Good news - MLS is back! Thank the inexhaustible march of time for that wondrous gift.
Last week, we celebrated our first Workhorse of the fledgling season, deservingly going to Carlos Gruezo for his dominant performance against Arabe Unido at home.
This week, we have two games to consider: the away loss against Arabe Unido, which while a little disappointing was enough to secure passage to the next round of the CCL, and the huge opening win away at Los Angeles.
As usual, I invite you to consider the unsung hero across the two games that helped FC Dallas secure a head start on the season and progress to more championship gear.
But first, all hail the master coach, Oscar Pareja. Many of us were second-guessing the options that Pareja would roll out in these two games this past week. We expected to see some youngsters get minutes, which did happen, but we probably expected more rotation too. In the end, Pareja went all in, trusting that his guys needed minutes to continue to gel and that they would be up for the occasion.
I love that Pareja trusts his team and probably knows you can get a little too cute fiddling with lineups. FC Dallas needed to stave off a ferocious assault from Arabe Unido and start the season with a solid result. He got both by fielding strong lineups in each game.
Second, away wins are... uhhh... huge. (Are we tired of that word yet?) Away wins, in a long and brutal season, are like finding a diamond ring in your ice cream sundae. Or discovering that you’ve lost ten pounds by pure accident. Or getting an extra fat refund check from the IRS. Unexpected but incredibly appreciated. Most weeks, FC Dallas will prefer to come away with a point on the road. Starting the season with a huge 3 points on the road is pure gold.
This team definitely needs time to come together, but what we have seen already is promising. Let’s hope it continues.
Maynor Figueroa - Maynor had a good solid game in the MLS opener, and you could see why Pareja started him. Is he the greatest left back the world will ever know? Of course not, but he has oodles of experience, stays calm, and exhibits a similar kind of work ethic that Zimmerman and Hedges do. He was quiet and solid and deserves love from fans for being a drama free left back for a change.
Aaron Guillen - As a homegrown player, this seems to be his year. Pareja trusts him at the left back position and in the middle, and he can only gain from experience and playing time afforded him. I was a bit surprised he got the start in Panama, but what a growth opportunity! I can't wait to see more of him. He reminds me of a CB version of Victor Ulloa. He may not outclass you, but he is going to quietly do the work called upon.
Carlos Gruezo - Carlos had a difficult assignment in Panama, going up against a side that was poised to attack relentlessly, and I do think there is more he could have done in that game. But he didn’t have to be perfect. As he and Kellyn continue to figure out the best strategy to work together, it seems like he is filling out the more defensive-minded approach of the pair. Shield the back line. Break up attacks. Be a pest. Carlos is good.
Matt Hedges - Matt is the Captain. Matt is great. Vote for Matt.
- Who else would you suggest deserves a vote?
- How big is the away win in your opinion?
- How many away wins will FC Dallas get this year?
Vote and share below.