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Scratching the Chalkboard: You get what you give

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How a second-choice lineup led to a second-choice result

MLS: FC Dallas at Chicago Fire Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday night in Bridgeview, Illinois, FC Dallas was out-manned from the moment the starting lineups were released.

Chicago Fire enjoyed their fourth-straight victory after beating FC Dallas 2-1, Dallas’ second-straight loss. All three goals in the game were scored ten minutes in and — while some games have fluke moments of intense scoring — those ten minutes appropriately embodied each team’s performance.

As a caveat, FC Dallas did not bring a full-strength lineup into the match after playing last Saturday and facing another game this Sunday. Aaron Guillen was given just his third career start, Walker Hume his first career minutes (90 of them, to be precise) and Carlos Cermeno received just his second career MLS start. With those youngsters and a host of absent veterans, a performance like tonight isn’t really going to shock anyone. Regardless, let’s see how it broke.

It’s David Accam’s World, We’re Just Living in it

From the start of the match, it was clear that David Accam taking on Walker Hume’s side of the field was likely not going to go well. Yes, Matt Hedges did what he could to come shut down the speedy winger when possible, but Accam still had his way.

On top of scoring the winning goal in the 9th minute, Accam was 17/22 passing, tacking on three successful dribbles. Akin to Fabian Castillo’s style of play, he will come at a backline all game in the counter, always forcing a defense to be on its toes. For FC Dallas, this means the counter can’t be what it needs to be because the outside backs are constantly having to keep one eye on Accam, which showed tonight in an improved, but still lackluster attack.

Roland Lamah Was Better

Subject to everyone’s criticism the entire month of May, Roland Lamah finally scored a goal in MLS play and actually showed signs of life Thursday evening.

If you can get past the 14/26 passing, the Belgian international had two key passes, three successful dribbles and five recoveries. Maybe the bar is low, and maybe that’s okay, but if Lamah can simply be a consistent on-ball threat –– even without oodles of goals –– I don’t see how a winger spot won’t be his.

What can we take home?

While this feels like a bad loss (and which FC Dallas losses don’t), what can we take out of this performance, a second-consecutive defeat?

Walker > Walker

With Walker Zimmerman out of the lineup, the team was considerably less threatening in the air partially because of Zimmerman’s freakish ability to win duals, but also because Matt Hedges wasn’t able to rely on Zimmerman to independently cover his defensive half, instead having to assist Hume when needed. I can’t see FC Dallas having another game in which they’re consistently at-risk of allowing a goal like they were tonight if that pair is in.

Engine Trouble

Additionally, I believe in Kellyn Acosta and I really believe in Mauro Diaz. But when neither are in the line-up, and without Maxi Urruti to at least run around energetically, who is the attack’s engine? It seems absent without Acosta or Diaz in the middle, but that’s a massive oversight to not have more depth in that role. Carlos Cermeno only had three unsuccessful passes and delivered a couple solid corners, but was no real offensive threat going forward. I’m interested to watch how Oscar continues to tinker with the central midfield — thankfully it can’t get much more depleted than it was in this loss.