While our vote totaled dipped a bit down last week, Kellyn Acosta came away with the big win in last week’s Workhorse tally. He has really been MVP material so far this season. I hope he can keep it up.
Let’s turn our attention to the game at Sporting Kansas City.
The Road Draw Philosophy
Last year, I remember reflecting on the perfect kind of season for an MLS team. While winning every game would be incredible, parity in the MLS makes that a near impossible feat. Winning at home is to be expected at minimum (which makes the Los Angeles Galaxy’s opening to this season brutal for their prospects). Away games are where the ground can be made up, where the edge between a Shield winner comes into focus. Last year, FC Dallas did pretty well, despite dropping some points here and there and getting blown out every so often. The goal at least is to come away on road trips with a draw, a single precious point.
Theoretically then, if FC Dallas won every home game and drew every road game, they would end up with 68 points (51 home points and 17 away points). That incidentally would tie the most points in a season by LA back in 1998. Remember too that FC Dallas won the Shield last season with just 60 points, so there is usually some wiggle room to that torturous expectation.
All of that is to point out how big the result against Sporting Kansas City was. FC Dallas did not play the prettiest soccer in the world, but they did what they needed to do in a congested part of their schedule to come away with a result. This was a soccer clinic on display. Pareja rotated guys, including some rookies (Jacori Hayes) and a continued experiment at left back (Aaron Guillen), which should make it all the more frustrating for Sporting Kansas City who managed less shots on goal than FC Dallas.
Incredible result that has FC Dallas on track for hardware (though it’s going to be a long season).
Sporting Kansas City was really bad. Really, really bad. It’s early days for every team, as we have seen that plenty of squads start hot and then taper off as coaches and staff figure out their weaknesses. SKC might very well clamber into the playoff hunt, but their display against an FC Dallas "B" team should have their fans fidgeting in their armchairs. Feilhaber was frustrated throughout the game, which points to his inability to break down FC Dallas who AGAIN WERE STARTING ROOKIES AND NEWCOMERS. All the more sweet was that Bruce Arena was at that game.
Vermes, who I once thought of as a future USMNT head coach, whined after the game about FC Dallas parking the bus. But FC Dallas had MORE SHOTS ON GOAL THAN SPORTING KANSAS CITY. FCD was looking for a vital point in a very tough environment to play, and they achieved their result all the while resting key players. It’s an incredible result, and Sporting Kansas City only has their lack of creativity (and old legs) to blame.
Vermes should call up Coach Pareja this week and ask him for advice.
I know it can be frustrating to play a better team than you (aka you stink SKC), but if you were nervous about FC Dallas incorporating new faces in their deep squad, this result gives us a glimmer of hope to what this season may look like when all is said and done.
Voting is now open for this week’s Workhorse in that hard-working, gritty draw at Sporting Kansas City. Here are my suggestions:
Matt Hedges: The Captain was the anchor in keeping a shutout and keeping this lineup organized. Stellar work.
Aaron Guillen: Aaron had a bad challenge early on that earned him a yellow. He's young and raw and probably not really suited to be a left back, but he road out the full 90, showing how he might end up being one of the unsung, no nonsense defenders in this team. I like this kid’s workhorse-like spirit.
Carlos Gruezo: Carlos had another one of those quite games, but FC Dallas’ intention was to clog the midfield. Carlos was the wad of toilet paper in Sporting Kansas City’s pipes that they just couldn’t undo. (Apologies for this poor analogy.) The guy was relentless as usual and probably had some extra work to do with Cermeno and Hayes getting some early minutes with him.
Paxton Pomykal: Let's give love to another homegrown, earning his first start at the tender age of 17 on the road in the raucous Kansas City environment. Great performance, flashing skill on the ball, some good touches, and solid vision. The future is bright, and his performance was pretty savvy, even helping the team with a little time wasting.
Anyone else you would recommend?