FC Dallas were inflicted upon them a third consecutive defeat in their mini-road trip and will now not only return home without a point picked up from those games, but also without a single goal scored. The latest team to get the better of FCD on their own patch was Toronto FC, who won via a solitary goal midway through the first half from Tsubasa Endoh, who netted his first professional goal ever in the process.
The current slump in results has seen FCD fall from first to fourth in the standings and maybe even lower once the other teams play their games in hand, but it's not been all negative to take out from these recent games, like this one for example.
Every player performed a lot better than they did in the NYRB debacle, which isn't too hard to achieve given how bad the team was last week, but it was good to see most of them play with more fire under them this time around. The most impressive aspect of the performance was on the defensive side of things, where the team looked more organized and solid this time around and managed to limit the impact of players like Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore to a fair extent. Walker Zimmerman and Zach Loyd were the standout figures of the match which may be a sign that they're improving as a partnership which is a vital development for this team, given that Matt Hedges is still out for a few more weeks at least.
It was arguably the team's best collective defensive display of the season, when considering the amount of talent Toronto have in their attack and the fact that they were only limited to just four shots on goal while most of their attempts came from long range rather than playing through the FCD defense. We also saw improved performances from Kellyn Acosta and Fabian Castillo who, while still not at their best, showed more signs of returning to form having had frustrating campaigns to date up until now and hopefully they'll use this game as a springboard to get back to their best as soon as possible.
Offensively, the team just didn't create enough once again and with Mauro Diaz being missing no longer an applicable excuse, it's starting to become a worry. FCD scored fifteen in the opening eight games of 2016 but now has failed to register a goal from open play for over 325 minutes, which is over five hours of soccer. Maximiliano Urruti hasn't scored in his last seven outings, Castillo and Tesho Akindele since the win in Portland, and Diaz since the third game of the year although he did spend some time out on the sidelines to be fair to him.
It's not for a lack of effort that the front men are struggling to find goals, but for a lack of creating chances and being wasteful with the ones that they do get. It doesn't help that seemingly two or three guys are out of form at the moment, but it's also not very encouraging when whenever the team gets a rare good opportunity to score during the games, they're not taking them well as of late. Luckily, FCD is going back home for two consecutive home games over the next week where they've had plenty of success with scoring over the past year, so hopefully that'll bring the cure to the team's current offensive woes.
For much of this season, we've been talking about how the offense is flourishing but the defense has looked a mess. Now it's slowly looking like it's turning the other way around lately. Despite the problems that have been faced with regarding on-pitch issues like form and tactics as well as injuries, FCD remain well placed in the standings and that's the main thing that's keeping the criticism and overreaction to a minimum for the time being. With two home games coming up, it's a good opportunity for everything to get back on track but if that doesn't happen, then the pressure will grow bigger on everyone involved and the tough questions will start to get asked on whether or not this team really has the credentials or not to make a serious challenge for the MLS Cup once again this fall. It will be interesting to see how Oscar Pareja and his players respond with the tests in the coming week.