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Scratching the Chalkboard: New isn’t always better

Dallas relied on familiar faces to get the job done

MLS: New England Revolution at FC Dallas Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

New is almost always exciting. A new car. A new home. A new smartphone. A new relationship. Some of that excitement is legitimate as a new home may be bigger or a new phone have the better specs you’ve wanted. But often times, the excitement is merely from the idea and the hope of what could be, rather than what it actually is.

This past off-season, FC Dallas reloaded their roster to provide the most depth we’ve probably ever seen at this club. A record transfer fee striker, an international winger and an experienced, natural right back are all exciting on paper but sometimes they don’t quite work out as planned.

Dallas’ newest signings did not have the best of weeks and Oscar Pareja had to lean on some of the old guards to get the job done.

Forgettable Night for Colman

These were all of Colman’s touches from last night’s 2-1 come from behind victory over the New England Revolution. All. Of. Them. Granted, this is just 45 minutes of action, but when you give up a penalty and are unable to register a shot or create a scoring chance for your own team, that’s troubling.

To be fair, based on the early tactical game plans that Pareja has used so far this season, it appears Colman’s contribution is to occupy space and disrupt the defense with his off ball movement (something that won’t show up on a chalkboard). Colman is not asked to do hold up play or link up with the rest of the team. In other words, he’s playing a similar role to Chicharito; move around, get behind the defense, sit between the defense’s shoulder and finish.

Obviously it hasn’t worked out too well so far, though the service to him was also non-existent last night as well.

Even More Forgettable for Lamah

Roland Lamah seemed like the perfect replacement for the departed Fabian Castillo. He doesn’t provide the same game-breaking speed and terror to the defense, but he’s also not marred by poor decision making and turnovers. Lamah’s night though was pretty awful to say the least.

Outside of one solitary key pass, Roland was basically a turn over machine in the attacking half. Green is good. Red is bad. More green in the final third = good. More red in the final third = bad.

I fully expected him to be taken off sometime in the second half, given his performance and what Paxton Pomykal was doing and providing:

Pomykal was much better in maintaining possession for Dallas, was tidy on the ball and solid with his defensive assignments. Unless he was gassed, I was surprised he was subbed off instead of Roland.

Urruti and Barrios Lead the Way

Maximiliano Urruti’s contributions were obvious. Two delicious goals, nearly a third for his first hat-trick and Urruti is continuing where he left off in 2016. And much like Urruti, Michael Barrios also showed why he co-led the team in scoring last season with Urruti (9 goals) and reminded everyone that he’s also a key contributor to this team.

Barrios was a little unlucky to not get on the score sheet himself, but did well to get behind the Revolution defense on multiple occasions to stretch them and get Dallas back in the game.

Defense Continues to Shine

The attacking four of Kei Kamara, Lee Nguyen, Juan Agudelo and Diego Fagundez is well noted. Those are four players who have all scored at least seven goals in a season, and are each capable of hitting double digit tallies. That penalty that Dallas conceded aside, to no fault of any of the defenders, was the only problematic moment in the entire game. Otherwise, the Dallas defense led by Matt Hedges, Walker Zimmerman, Maynor Figueroa and Hernan Grana kept the Revolution attack to just four total shots against Chris Seitz.

That’s three shots in the first 12 minutes (including a penalty), and New England were unable to register another shot until the 68th minute.

Not sure why Jay Heaps had his team stop pressing so aggressively after the 20th minute. His team was well rested and should’ve had the legs when compared to Dallas who had just completed a mid-week match against Pachuca. Taking the foot off the pedal certainly allowed Dallas back into the match, but credit to the Dallas defense for making sure that penalty was really the last chance New England would have.

Obviously the new signings have not worked out the way many of us have hoped, but it would be foolish to write Colman, Lamah and Grana (had a bit of an off week himself too) when the 2017 campaign isn’t even a month old yet. Pareja has typically given new players to the league several months before giving them starts to acclimate them to MLS and if you remember correctly, it took Barrios a little while to find his footing in this league too. Yes, it was a bad night, but give them more time to turn good before writing them off.