Going into the match with the New England Revolution, most of us would have been content with one point. New England hadn’t lost at home in six matches this year and had only conceded four goals in those six matches. Add on top of that, FC Dallas was coming off a big week where they got six points from two tough Western Conference teams, as well as holding some key players out of the lineup due to the artificial turf. Once the dust settled, the Hoops had handed NE their first loss, scored four goals on them and did in a pretty convincing manner. There were definitely some surprises out there Saturday night, let’s see how the team graded out.
Tesho Akindele (A+) – Got a brace on the night!!! Did a great job early on with his hold up play. There were a couple of times in the first half when FC Dallas was taking on pressure and needed an outlet; he was there to help stem the tide. He did fade in out of the game at times, but at the end of the night he walked away with 2 goals, ‘Tesho’ on the back of his jersey, and 3 points. I will happily take it.
Fabian Castillo (A) –Took him a little while to settle into the match. Once he did, he was the Fabian that we’ve come to know and love. He was running at defenders, trying to make things happen. At one point, he was 1 on 5 and almost wiggled through for a quality scoring chance. His constant pressure paid off when a misplayed ball fell into his lap that was hammered home for the game winning goal. Looking forward, if Barrios is going to be out, we are going to need to lean on Fabian a little more. He has shown up in the past, and hopefully is able to again.
Michael Barrios (A) – How does someone grade a player who played for 3 minutes? Usually you wouldn’t except that Barrios set up the first goal by getting tackled in the box. It was really telling to see almost the whole team come over and wish Barrios well before he was taken off the pitch. It shows a lot about this team and how close they are.
Carlos Gruezo (B+) – Set up the first goal with an over the top ball to Barrios. His name wasn’t mentioned much after that meaning that he was doing his job closing down passing lanes and forcing the ball out wide. Most of New England’s scoring chances came from crosses or over the top balls. There wasn’t a lot of build up right outside the 18 yard box, which shows that Carlos was pretty effective Saturday night.
Victor Ulloa (B) – Would definitely want back his challenge on Nguyen in the box, but overall a solid performance. A lot was asked of Victor by having him chase Lee Nguyen around the midfield on Saturday. For the most part, he did a good job of closing down on him and forcing him to pass the ball on.
Ryan Hollingshead (B+) – Not a terrible showing the midfield. There were definitely times where he seemed a bit lost, not knowing where to distribute the ball to, but overall not horrible. As the game progressed, it seemed like Ryan started to fade a little further back in the midfield. In the end, having someone like Hollingshead who is flexible to play multiple positions is such a gift.
Zach Loyd (B+) – Once again, made last ditch defending look super easy. His ability to slip in and clear the ball from the goal mouth is a gift that I will never get tired of watching. I was also amazed by his positional wherewithal to be able to cut in front of Kamara and win a couple of headers. It says a lot about how his current form when people are figuring out how to keep him on the pitch with Hedges potentially coming back this weekend.
Maynor Figueroa (C+) – His set piece defending is, well, an adventure. He was beaten to the ball twice, on simple runs; one resulting in a goal, the other bouncing over the goal. In the run of play, he was fine. He tracked back and never really got caught up field. For whatever reason though, he just struggled, once again on those set pieces.
Atiba Harris (B) – Overall, I thought Atiba had a decent match. His header was a thing of a beauty. Running away from goal and still flicking the ball on, with pace, is not an easy task. Defensively speaking, he was reaching/lunging in for tackles in the first half creating fouls/dangerous free kick opportunities for the Revolution. The second half was a lot more solid and helped to see FCD get the 3 points.
Chris Seitz (B+) – It will show up on the score sheet that he allowed two goals in on the night. Neither goal was his fault and the times he was tested, he was able to make the save. Seitz has been really good this year and would expect him to continue in net for the foreseeable future.
Oscar Pareja (A+) – Going into New England, without Diaz, Hedges, Barrios and Urruti and still able to get 3 points is outstanding. He had the guys ready to go early and we saw the reward for it. He was able to adjust on the fly, with Barrios leaving the match after 5 minutes, and keep the guys focused. Great performance from the whole squad Saturday evening.
Kellyn Acosta (A+) – Kellyn is back!! This is what we all wanted at the start of the season. He is finally getting back into his groove and looking like the dangerous player he was at the end of last year. He played a solid box to box match. He broke up numerous plays in the defensive third after making 40 yards to get back in the play. He controlled the midfield for a lot of the second half and had two assist. Disclaimer: I have probably watched that second assist 50 times on a loop.
Mauro Rosales (NA) – Did a good job of coming into the match and helping keep possession.
Agustin Jara (NA) - Congrats on your first action and welcome to the squad!!
When asked what I wanted from these two road games in the Quick Burns sections last week, I mentioned that we haven’t seen enough lopsided victories from our team; wish granted. We were able to go into New England, double their home goals against, give them their first home loss, and stay tied for the league lead in road wins. Overall, Saturday night showed how strong/deep our squad really is. Only two more matches left until the Copa break. Let’s get 6 more points and then get some rest.
Let me know what you think of my grades. Maybe they are terrible, maybe they aren’t!!