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FC Dallas vs Portland Timbers: Game grades

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A rainy night delivered some strong grades in the 2-2 draw.

MLS: Portland Timbers at FC Dallas Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

It was a rainy Saturday night in Frisco where we played one of the toughest teams in the league. The match was a highly contested one in which we were able to secure a draw. FC Dallas again ran into long stretches of play where they looked toothless. For a lot of the match, it seemed as if both teams were sitting back trying to counter on each other. The match looked more like a tennis game more than anything else.

If there is one thing that I am still really nervous about with this team is their ability, or better yet, inability to mark on set pieces. I will never understand why a team that is dominate in the air, has such an issue on seat pieces. We’ve been waiting for about year now for this to be ironed out and fixed and yet we are still here. Hopefully it gets better going forward because it is the only blaring weakness this team has at this time.

Enough out of me, let’s see how the team graded out.

Maxi Urruti - A+

Was there ever a doubt that he wasn’t going to have a good game against Portland? Maxi was all over the pitch Saturday night. He was tracking back, holding the ball up, making runs, taking defenders on and eventually scoring probably the goal of the year (for FCD) so far. Maxi will and should be a fan favorite. He is the heart of this team. Also, don’t look now, but he is on pace for 19 goals this year. It looks like we might have had that 20 goal a year player all along.

Tesho Akindele - A

In the first half, I thought Tesho was the most dangerous FCD player on the field. He was dribbling at players and stretching defenses with the over the top ball. I have been extremely impressed with Tesho so far this year. He has played really well and has honestly deserved the minutes we have gotten. I would love nothing more than him to take the next step and bag close to double digit goals this campaign.

Roland Lamah - B-

At this point, Rolly is possibly the most vilified player in the starting lineup. The annual salary dump that came out this week didn’t help his case any either. Seeing that Rolly is making $773k this year with the production he has offered so far isn’t what someone would call a success. Saturday night he seemed to be getting in other players ways. He kept sliding further and further inside and in sometimes running into Javi Mo. It seems like Rolly is still trying to figure it out. Hopefully he does and soon.

Javi Morales - B-

Javi struggle again Saturday night. The last two matches he has started have been against teams that are extremely strong in the midfield and both performances have shown that. Javi wasn’t able to sit back ping balls left and right. Instead, every time he got on the ball, he was pressured and forced to play it backwards. I would expect to him to start again this week and have a better performance as well. He will be ready to play his old team and RSL isn’t as stout in the midfield.

Kellyn Acosta - A-

Pretty solid night. A lot was asked of Kellyn on the night defensively and for the most part, he held up. Aside from the second Timber’s goal, that deflected off of Kellyn’s shins before making it’s way to Blanco, Kellyn played another solid match. Also, Acosta was a quality save away from having another goal on his record for the year. His ability to make something out of nothing has become quite impressive. Hopefully he continues this level of play for the rest of the year.

Carlos Gruezo - A-

Another solid performance for Carlos. He is such a rock in the middle and does a great job of covering for other players while they push forward. Even with the limited times Maynor and Grana pushed forward and got caught out, Carlos was there to clean up the mess. Also, I’ve really enjoyed watching Carlos game improve over the last year or so. His offensive passing has gotten significantly better. His improvement has made the 4-4-2 a more effective formation.

Matt Hedges - A

Overall, another solid performance for Matty. He was able to body with Adi all night and beat him for pace a couple times as well. It wasn’t one of the better matches for him in regards to his passing, but defensively he was very solid. The only really lapse in concentration was on the first goal. Him and Walker both marked ridgewell leaving Adi more or less free for a open header (a point that was also touched on during the 19th Minute Podcast - a great listen if you don’t already.)

Walker Zimmerman - A

I was really impressed with Walker all night. He did a really good job on Adi all night. Fernando is probably the toughest striker to mark in the league. Walker held his own against him all evening. He was able challenge Adi in the air as well as for pace. Adi was pretty quiet in the final third all night. Aside from Walker and Matt both marking the same guy on Portland’s first girl, leaving Adi open, Walker had a great night.

Maynor Figueroa - B+

Maynor was solid Saturday night. He didn’t bomb forward as often as we are use to but a lot of that was probably due more to the game plan than anything else. Maynor was able to limit Portland for most of the night. The one time he get beat, Portland. Sometimes that is all it take in soccer. Maynor’s inability to prevent the through ball in the box is what eventually lead to the second goal. Overall, I have been very happy with Maynor this year. I do get nervous, especially in bigger matches that he might lunge in a little too aggressively and get a straight red, but so far so good for him this year.

Hernan Grana - A-

Grana had a really good match Saturday night. Like Maynor, he was a lot more hesitant to push forward, which again could just be due to the game plan. When he did get forward, he was dangerous, linking up with players. In the second half, when FCD was pushing to equalize, a lot of the movement and passing went through him. It was Grana’s cross that lead to the Tesho goal. Also, I do feel that Grana is a lot more dangerous when he has Barriors ahead of him. Their ability to work off each other is extremely dangerous and quite profitable.

Jesse Gonzalez - B+

Jesse, by no means had a bad night. The two goals that were scored were put in places that Jesse wasn’t able to stop. On the first goal he was able to stretch and get a finger on the goal, but wasn’t able to get enough on it. Overall, aside from the two goals, Jesse wasn’t really tested for a lot of the night. It appears the starting job is his for the foreseeable future and ultimately his to lose.

Subs

Michael Barrios - A

As soon as Mikey came off the bench, the game changed. For the second time in two matches, Barriors coming off the bench around the 55th minute changed the match. I understand why Papi does it, but part of me wishes he was starting. Right now, there hasn’t been much spark on the field and he is one of the few players currently on the roster who can turn the tide of a match by himself.

Cristian Colman - B

I have a soft spot for Cristian. Yes he is struggling a bit right now. He is forcing a bit when on the ball, but can you blame him? He wants to show that he is worth the money and it’s in his head. He is still making good runs and is holding up the ball nicely. The only thing missing is that final touch. He will get it and will be off and running bagging scoring goals.

Atiba Harris - NA

The closer. #GoodGuyAtiba came in and helped see the game out. His role has obviously been reduced this year, but he is nice to have off the bench. His height is a definite plus late in games to cut down on any crosses and his fresh legs allow him to run down players. Also, Saturday night, he came in for Grana who was sitting on a yellow. Atiba might not be a sexy pick off the bench, but he is solid player who serves a purpose and does it really well.

Oscar Pareja - A

This team just doesn’t quit. Being down, twice, and still getting a result against a really good team is quite impressive. Sure, it was at home, but games against Portland are never easy and still getting a point is big. It’s always cool to see when players score them running over to Papi. Maxi did just that Saturday and in a lot of ways it shows the team is still all in and fighting for him and their teammates.

Construction Worker - A-

Bob wasn’t too busy on the night. I don’t think he had to get out of his chair once, or even put that fancy hard hat of his on. He made up for his lack of effort with sitting out in the rain. He was more dedicated than about 80% of the fans. He is the type of fan we are all aiming to be.

At the end of the day, you really can’t complain too much about a point against one of the two teams in MLS. Sure, a win would have been awesome, but a draw isn’t the end of the world. FCD looks to get back to their winning ways this Friday against RSL, a team that is depleted defensively (missing their 3 top CBs). I expect a few goals, hopefully from Colman, to get everyone’s confidence soaring again.

As always, let me know what you think and if my ratings are awesome (which they are) or terrible (which they aren’t)