FC Dallas returned to its winning ways thanks to an offensive outburst from its defensive lines, finding goals courtesy of Ryan Hollingshead and Walker Zimmerman. The primary offensive weapons are still struggling, and will want to break out of their scoreless funk soon, but three points is the most important stat. With the Seattle Sounders paying a visit in two (!!!) days, this team just needs to focus on the positives and get points however they can.
Joy on the Wings
When Mauro Diaz is on the field, it's understandable that the team runs their offense through him. He is the most magical player on this team. In the first half, we saw this passing chart from the whole team.
(Green - successful pass. Red - unsuccessful pass. Yellow - key pass.)
It's a fairly balanced attack overall with Diaz floating side to side, wherever he could find space. You can even see Gruezo popping up every now and then pretty high up the field to join in the attack. There are seven key passes in here, which is a positive sign that chance creation is happening. The drawback though were these were the kind of chances that were created:
(Green - shot on target. Red - shot off target. Yellow - shot blocked)
Besides Urruti's miss inside the penalty area, none of the others were really truly threatening the goal.
Dallas shifted their attack to be more focused on the flanks in the second half, which unsurprisingly created more quality chances for Dallas.
There were 8 key passes coming from the second half, but the type of chances they created were vastly different.
(Green - shot on target. Red - shot off target. Yellow - shot blocked. Ball - goal.)
More centralized shots, more shots on target and of course, two goals were a result from the better wing play to create more space in the middle and also having the attack be more patient to find better goal scoring opportunities.
Last Saturday we saw Tesho out on the left wing and offered nothing in the attack against Toronto FC, with most of his touches coming at the half line and a majority of his passes going backwards. This week? Much different story:
(Green square - successful pass. Red - unsuccessful pass.) (Green circle- shot on target. Red - shot off target).
Obviously we see Tesho in more advanced positions than last week, and his passes going forward (not that that's always a good thing, but in this particular case it is). His two shots inside the penalty area are shots that he's known to get consistently and finish regularly. It was just unfortunate the opposition goalie was Jake Gleeson.
Shutting it Down
There are two players on the Portland side that basically make my spine tingle a bit every single time they get a touch on the ball. Darlington "Dallas Killer" Nagbe and Diego "I soccer pretty" Valeri. Carlos Gruezo and Kellyn Acosta were tasked to limit their effectiveness on the match and like the rest of the team, made appropriate second half adjustments.
Darlington Nagbe's passing charts:
Diego Valeri passing charts:
Both players' influence on the match waned as it went on much thanks to Acosta and Gruezo staying put and doing what they can to keep both of them in front of them and away from the back four.
While that three game road trip was awful, Dallas did bookend them with decent performances. Dallas did play much better than the 3-0 scoreline suggested in Vancouver and probably should have won that match. The same could be said against the 1-0 defeat against TFC, where Dallas should have earned a point from that one. The play and performance is still good. Let's just hope that Lady Luck will return to Dallas and the scoreline will start reflecting how the team is performing.