A 4-0 pummeling last night in Leg 1 of the CCL Quarterfinals yields high grades for the FC Dallas players. This game marked the first competitive match for FC Dallas in 2017. We got to see Hernan Grana, Roland Lamah, Christian Colmán, and Javier Morales for their first times in FC Dallas uniforms.
Chris Seitz: A
Seitz didn't have much to do all night, but he had good hands on a few crosses and had a two-handed punch to relieve pressure near the beginning of the match.
Maynor Figueroa: B
Figueroa's outing was not quite at the same level as his teammates. There were sloppy passes from Maynor, as well as an unnecessary yellow card.
Walker Zimmerman: A+
Was there any single 50/50 ball that Zimmerman didn't win? I would be very surprised if there was. Every time a ball went near the backline in the air, Zimmerman was there to win it. The newly capped USMNT defender was loud and called off his fellow teammates any time he could get himself to the ball. His passing out of the back wasn't perfect, but he had a phenomenal game.
Matt Hedges: A
Hedges had a solid and mostly uneventful first game of 2017. He held the line well and made the passes that he needed to.
Hernan Grana: A+
It is impressive how quickly Grana has been able to adjust after coming to FC Dallas and win a starting spot as a right fullback from Atiba Harris. The very recently acquired Argentinian sparked a promising chance early on down the right side of the field when he did a great move on an opposing defender before playing a dangerous cross to the back post that was a tough one for the Arabe Unido goalkeeper to handle. There were also multiple fantastic defensive tackles from Grana, who wouldn't give the wingers an inch. The only worry going into the season is that he appears to have a tendency to get caught up the field in the attack. Grana had to leave the match with an injury in the 84th minute.
Roland Lamah: A-
Lamah’s debut had its ups and downs. He almost began his FCD debut with a wonderful goal, but it was waved offsides. Lamah connected well with the rest of the FC Dallas attack and got an assist on Acosta's first goal, but he was hesitant on numerous occasions and wasted chances, like a first time volley that was put on a platter from Michael Barrios across the field that perhaps Lamah should've taken a touch to control before shooting.
Carlos Gruezo: A+
Gruezo started off his second year with FC Dallas with the kind of game that made him a fan favorite in Frisco last year. The midfield was completely controlled by FC Dallas, in a large part due to Gruezo. His defensive instincts are spectacular and he was the reason Acosta was allowed to roam into the attack, which leads to...
Kellyn Acosta: A+
A brace from FC Dallas' prized homegrown lead his team to victory. The formation change to a 4-4-2 with no true playmaker (until Morales came in) allowed Kellyn to roam a bit more, and he showed why he is such an important part of this club. Sometimes it's difficult to remember that he's only 21 years old!
Michael Barrios: A-
Mikey was relentless throughout the night. He went a full 90 minutes and worked tirelessly in the attack and was able to cap it all off with a nicely slotted home goal. Barrios had several bad turnovers that led to dangerous chances for Arabe Unido, but he showed that he could be a creator in the attack.
Christian Colmán: A-
A rising star! A goal during a stellar first half from FC Dallas' new #9 was followed by a more regretful second half in which there were two particular chances wasted: one when his touch let him down in front of goal, and the other on a breakaway when he overplayed a centering pass to Urruti. Colmán was able to show his pace, strength, and hold-up play, and created chance after chance during his 70 minute shift.
Maxi Urruti: A-
Urruti was all over the field, and hustled as usual to put the Panamanian club's defense under pressure. Urruti dropped back several times and won the ball to initiate counter attacks, which was nice to see. He can't be found on the score sheet, but that doesn't sum up a nice day of work from Maxi.
Coach Oscar Pareja: A+
The lineup played by Papi was strong all around, and he implemented his new guns nicely. Pareja made smart substitutions of Morales and Akindele, who both were able to kickstart the attack even more than it was already.
Javier Morales (Colmán, 70'): A
Real Salt Lake didn't have Javier Morales as their central cog to their attack for a decade for no reason. Morales has an extremely high awareness of what is going on around him on the pitch, and he made several eye-popping plays that looked effortless.
Tesho Akindele (Lamah, 75'): A+
Akindele was all over during his 15 minute shift, and managed two assists. His second one was particularly encouraging, as Tesho ravenously took on his defender one vs. one and timed his pass to Barrios perfectly so that Barrios just had to take a touch and poke it past the onrushing keeper.
Atiba Harris (Grana, 84'): N/A
Harris came on at the end of the match and didn’t have much to do one way or the other.
What are your thought’s about the individual player performances? Did you like what you saw from the debuts of Grana, Lamah, and Colmán? Was there anything I got wrong? Put it down in the comments below.