FC Dallas traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah last Saturday evening and came away with a disappointing loss. The defeat itself wasn’t as disappointing as was the lack of teeth the offense had going forward. The midfield struggled getting anything going all night. It seemed like they were moving in quicksand for the majority of the evening. Even with the midfield struggling, the guys up top were still able to get some quality looks on goal but just weren’t able to do anything with them. Overall though, the defense and Seitz played well enough to warrant at least a draw, but that isn’t how soccer works sometimes. With that, let’s take a look at how the guys graded out.
Maxi Urruti (B) - Once again his work rate was great. He was all over the pitch and creating havoc. He had a couple of nice opportunities but was unable to do anything with them. The first chance being the over-the-top ball that split the two defenders that Maxi should have taken the shot on with his first touch. Instead, he took two touches, which took him away from goal and created an impossible angle. These are the types of games where we are going to need Urruti to pull some magic out of nowhere. When it seems like the team is out of ideas offensively, you would like someone like Urruti to save your bacon. Unfortunately, Saturday night, it didn’t happen.
Mauro Diaz (B-) - Was quiet most of the night. Mauro wasn’t able to wiggle free from Beckerman and had very limited time on the ball. It’s the first game in a while that it seems like Mauro wasn’t really even out there. Hopefully it’s just a blip for him and not something a little more worrisome. Games like Saturday night are what playoff games are like. The final four or two teams left in the playoffs will have good defensive midfielders. Hopefully Mauro is able to figure out how to work around them.
Michael Barrios (B+) – The most dangerous guy on the field for the FCD all night. His bombing runs down the flanks were causing trouble for RSL. However, once Michael would make the turn inside, it seemed like he would run out of ideas. I would like him to maybe take defenders on 1v1 a little more, especially in the box. Overall though, he played a nice match and almost had a GOTW candidate with that chip.
Kellyn Acosta (B) - Started the game on the wing and was pretty ineffective there. Once the second half started, he was moved back to his normal role of defensive mid. Definitely not his best game, but he is such a fighter. Kellyn’s engine never turns off. Even late in the match, with game basically over, he was still tracking back trying to get the ball back. As a team, this might not have been one of their better performances, but seeing guys fighting to the end makes you realize it means as much to them as it does to us fans.
Carlos Gruezo (B) – Not one of his better matches, but even so, he was still everywhere on the field. He spent a lot of the match trying to keep the RSL midfield in check. A midfield that overran FCDs for most of the night. Overall though, he probably did enough to help keep that shutout, if not for a freak goal.
Victor Ulloa (B) - Was alright in the first half, but kind of left you wanting more out of Victor. He held his own alright defensively, but he just wasn’t able to help going forward. He wasn’t able to add another body in the mix to make RSL’s defensive mids recognize him as a threat. Instead, he stayed further back and helped to control the tide defensively. Even though he was subbed off at halftime, I don’t think it was due to his lack of play. It felt like Oscar was going for the win.
Matt Hedges (B+) - Another solid game for the captain. With him leading the line, the rest of the back four played really well too. RSL had one other quality scoring chance before the goal, where Plata was able to get off a rocket from within the 18 yard box. Other than that, Hedges and the rest of the backline did a great job of limiting their chances.
Walker Zimmerman (B+) - Like Hedges, I thought Walker played a very fine match. There were times where he was pushed around, but he was still able to battle back and either stop shots or win headers in the air. I thought it was a solid bounce back game for him after having a bit of rough go against Dom Dwyer the other night. Like Hedges, you wish they would have been able to secure the shutout.
Maynor Figueroa (B+) - Another solid match for the fullback. He held his ground quite nicely, even with offensive players running at him. It seemed like this was the first time in a couple of games that Maynor had to worry about wingers trying to get to the touchline and then cross it over. He was able to snuff out all the quality opportunities, and most importantly, he was able to do so without fouling. Like I said last week, I become very happy with the addition of Maynor Figueroa.
Aubrey David (B+) – Another one of those guys who were brought in but since he isn’t a striker, we aren’t impressed with how well he has played. Sure, Aubrey doesn’t give you a lot going forward, but in a game against RSL, on the road, you are always going to defend first. On top of that, FB isn’t even his natural position. I thought he held his own quite nicely Saturday night, and did a really nice job of stepping up and preventing Plata or some of the other midfielders from running at the defenders. Aubrey David is going to play some big minutes in these next two months, and we can probably rest easy knowing that he is going to do so nicely.
Chris Seitz (A) – A dang shame that he didn’t get that shutout. He deserved one for sure. Soccer can be such a cruel game from time to time. Chris Seitz’ makes an excellent stop on the Plata shot, but is unable to do anything with the shanked shot that ended up sneaking in under the bar. Overall though, Chris played another great match. Hopefully he will be able to get that shutout next weekend against Houston.
Oscar Pareja (B+) - Even with the midfield being overrun by RSL, Oscar’s gameplan was still intact all the way up until the 77th minute. If Urruti or Barriors score on their chances we are all singing a different tune. Unfortunately it didn’t happen and FCD dropped their second game in twelve matches. It doesn’t get any easier for Oscar going forward though. He has a midweek game in Nicaragua and then a trip to Houston over the weekend. The guys hadn’t given up fighting at the end of the match, which is still a testament to Oscar. I have full faith that they will bounce back this week.
Tesho Akindele (B) - Came in at the start of the second half and wasn’t able to really get anything going. He did have one opportunity on a counter but misplayed a ball to Mauro which immediately killed off the attack. In a lot of ways, Tesho dealt with what the Barriors and Urruti were having to deal with. There was just a lack of service.
Getterson (B) - Was subbed in midway through the second half and I’m honestly not sure if he ever even got onto the ball. Saturday night was one of the matches where his inexperience of playing with the squad showed. Add on top of that, that Mauro wasn’t able to do anything out of the midfield and you have a recipe for disappointment. I do still think it’s too early to make any kind of of real judgement on him. Let’s be patient and see if he is able to grow into a role on this team.
Ryan Hollingshead (B) - FCD’s last sub of the evening to try to make sneak back a goal. Ryan wasn’t really able to get anything going, again, because there wasn’t anyone out on the pitch who was able to unlock RSL’s defense. It was a lot of trying to run onto deep balls thus meaning a lot of offsides/balls going out of bounds.
Overall, the game Saturday night didn’t go the way FCD wanted it to. RSL hasn’t lost a game at home all year and it’s easy to see why. They were tough, physical and continued to come at FCD. With that being said though, they were one shank of a goal and a cross bar away from the match going the other direction. I don’t think FCD is in a place of crisis or anything like that. I think they have played two desperate teams who have gotten some breaks, these last two games. With the loss Saturday night, Dallas has still gotten results from 10 out of the last 12 matches, which is outstanding. We have another big week ahead of with two more games on the schedule. Let’s enjoy them and hope we can end the week with at least four points, even though six would amazing. As always your comments are welcomed.