FC Dallas suffered another heavy defeat on the road this weekend, with a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of New York Red Bulls, who had won just two of their opening eight fixtures prior to this match. Goals from Lloyd Sam, Sacha Kljestan, Mike Grella, and Felipe Martins did the damage for a NYRB team in rampant form, but the performance was as nightmarishly bad as from an FCD standpoint as anyone could have envisaged happening going into this one. Easily a lot more bad than good to take away from this disaster.
Hard to really pick out any positives from this game. Seeing Mauro Diaz starting again was nice even though it was a pretty bad match to mark his return and he didn't really perform too well himself, although rust may have some part to do with that considering that it was his first start since March 26.
Of what was a tragic defensive display from the team, Atiba Harris was probably the best of the defenders in this one and that offers some encouragement as to whether or not he's cut out to play as a right-back, even if there's obviously much improvement needed to be made before we could say he should be starting there. That's about it as far as positives go, there really was very few good things to take away from this game.
Now here, there is plenty that could be highlighted and brought to light. The defending on the first goal was a continuation of FCD's set piece woes, with neither Sal Zizzo (who flicked the header on at the far post) nor Lloyd Sam (the scorer) being covered by their markers and it led to a routine, training ground goal that should never happen at this level. The second goal was just bad miscommunication between Jesse Gonzalez and the defenders, not for the first time this year, and it was a really soft, painful way to let one in so soon after the second half started. The third goal resulted from a poorly defended cross that allowed Mike Grella to make a run to the near post unnoticed and score with a header while the fourth just saw FCD players toyingly dragged out of position and left Felipe free as a bird in the center to blast one in from long range.
The goals aside, NYRB were carving Dallas up defensively all evening and the score could have been bigger had it not been for some poor end product at times which is something they've struggled with for much of this season before this game. FCD just did not know how to cope with their fluid movement and were constantly dragged out of position, which wasn't helped by the lack of defensive support from the South American attacking midfielders. Dallas was second best in nearly every facet of play, which was just a shocking response to a heavy defeat in Vancouver last week.
Certainly being outscored 0-7 in two games on the road is pretty catastrophic and not the results everyone was hoping for going into this three-game road trip. Question marks are starting to be raised about the tactical structure of this team under Oscar Pareja given that it was the third beating FCD suffered already this year, but nonetheless the team is in a good position at the top end of the standings despite everything. That at least eases some of the pressure and buys everyone some leeway, but that won't last for too long if the performances don't improve and issues don't get corrected soon. Anything less than a fired up FCD in Toronto next weekend would be a disappointment, because the players owe it to the fans after the displays they put up in the last two games.