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What We Learned: Atiba Harris is still a makeshift center back

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Atiba Harris can score a goal, but that doesn’t change the fact that he is a depth piece.

MLS: FC Dallas at Colorado Rapids Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

FC Dallas games have become frustrating to watch. It took a center back’s goal and goalkeeping heroics to get FC Dallas a single point against a team that was already eliminated from playoff contention. Points are needed by this team badly, and they will need to show more than they did against Colorado when they play the Seattle Sounders next week, a team that is playing for a postseason position. Let’s get into some takeaways from FC Dallas’ 1-1 tie with Colorado:

Too little too late.

Many MLS fans like to say that you will find success in this league by winning your home games and tying your road ones. Doing exactly that in a season would get an MLS team 68 points, which is more than enough to win the league. Unfortunately, the winless run for FC Dallas has made every game that isn’t a win feel like a loss. In the past three games, FC Dallas has won once at home and tied twice on the road, but it isn’t enough to make it feel like the team is righting the ship. In the final 2 games FC Dallas has on the schedule, a road tie and a home win not only seems unlikely with the way Dallas is playing, but it wouldn’t even guarantee a playoff spot. If FC Dallas were in the Eastern Conference right now, 2 wins in the last 2 games probably wouldn’t even get FCD into the playoffs.

While the goal set by FC Dallas this year was not necessarily to get the Supporters’ Shield, it was to win the playoffs, and the team has not set themselves up well to make that goal likely. A first round bye in the playoffs is virtually impossible, a home Knockout Round game is a distant possibility that isn’t in Dallas’ hands anymore (other Western Conference results would make it impossible), and the team is struggling to drag themselves over the red line to even make it to the playoffs.

A road tie against the Colorado Rapids is certainly better than a road loss, but in these circumstances for FC Dallas, it feels like a loss.

A reminder that Atiba Harris is still a makeshift center back.

While it is easy to criticize Atiba Harris for some of his defensive plays on Saturday, you have to remember that he was a forward just a few years ago, and at the beginning of this season was a fullback. He is a backup center back who has done alright at the position. He is likely to make a mistake once in a while because center back is a new position for him. It is nice that he brings a set piece presence. Set pieces have been hard for FC Dallas defensively and offensively this year. Atiba Harris’ best position is still as a fullback, but FC Dallas has more fullback depth than center back depth at the moment.

Jesse Gonzalez is not looking back.

Jesse Gonzalez had heroics to save a result for FC Dallas for the second game in a row. He is giving Oscar Pareja little reason to think about switching the keeper out for Chris Seitz despite FC Dallas’ poor results.


FC Dallas will have Kellyn Acosta and Maynor Figueroa back from national team duty for their clash next Sunday against the Seattle Sounders. It is going to be tough to get a result in Seattle, but FC Dallas has put themselves into a position where it is important to get one.

Should FC Dallas have pushed harder than they already did for a win against Colorado knowing Colorado could be a threat on the counter? Or were you content with a tie? Comment below.