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Talking Points: FC Dallas in unfamiliar spot following first loss

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Dallas loses their first MLS match of the season

MLS: San Jose Earthquakes at FC Dallas Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

FC Dallas faced San Jose Earthquakes for the second time this season, trying to make amends for allowing a late equalizer by Jahmir Hyka back in April. However, it was the same Albanian who took the spoils giving Dallas their first MLS loss of the season, and the first loss since September 10, 2016 to Colorado Rapids.

No bark, no bite

For a team that boasts plenty of South American attacking talent, FC Dallas was held silent, not giving a shot on goal at all in until the 75th minute.

This is a stat that would come to a surprise to some, but for those who follow the club week in week out, not terribly surprising. Having only scored once in the opening 30 minutes this season, the team struggles to capitalize on their chances in the first half. I believe this goes in hand with Oscar Pareja going with the 4-2-3-1 formation. While this formation was successful whenever a certain Mauro Diaz is occupying the number 10 role. While Javier Morales is undoubtedly an MLS legend, the 37-year-old is just a bit off the pace with the style of play that is desired for Pareja. But you can’t blame JaviMo because he has played minimal minutes, Dallas plays a more open game with a 4-4-2, which tends to be more successful.

Time to give Lamah some time on the bench

For the last couple of months many have said it is too small of a sample size, but Roland Lamah has now played 10 MLS games for FC Dallas, and all he has to show is 12 shots, 4 shots on goal, and committed five fouls. The only attacker that has less shots on goal is Javier Morales, who has played 400 less minutes, and he even has a goal. His position is (supposed to be) left wing, but spent the majority of the first half playing more centrally, painfully close to Javier Morales.

In the 18th minute, Maynor Figueroa played a well placed ball down the wing, but it ended up going out of bounds because the Ivorian was cutting into the middle. In all fairness, whenever Barrios and Lamah switched wings in the 25th minute, Lamah seemed to have made more of an impact, playing a few good passes and made some strong tackles. However, Pareja felt that it was best to sub him off at halftime. In the press conference, Oscar Pareja reflected on the wing play from both sides, and Pareja said that he felt that it was best for Lamah to get a bit of a break. It is unsure whether he was stating for just the second half of the match, or going forward, but we may be seeing less of Roland Lamah on the pitch. With the Colombian manager being in a relatively positive mood in the presser, his tone of voice changed to a more disappointed mood when asked about Lamah’s play.

With that being said, who would be the ideal player to replace the Ivorian on the wing? The options are slim, Tesho Akindele is an option that has been popular for Pareja this season. Paxton Pomykal would be an option, but he just had knee surgery on Thursday and will be out roughly for the next month. Another choice may be the returning Ryan Hollingshead, however he has played a total of 4 minutes this season, so he may not be close to full fitness yet. Lastly, Atiba Harris may be an option, having spent a good portion of his career as a winger, it would not be a position that is unfamiliar to him. So in reality, the two main options are Roland Lamah or Tesho Akindele.

1st loss? Keep moving forward

It’s no secret that FC Dallas hasn’t been the attacking force that they normally are whenever Mauro Diaz is on the field, but they have taken their opportunities by the horns and have put on an impressive unbeaten run in the meantime.

Whether it be through the emergence of #YearofKellyn or Maximiliano Urruti having a career year, bolstered by Walker Zimmerman and Matt Hedges making their partnership stronger by the week, supported by an impressive midfield destroyer in Carlos Gruezo.

Oscar Pareja is hoping this is a blip, because the opponent they are playing on Thursday, Chicago Fire has arguably the best midfield in the league with Bastian Schweinsteiger and former Dallas player, Dax McCarty led by the golden boot leader Nemanja Nikolic. Time for Oscar Pareja to reinstall Busca La Forma into the locker room and to encourage strengthening the chemistry within the team to regroup after their first loss and pick up where they left off.

Did I miss a talking point? Drop it in the comments!