Congratulations to Paxton Pomykal for his first Workhorse of the Week nod for his efforts at Sporting Kansas City. Great game, young’un.
Managing schedules is one of the many challenging things a coach has to do over the course of a season, so I have to hand it to Oscar Pareja for figuring out a way to come away with two big results this past week against Liga MX rep, Pachuca, in CONCACAF Champions League action and then opening up the home field against visiting New England. Players were rotated, and tactics adjusted. FC Dallas got it done. Beautiful stuff!
My Advice: Don’t Panic
Team sports are about talent and athleticism, but they are also about teamwork. Sure, I wish FC Dallas had a player they could throw on the field to score goals just by running at opponents with superior dribbling skills and slotting balls home, but soccer ain’t that kind of game. Even Messi needs capable support around him to make it work. FC Dallas, like any team in the early run of things, is figuring stuff out. New players are getting acquainted with each other’s tendencies. Tactics and game plans and instructions are being reinforced.
In both the game against Pachuca and New England, you could see those early season jitters on display. Can Urruti and Colman figure out how best to play together? Will Lamah settle down and simplify his approach? Is Zimmerman ready to take the next step? Is Grana really the answer at right back? How are Gruezo and Acosta going to work out their balance? Lots of unanswered questions.
I think the downside of this is that it makes it difficult for guys like Michael Barrios who know their roles but are having to relearn some things with new teammates.
Change isn’t easy.
For us fans, I know we can get impatient and hope this team can wrap up the Supporter’s Shield victory by June, but it’s important not to panic and let this journey play itself out.
These early minutes are going to pay dividends. Though we will see moments of frustration, we are going to begin seeing moments of dazzling soccer too. Hold on tight.
Urruti is the answer.
FC Dallas’ two MVPs out of the gate have been Kellyn Acosta and Maxi Urruti. Kellyn is having one of those campaigns, especially if he can maintain his form, that will end in his hasty exist from MLS and on to bigger things in Europe. But Urruti continues to be a fascinating story too.
Don’t forget - Maxi is potentially in his prime. He’s only 26. His reputation has always been that of a hard worker, role player, and streaky scorer. He was appreciated in Portland even if ultimately let go as surplus or to trim their budget. FC Dallas needed a solid scorer, but would Urruti clamp down the spot and revamp his slightly tarnished image?
The front office’s search for a 15 goal striker may have been over before it began, even before Colman was signed for a chunk of change and brought to Frisco.
Urruti may simply be the answer.
Without a doubt, Urruti is the hardest work striker in MLS. I watch other games, and I know that seems a ridiculous thing to say. But it’s true - Urruti works his butt off all over the field to help his team. His defensive effort and his hustle late in games is incredible stuff. He is a quintessential workhorse.
And then he still scores, and it’s glorious stuff:
If Urruti can keep this up, FC Dallas will be in excellent shape.
Vote, you fools!
It’s time to vote. Here’s my recommendations:
Walker Zimmerman - He didn’t start out quite so perfect against Pachuca, he recovered and gave another full 90 against New England.
Matt Hedges - Two 90 minute games. And at times, Matt Hedges was so far up the field, that I wondered if he has a future in another position. Stout performance all around.
Maynor Figueroa - Two 90 minute games, bringing some calm, no-nonsense type work across the board. I like Maynor’s poise and veteran savvy to a tough position. (And now he's suspended because of a bad tackle. Hmm.)
Kellyn Acosta - Kellyn is our hero. Great, hard, dirty work.
Vote below and tell us who you voted for and why!