On Thursday, FC Dallas traveled to face what was once a strong rivalry, but over the years with conference restructures, is a Chicago Fire we do not face often. The Brimstone Cup was on the line, but then again, on Sunday is the first match for the coveted El Capitan as Dallas takes on Houston, so Oscar Pareja knew where his priorities were when it came to team selection.
The likes of Maximiliano Urruti, Walker Zimmerman, Kellyn Acosta and Jesse Gonzalez were all left home to be rested for the rivalry match this weekend. This provided Pareja with a team selection that showed only Matt Hedges making the cut for defense.
This lineup selection also saw the professional debut of SuperDraft pick Walker Hume, who did have a bit of a shaky game, but you could probably blame that on nerves, and not making into the starting XI until 12 matches into the season. Once he got past the opening 20 minutes, he seemed to have settled into the game.
Dallas also played with a rarely used 4-5-1. I liked the idea of this, with playing this heavily rotated against arguably one of the strongest midfields in the league, playing a formation that clogs the midfield is the best thing to do, it’s a more conservative formation given the players, but it was the right choice.
Dallas did not have many chances, given that the only shot on goal was Lamah’s goal (but we’ll get to that in a bit) and it was clear that Pareja’s objective was to clog that destructive midfield and prevent service to Golden Boot contender, Nemanja Nikolic.
Monkey off the back
Roland Lamah. Yes, the fabled replacement for (former) fan favorite, Fabian Castillo. He had come in with bags of experience all over Europe, but had struggled to replicate his experience stateside. The Ivorian had often been the victim of scapegoating this season, due to his lack of end product and the high salary that he is being paid. Many (including myself) believed that for the cost, he needed to be providing more goals and assists.
One of my main concerns was that Lamah struggled to hold on to the ball, and the play seemed a little too fast paced for him. What we as fans often forget is that Roland Lamah had not played a professional match for over six months prior to him signing for Dallas, and it is going to take a little while to find his groove. In the woeful game against San Jose, Lamah, although not playing great, was playing one of his better games in the shirt.
In the 6th minute, thanks to a botched clearance and a Cristian Colman deflection, Roland Lamah tapped the ball in past Lampson. Having watched FC Dallas consistently, some may be surprised that he would’ve scored that, as he has had plenty of easy chances that went just wide, this time luck was in his favor, and he got his first MLS goal.
Another thing to note, is that the assist by Colman was FC Dallas’ 1,000th in franchise history. Only four other clubs have that tally. So, yay! Moral victory for Colman.
Expect to be full strength Sunday
I don’t think this point needs much of an introduction. Dallas has played a large number of matches on the front end, between MLS and CCL, and rotation was needed at some point. Houston is actually solid this year, and Wilmer Cabrera have kicked the Dynamo into shape to where they could be a playoff contending team.
My only question mark going into Sunday is that Carter Baum reported that homegrown Jesse Gonzalez is treating a slight leg knock. It is unclear as to the extent of this injury and if he will be in contention for the weekend match. In the meantime, keep on the lookout as to if Jesse will pass the fitness test leading up to the weekend.