Most people that know me know I’m a bit over optimistic about things in life. That includes the teams I follow in sports. Despite FC Dallas’ 3-0 hole against the Seattle Sounders in the Western Conference semifinals, I am doing what I can to remain upbeat.
But boy that eight minutes on Sunday night in the second half was brutal to watch. If this season has taught me anything, this team does know how to respond.
Go back to the formation that go you here
Before Sunday’s game kicked off, we were shown a 5-3-2 (or a 3-5-2 depending on who you talk to) formation that looked like a completely defensive attempt at getting out of Seattle with a result. I applauded Oscar Pareja for this approach but it was pretty clear early on that this look was going to be the undoing of this team.
Time and time again, the Sounders got forward in space and with numbers against the five-man back line that sometimes resembled a three-man group instead with Atiba Harris and Ryan Hollingshead not tracking back enough. Maynor Figueroa in the central defense with Matt Hedges and Walker Zimmerman also didn’t look quite right.
While we know Mauro Diaz is out for the remaining part of this season and a decent chunk of next, it may be wise to stick to the 4-2-3-1. Add in a Mauro Rosales or even a guy like Carlos Lizarazo to bring that creative spark in the midfield. This kind of formation not only allows for a creative spark but it shows what Kellyn Acosta and Carlos Gruezo can do at their best. The formation last night didn’t allow them to play the way that they normally do in the midfield as they also had to figure out how to work with Victor Ulloa. Not to throw Vic under the bus but I have never really thought he and Gruezo work well on the field together for long stretches like that.
Lastly, the old formation gets the wings more active. That was missing Sunday night as Michael Barrios showed he wasn’t the type of player that can perform up top for long stretches as well.
They’ve come from behind plenty of times before
Between the last meeting against the Sounders this season, to the US Open Cup semifinals in LA, to several other matches in 2016. FC Dallas has a knack for the dramatics this year.
Being back at home, you do have to feel a little more confident about FCD and the way that they play in front of the faithful in Frisco.
Go for broke
One thing to hang your hat on in going into a game where you are down 3-0, is that you can go for broke. You can gamble a little more. And in all honesty, you should. I mentioned Rosales getting a run at things in the second leg. So should Carlos Ruiz. Heck, I’d even love to see a gamble on a Coy Craft or a Paxton Pomykal.
No matter what, I think we have to see a team that presses forward and keeps the visitors on their heels more. Seattle will look for the quick counters in this one and as we know, a road goal will be killer.
Trying something new is in Pareja’s DNA. The guy knows how to roll the dice and make the best of a bad situation. All we can do is hope he pulls the right cards out for this one.