A reserve-heavy FC Dallas earned a point on Wednesday night with a 1-1 draw at Nicaraguan champions Real Esteli in the team’s second CONCACAF Champions League group stage game of the season. Elvis Figueroa’s early goal was immediately cancelled out by a rare Atiba Harris header and although both teams huffed and puffed for the rest of the game, there were no further goals and it finished honors even in FCD’s first competitive fixture in Central America since 2011.
The biggest positive to take from this game is that FCD managed to walk out of Nicaragua without defeat and any injuries whilst getting the opportunity to rest at least six regulars ahead of the massive Texas Derby away to Houston this weekend. Although a win would have been the ideal result, a draw in a hostile environment and without so many starters was a decent outcome and sometimes you just have to take what you can get.
Defensively the team did fairly well again too, limiting Esteli to just two shots on target and not allowing them to make the most of their possession. Going forward things may not have been too handsome, but at the back things were more than under cover for Dallas throughout the game.
Probably the lowest point out of the game is that there weren’t really any impressive individual displays on the team, which almost surely contributed to the poor quality of the game and why FCD wasn’t able to walk away with more than just a point. Juan Ortiz and Victor Ulloa struggled to advance buildup plays and take the ball forward throughout, Mauro Rosales played much like you’d expect a 35-year old to, while each of Getterson, Ryan Hollingshead, and Tesho Akindele were again disappointing, which doesn’t help any of their claims to be a regular starter in offense. Just six created chances and two on target doesn’t speak well for their efforts in a game like this one and they’ll need to do more if they are to land a full-time starting role in this team going forward from here.
Dallas will now head back to Texas for the derby against Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday evening. The match will be an El Capitan decider and a massive fixture in the Supporters’ Shield race as we go into the decisive final games of the MLS regular season.