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Scratching the Chalkboard: Complete Performance

Back at home, FC Dallas continued to put together a strong performance in the win over Vancouver.

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at FC Dallas Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

FC Dallas continues to dominate at home, dispatching Western Conference foes, Vancouver Whitecaps with two quick strikes in the second half. On the heels of the Fabian Castillo transfer saga, the Hoops put together a near complete game to secure maximum points and put themselves six points clear, though Colorado has three games in hand. All in all, it was a very classic performance from an Oscar Pareja side that once they secured the lead, were able to put a strangle hold on the rest of the match and shut out the Whitecaps.

Complete Performance

In terms of getting all eleven players on the field playing at a high level, this was about as complete a performance as we’ve ever seen this year from Dallas. Yes, Maxi Urruti fluffed several of his chances and probably should’ve had a hat trick, but he did finish one and completed all (9) of his passes.

Dallas took care of the ball and completed a season high 88% of their passes.

(Green - successful pass. Red - unsuccessful pass. Yellow - key pass. Blue - assist.)

While a large part of this high completion rate had to do with the Whitecaps dropping deep and conceding possession due to the heat and their insane travel and game schedule, Dallas still had to execute and do the work to pull apart the defensive bunker and get their chances.

Defensive Dominance

In the middle of all the Fabian Castillo transfer drama, Chris Seitz quietly notched his seven clean sheet of the season, putting him tied for league best with New York Red Bulls’ Luis Robles and LA Galaxy’s Brian Rowe. When your back line puts up a performance like this, it’s hard not to pick up shut outs along the way:

(Green - shot on target. Red - shot off target. Yellow - shot blocked.)

Above is Vancouver’s shot chat with only one long range effort from Pedro Morales in the 21st minute that forced a save out of Seitz. The rest were either blocked or off target and none of which really threatened to find the back of the net.

The Whitecaps could not find or create their chances, and a large part has to do with the pressure from the front six to entice Vancouver into the long ball:

Which most ended up landing at the feet and head of Matt Hedges, Walker Zimmerman, Atiba Harris and Maynor Figueroa.

(Orange - recovery. Blue - interception. Green - tackle. Purple - clearance.)

But even when Vancouver did manage some possession, and had the ball in the offensive half, there wasn’t much they could do with it due to the defensive effort from the back four with Kellyn Acosta and Carlos Gruezo protecting them:

Acosta-Gruezo Parnternship

For a while, Pareja’s been tinkering with his defensive midfield pairing, cycling between Kellyn Acosta, Carlos Gruezo and Victor Ulloa. For whatever reason, it doesn’t appear Dallas has found their best pairing - and that’s a good thing. Currently, Papi has three defensive midfielders playing a very high rate and while swapping the three players out isn’t a like for like situation, there’s now a forged and general understanding between all of them that they’re now able to get the best out of each other and provide the necessary defensive cover while also linking play between defense and attack.

Gruezo was a monster defensively, winning the ball back quickly in advanced positions for most the match:

(Orange - recovery. Blue - interception. Green - tackle. Purple - clearance.)

Gruezo was able to turn those recoveries into find Mauro Diaz (14 times, also the most any FCD player completed a pass to Diaz) quickly to kick start the Dallas attack.

Acosta was no slouch defensively, but thanks to Gruezo’s dominance, it freed Kellyn to do this:

(1 goal, 4 shots, 55/58 passing)

When the defensive puts on a stout performance like it did and the midfielders are able to take care of the ball as carefully as they did, it offers the attack a lot more slack when they’re not firing on all cylinders. Dallas would love to have scored a few more in this one, but can hang their hats on an ever improving defense to give them a chance at taking all the spoils.