It wasn't hard to guess that after last week's shellacking against Houston that Oscar Pareja would make some changes before Saturday night's matchup against Montreal Impact. One of those changes was Ryan Hollingshead, who slotted in for Atiba Harris at right back. After coming in as a sub last week, Hollingshead went the full 90 on Saturday and did an excellent job of making an Impact –– no pun intended.
Compared to the left side, which features Fabian Castillo, the right side of FC Dallas' attack would be considered "weaker" but that doesn't necessarily mean that its actually any less capable of creating chances. In Houston, however, once Castillo was locked down, the attack had no force as the right side was useless with Michael Barrios hardly making an impact. It's suggested –– and widely agreed –– that Ryan Hollingshead is much better suited to help on the right side than Harris and that exact point was proved against what was arguably a tougher defense in Montreal.
Harris completed 85 percent of his forward passes up the right side, but only attempted seven. By comparison, Hollingshead added much more, completing 14 of his 21 attempts forward, eight of which into the attacking third.
Along with accurate and effective passing, Hollingshead is always sure-footed and while he doesn't appear to be the most athletic player, he's confident with the ball and rarely gives it back to the opponent. For the majority of the night, FC Dallas looked potent offensively, possibly with the exclusion of the 15 minutes on either side of the half, and Hollingshead certainly had a hand in that.
I liked this from Hollingshead. He takes a pass from Diaz and when no one really tries to dispossess him, he takes a nice attempt. While it was a bit speculative, the last thing Montreal wanted was one more attacking player to keep under tabs.
This was my favorite moment from him on the night, where he both intercepted the ball and spurred a very nice chance for Michael Barrios that he nearly found himself on the end of.
Ryan has really developed as a defensive force and, in my opinion, is the team's best option at right back outside of Zack Loyd and he proved himself to me yet again Saturday. Montreal only had 38 completed passes in the final third and Dominic Oduro, with all the speed he possesses, was relatively quiet all night. The former FC Dallas striker was forced out wide all evening and didn't complete –– or attempt –– a single pass towards the goal.
Ryan finished his night with six interceptions, which tied Matt Hedges for the most among FC Dallas players and even after Didier Drogba came on, the legendary striker only had one real chance at goal –– a headed ball he sent wide of the net.
A host of players performed well Saturday, especially Mauro Diaz, but Hollingshead came into his first start and immediately made the offensive impact that Atiba Harris hadn't been providing. Defensively, the UCLA product put in a great 90-minute performance that led to a shutout of what had been one of the league's more prolific offenses.