja rolled the dice in a big way on Sunday and came out on top. FC Dallas started a MLS-record five Homegrown players on Sunday in their 3-0 win over the Columbus Crew SC. Yes, five HGPs on the field and a sixth on the bench and a seventh was out on international duty this weekend.
Just that right there is a lot to digest after watching this game.
State of love and trust
There may truly be no other way to put it but right now I full trust what Oscar Pareja is doing with this team. It may not be pretty at times. It may not be effective at times. But what Pareja is doing with the young players of this team is remarkable to say the very least. His team has already shattered their own record for number of Homegrown players on the field at once. They've already busted through the number of minutes played in a season by a group of HGPs. And now they are on pace to be one of the first teams to have a group of HGPs lead a team to a playoff spot. Yeah, bold. Very bold.
The one big thing worth pointing out about this win over Columbus wasn't the counter attacks out of Michael Barrios, which were great by the way. Or the random times that David Texeira showed up to do something. Or the fact that the defense carried their own again in front of Jesse Gonzalez for a second straight shutout. No, to me the one was all about seeing this team pick up a win that they were suppose to, even on the road.
Too many times this season we've seen this group go out against a subpar opponent like a Chicago or Colorado this season and come up short. Heck, even times getting blown out. Part of that was due to this large number of younger players learning their ways through a marathon season in MLS. Part of it was Pareja out-thinking the room with lineup choices. But this was a game that Pareja took the gamble and it paid off in a game that the team had every right to win. Columbus isn't a bad team, don't get me wrong, but with nine players missing due to international action, including the league's top scorer; this was a game FCD had to win.
Something to be said about Tex and Barrios
I'll admit, when I saw the lineup on Sunday with David Texeira lined up next to Barrios in the attack, I thought this was even more of a gamble than the all-HGP midfield.
We know that Barrios has some how turned himself into a threat over the last two months in this league. Whether you know it or not, only some big names like Sebastien Giovinco, Robbie Keane and David Villa have scored more over the last couple months than Barrios has. Rather impressive company to be in. What Barrios is doing right now shows that if he can get the space on the ball or even around the ball that he will be a constant threat against the other side. There is some strange comfort in knowing that as the team looks for a good playoff position. I honestly never would have guessed that he would develop the way he has this season.
Texeira on the other hand is still an enigma. According to this tweet by Steve Hunt, when he starts the club has a ridiculous 8-2-2 record. That is the kind of record that makes your head spin when you actually watch his game. Still, he is the type of striker that find himself in the most random spots on the field yet he somehow comes out of them and makes things happen for this team. I think the most fair thing to say about Texeira right now is that he may still be developing his game, he is after all only 24-years old.