It looked like a game that our boys should've won, but what does the Opta Chalkboard reveal about the game?
FCD vs. SKC Shots
FC Dallas shots (Red - off target, Yellow - blocked, Green - on target)
Sporting KC shots (Red - off target, Green - on target, Soccer ball - goal)
The first thing I look at on the chalkboard is shots on goal. I always want my team to have dangerous shots from the middle of the penalty area. FC Dallas had more shots than SKC and from better locations, but were inaccurate in finishing them, with 13 shots on goal but only one forcing a save from Tim Melia. It is tough to fault FC Dallas too much here as Fabian Castillo did score a goal that was incorrectly waved back and the team created two other dangerous chances that should've resulted in penalty kicks that don't show up on the chalkboard.
Has Castillo lost his confidence?
Fabian Castillo's passing (Red - unsuccessful, Green - successful, Yellow - pass which led to a shot)
Fabian Castillo's dribbling - (Red - unsuccessful, Green - successful)
What has happened to Fabian Castillo in the last three months? From my seat in Children's Mercy Park, I muttered that it looks like he's lost his confidence. "Big Tex" Brandon from Lone Star Legion implored Castillo to "Shoot it!" as did I. Fabi scored a goal in the 16th minute and hit the post in the 28th minute but didn't shoot again, opting to lay the ball off instead of pulling the trigger on at least two more occasions.
His passing was limited and lacking. Out of ten attempts to dribble past an opponent, he succeeded three times, all between the 64th and 69th minutes when he played a nice give-and-go with Victor Ulloa and finally beat a defender to the endline.
Barrios and Tesho
Michael Barrios' passing (Red - unsuccessful, Green - successful, Yellow - pass which led to a shot)
Tesho Akindele's passing (Red - unsuccessful, Green - successful, Yellow - pass which led to a shot)
Michael Barrios and Tesho Akindele did not have the best of games either. Barrios' passing was erratic. Tesho's passing was always short and frequently backwards, as he was used as a hold-up target man for 60 minutes. The one pass from Tesho that led to a shot in the box was in the 90th minute when he launched a ball into the mixer.
How did the game change with Diaz and Gruezo?
FC Dallas' passing before Diaz and Gruezo entered (Red - unsuccessful, Green - successful, Yellow - pass which led to a shot)
Without Diaz and Carlos Gruezo on the field from the start of the game through the 63rd minute, FC Dallas opted for long balls to the strikers and play down the wings. The team ignored one of the most dangerous areas on the field - the area just outside the top of the box - and had holes in the midfield where the ball was not being linked.
FC Dallas Passing after Diaz and Gruezo entered (Red - unsuccessful, Green - successful, Yellow - pass which led to a shot)
With Diaz and Gruezo on the field, the team was able to move the ball around the top of the box more successfully but due to the game state had difficulty penetrating KC's game-killing defensive block deep in the box.
FC Dallas able to shut down Dwyer and Feilhaber
Dwyer's passing and shot (Red square - unsuccessful pass, Green square - successful pass, Red circle - shot off target)
Sporting Kansas City didn't have even one successful dribble. Dom Dwyer, the only Kansas City player to score more than two goals this season, took only one shot, which was from outside the box. Dwyer completed one pass that went forward into the opponent's half.
Feilhaber's passing (Red - unsuccessful, Green - successful, Blue - assist)
With Graham Zusi and Brad Davis out, Benny Feilhaber has to shoulder the burden of fashioning threatening chances for Sporting. Dallas forced him to pass sideways, and Benny was unable to complete a pass into the penalty area from the run of play.
Should Jacob Peterson have more playing time?
Peterson's passing and shooting (Red square - unsuccessful pass, Green square - successful pass, Red circle - shot off target, Green circle - shot on target)
Talking to some guys in the Cauldron before the game, they mentioned that they wished that Peter Vermes would give Jacob Peterson more playing time. They got their wish in this clash, but Peterson's performance let them down. He didn't threaten from the right wing except for the chance on a breakaway in which he flubbed the shot right into Chris Seitz's legs.
Who was the Man of the Match?
Espinoza's passing (Red - unsuccessful, Green - successful)
Espinoza's defensive actions (Green - tackles won, Blue - interceptions, Purple - clearances, Yellow - recoveries)
It's quite tough to pick out the person who had the biggest influence on this game other than Jorge Gonzalez. Perhaps the best individual performance of the day came from Roger Espinoza. He was very effective in his role as a box-to-box metronome, completing 37/41 passes, or 90%. As a destroyer, he had one clearance, one tackle, five interceptions, six recoveries, and four fouls.
Overall, FC Dallas should be happy with a performance in which they rendered both Dwyer and Feilhaber ineffective and would've won with a competent refereeing crew armed with instant replay.