When Zach Loyd got the starting nod in place of injured Matt Hedges on Sunday, he wasn't your prototypical fill-in CB. Instead, FC Dallas was slotting in a guy who was making his 161st career start for the team dating back to 2010. With that in mind, let's take a deeper look into just how well he played Saturday despite Dom Dwyer's best efforts to make him look like a fool.
First, just 14 minutes into the game, it looked as if Loyd had already been beaten and Dom Dwyer had all but sured up a goal after Loyd failed to trap him offsides. Then, he tracks back incredibly to tackle the ball away just a few yards from the net.
Loyd turns on a second gear once he sees the cross is going to come into Dwyer and somehow gets back at the last second to interrupt the striker's attempt.
I think this is the thing we get with Zach Loyd that Walker Zimmerman and Matt Hedges sort of lack. It's not a slight to either of them, but Loyd has a much better passing ability and he gives the team another chance-creator out of the back.
Here, he starts a great attack by finding a way-too-wide-open Castillo, who brilliantly feeds Ulloa before Melia denies him a good shot on goal. But this doesn't happen without Loyd's insightful service to Fabian.
Loyd completed 38 of 51 passes, a 74% completion rate. This isn't an insanely good percentage, but what we can draw from his pass chart is that he's attempting forward passes at a high percentage. 72% of his passes went up the field and like I said earlier, he's the best offensive spark out of the back.
Finally, and what might be the most fun thing to watch Loyd do, is disposses the ball. Sunday, he did this six times en route to shutting down Dwyer and apart for a set piece goal, the entire SKC the attacking prowess. Loyd also added four clearances, three of which occurred inside the box.
Loyd came in, not exactly in rhythm with the rest of the team and defense, and was still outstanding. I'm glad he got some minutes in and while Hedges is out, I don't have any fears with the defense in his hands.