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FC Dallas vs Portland Timbers: What we learned

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After grinding out another result at home, can FC Dallas remain undefeated until their magic little unicorn gets back?

MLS: Portland Timbers at FC Dallas Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

After tying the Portland Timbers 2-2, FC Dallas will remain undefeated in the 2017 season, but FC Dallas fans had hoped for more than a draw in this matchup. These two teams could have some really interesting games against each other later in the season with both Mauro Diaz and Diego Valeri back for their respective teams.

Here are some thoughts from the game:

Javier Morales is not Mauro Diaz

FC Dallas' formation to start the match was the same as the standard one last year, but with the playmaking role being given to Javier Morales as a replacement for Mauro Diaz. The problem is, Morales and Diaz don't play the same way. Javier Morales thrives in an opposition's half of the field, but as shown in this game, he doesn't contribute much to getting the ball into the attacking half. Diaz in this type of game against a high-pressing opponent would drop back to get the ball and look to play an (almost always pinpoint accurate) through ball to a winger or forward, who would be able to find space because the opposition is pushed forward. Javier Morales' legs don't seem to be able to carry him rapidly back and forth across the field.

FC Dallas really began to threaten as soon as Javier Morales was taken off the field and the team switched formations to a 4-4-2.

Maxi Urruti learned to stop hitting posts

Urruti has been absolutely outstanding for FC Dallas this year, and continued his great start with another fantastic performance. The questions last year were about his finishing ability. His work rate got plenty of credit, but his goal rate could've been higher. Urruti found the back of the net again on Saturday, which brought his goal total to five in all competitions this year. Last year, the number of times Urruti hit the post or crossbar was astounding, and this year he hasn't hit the post a single time that I can remember.

Urruti appears to have practiced his shooting this offseason, and he has been so delightful to watch because of it. His transition play passing may not be the best, but that isn't what he is on the team for. His goal against Portland reinvigorated FC Dallas fans' appreciation for Maxi Urruti, as both a team player and a goalscorer.

It isn't the same equation, but it should be noted that fans were just as frustrated about Urruti's lack of finishing last year as they are for Colmán this year. Make of that as you will, but It is way too early to be calling Colmán a bust for a few frustrating misses at the beginning of the year.

Akindele's best spot on the field

Tesho Akindele got his first goal of 2017 in this game. He has had a slow start to the season and this should take some weight off his back. Akindele has played on the wing for the last couple games, but that isn't his best position. He is much better as a striker in a two-forward lineup. As soon as Pareja shifted the formation and put Akindele up top in the second half against Portland, he scored. It may not have been the prettiest goal, but he scored, just like he has so many times in that position in the past.

Other notes:

Grana had another great performance. Hernan Grana had another clean game, and is quickly shutting out the haters. His assist on Akindele's goal was excellent.

Card accumulation. Figueroa leads the league in yellow cards with four. If he gets a fifth any time soon, he will be suspended one game.

Set piece defending. Defensive set piece issues don't seem to be past this FC Dallas squad yet. Fanendo Adi should definitely not be left that wide open right in the middle of the box from a set play.

Roland Lamah continues to disappoint. Pareja has given Lamah plenty of minutes and he hasn't given much in return to show why he should continue to get minutes.

Can FC Dallas beat the high press? Portland didn't do anything special the first half, they just pressured FC Dallas very high up the field. It completely shut FCD down and stuck them in their own half. FC Dallas are going to need to figure out ways to beat that trap. One way could be by starting Barrios and maybe Colmán who has shown some speed, too.