FC Dallas’ great form at home continued as they defeated Montreal 2-0 Saturday night. There were a lot of talking points going into the match with the way Dallas played against Houston the week before, as well as Didier Drogba coming to town. In the end, The Hoops seemed to have left the bruises to their egos back in Houston as they came in and controlled the match from the opening whistle. The backline and midfield were outstanding, pestering Montreal’s attacking player’s night. A very professional and impressive win against a good team. It was encouraging to see the boys rebound from the nightmare that was the Houston match. Let’s see how the team graded out this week.
Maximiliano Urruti (A+) – I’m torn on what to think about Maxi. One part of me wants the Hunts to go out and spend money on a pure striker who will be able to spearhead this attacking team. On the other hand, looking at Urruti’s two home games, I can almost talk myself into him being that striker. Once again, he did so many things well Saturday. His work rate continues to be off the chart. Whenever it seems like he is fading out the match, he starts to come further up field to possess the ball to help get it going forward again. I understand it’s a work in progress. There are a lot of times when Mauro is just missing his runs or his crosses into the box seem to be a second too late. Hopefully in time all of that works itself out. I would really love to see Urruti make more diagonal runs, splitting the defenders, allowing Mauro to place a nice weighted ball at his feet. Other than that, no complaints. Great game. Excellent goal, that took a lot of technical ability to not blast the ball halfway up the blue tarps.
Fabian Castillo (A) – His ability to make something out of nothing never gets old. Defenders know that he wants to go left and get to the byline, but they can’t stop it. It’s so great. It does seem that he is forcing it a little right now in the final third, going for the incredible instead of settling for the decent play. Whether due to unfamiliarity or just not in form yet, Fabian hasn’t been able to find anyone in the box with his dangerous crosses. Overall, a good game.
Mauro Diaz (A+) – Such a wizard. Once again, he controlled the midfield. It seemed like he made more of an effort to continuing pushing the ball upfield after beating a defender instead of passing the ball out wide or just waiting for the foul. I was very impressed with the strength that he showed. He had Impact players tugging on his jersey and kicking at his heels all night. He missed a couple of Urruti’s runs, which is to be expected since, this was only their third official game together. When that partnership get’s figure out, this offense is going to be scary. Lastly, that free kick. I don’t know how, but Mauro still leaves me amazed game by game.
Carlos Gruezo (A) – Carlos looked great Saturday night. It seemed like having Ulloa next him allowed him the opportunity to roam and utilize his speed to sniff out attacks. He was all over the pitch. There is a lot to be excited about as Gruezo continues to learn the style of play that Oscar is trying to implement. I was really impressed with how he was pushing forward as well. When he would dispossess a Montreal player, Carlos was finding Maruo or one of the wingers to start the attack back upfield. Solid effort.
Victor Ulloa (A) – For such a young guy, Victor is a very calming presence for this defense. His willingness to stay home and cover for the backline, allows the offense to go. Aside from freeing Greuzo to roam openly, Victor also supplies support for the backline, allowing the fullbacks to push up the field. His insertion into the squad made a world of difference Saturday night. His ability to do the dirty work was what this team needed and he played it perfectly. It was good to see him back there and hopefully he earned himself a starting spot again.
Michael Barrios (B+) – It seems like Barriors is struggling to get going in these matches early on. For the first half hour or so, he seems pretty absent going forward. Luckily, he does eventually find his way into the flow of the game and starts adding another dimension to the attack. A lot like Fabian, Barriors appears to be struggling a little bit with where Urruti likes to make runs to. He seems to be delivering the ball a little late, allowing the defense to intercept it. Overall, it was a strong performance though. If not for his final touch letting him down, he probably should have been on the score sheet.
Ryan Hollingshead (A+) – Has there been a better improved player over the last two and half years than Ryan? I use to cringe when I saw him in the starting lineup. Something clicked and now he is wonderful fullback. His ability to do the little things is very underrated. He reads the game so well. There were countless times Saturday night when Ryan would run into space, opening avenues for Mauro to thread a pass into, behind him. It might frustrate some people, but I like that Ryan isn’t scared to shoot. I think this team can get into a funk where they don’t shoot enough because they are waiting for the perfect pass. There were a couple of times that he cut in right on top of the 18 year box and let a rip. It’s just another thing that teams have to account for and I applaud him. Like Victor, I hope he also showed enough to earn his spot back.
Matt Hedges (A+) -After the worst game of his career, Matt showed up and played really well Saturday night. He was reading the game well and sniffing out dangerous balls. Countless times he undercut through balls erasing any attacking threat. He also did a great job of stepping up and taking on Montreal’s attackers a little higher up the field. He didn’t let Piatti receive the ball and push up field with it. With all the talk of Drogba coming into the match, I thought Hedges did a great job of handling him on headers and not allowing anything to come out of them. Great bounce back performance for our captain.
Walker Zimmerman (A+) – Walker was the best defender last week and took criticism that he probably didn’t deserve. With that being said, he looked really solid again Saturday night. He was directing passes from the back line and helping make sure everyone was where they needed to be. Once again, he dominated in the air. He doesn’t lose a lot headers and does a really good job of clearing them into safe parts of the pitch. I’ve been most impressed with his recovery speed. For a guy of his size, he can really get up and fly. I’m excited that he is getting called up to the U23 camp, he deserves it.
Maynor Figueroa (A) - I don’t know who this Maynor was we saw Saturday night, but I liked him. He was pushing forward, dribbling around defenders and finding midfielders in space. I really enjoy my fullbacks to have the ability to play balls into the middle of the pitch instead of just hoofing them over the top and hoping the wingers can run them down. Maynor did that repeatedly against Montreal. He would make a dangerous run and then feed the ball into Mauro, pulling the defenders apart. It then allowed players out of the midfield to make runs in behind the Impact’s backline. Figueroa was also great defensively. He did well closing out and limiting the amount of crosses into the box. Even though he will probably get a red card this year, I don’t hate him going in for some of those crunching tackles. He is able to add some toughness to a team that can be lacking it from time to time.
Jesse Gonzalez (A) – Jesse wasn’t really tested that much Saturday night but when he was tested, he was able to make the play. It was nice to see him get his second clean sheet of the year, especially after giving up a baseball score, against Houston. He did look like his old self back there. Super calm and collected. Hopefully he has a great couple of games with Mexico to build off of his shutout Saturday night.
Kellyn Acosta (B+) - Was buzzing around and closing down on the ball, but was probably lucky to not give up a free kick right outside of our box. Like Gruezo, he seemed very comfortable next Victor. Kellyn was able to roam and chase the ball down. With that freedom, he was the one who fed the ball into Diaz, setting up the free kick goal.
Tesho Akindele (A) - I love Tesho’s game. It seems like everytime he enters the match, it becomes a wide open affair. With his ability to take defenders on, he is such a weapon; especially late in games. I was really glad to see him get an assist on the Urruti goal.
Mauro Rosales (Incomplete) - Didn’t play long enough to make a difference. It’s really hard for me to watch him with his offensive lineman jersey number.
Game number three is now in the books and we already have two wins. If you would have asked me at the beginning of the year if I would take six points by this point, I would have taken without a doubt. Now onto DC United, where we will be missing, basically our whole back line. For the first time in this early season, the depth will be tested. Let’s go get us three more points!!!
Let me know what you think of the ratings and what y’all think of them.