Like clockwork, after a red hot start the league campaign, FC Dallas inevitably are hitting their summer swoon. In 2014, the club went through an 8 game win-less skid from April 26 to June 7. In 2015, Dallas had a 6 game win-less streak spanning from May 15 to June 26. In 2016, FCD endured a three game losing streak from April 23 to May 11. Dallas is now on their own 4 game win-less streak for 2017 and more troubling is the fact that they’ve been win-less at home for four straight matches too.
Of course, this “troubling” narrative is also misleading given the fortuitous start to the season as nobody expected Dallas to start this well without Mauro Diaz and Ryan Hollingshead available. It was inevitable that Dallas would eventually regress back to the mean. Is it time to panic? No. Absolutely not.
Remember, this is MLS, where literally (and I don’t use that term liberally) anything is possible. Last year’s Shield contenders with FCD, the Colorado Rapids, are dead last with a five game losing streak. The Philadelphia Union started the season 8 games without a win, then broke off to win four in a row. These wild streaks are just prone to happen in this league, and it happens to everyone.
That being said, there are some adjustments that can be made for Dallas to start putting points in the pocket again.
Yes, Roland Lamah finally got on the score sheet last week against Chicago. (Something that still can’t be said for Cristian Colman.) But Lamah just isn’t the right fit for this team or league, for now. I still have high hopes that he’ll come good eventually; he has the experience and pedigree but things just aren’t working for him.
2015 Castillo: .63 G+A/90, 9.32 dribbles/90, 43% dribble success rate— Ben Baer (@BenBaer89) May 29, 2017
2017 Lamah: .22 G+A/90, 4.35 dribbles/90, 26% dribble success rate
Obviously, Lamah cannot be a direct Castillo replacement and to think so would be foolish. Nobody in this league, with the exception of maybe Kekutah Manneh, can bring what Castillo did in terms of breakneck speed and the ability to stretch a defense. However, Lamah has to offer something on the wing for a team that is currently operating on the counter.
Yes, Lamah doesn’t turn the ball over very much and his hold up play is decent. But Tesho brings all the same positives (and negatives) that Lamah brings and at this point, is a much better finisher than Lamah is.
Lamah continues to get the starts probably because he’s a workhorse in practice and is getting his assignments right. But, you can’t have a 26% dribbling success rate, on the wing, for a team that’s playing on the counter.
Dallas desperately needs Ryan Hollingshead to be fully fit so he can have a run at the left wing. Before you scoff at that idea, do keep in mind that Hollingshead’s dribble rate was 47% and 46% in 2016 and 2015 respectively. Hollingshead can get around his defender and stretch the opposition defense better than most give him credit for.
Bench Lamah. Get Hollingshead fit. Quickly.
Ease Off Colman
Every year, the fan base gets highly anxious about one player on the team. In 2013 it was Jackson. 2014 - Je-Vaughn Watson. 2015 - Michel. 2016 - Atiba Harris. It’s this really strange habit of directing your anxiety and blame for nearly everything that goes wrong towards one particular thing.
2017 is no exception with a large chunk of the blame falling to Cristian Colman. Take for example this play off a beautiful through ball from Kellyn Acosta:
What exactly are people expecting from Colman here? Unless it was Sebastian Giovinco on the receiving end of that pass, I’m not sure there’s another player in this league that could’ve done anything more with it given the way Tyler Deric came out and covered his angles.
In addition, aside from Acosta’s free kick in the 27th minute, Colman was the only player to register a shot on target. It didn’t show up on the Chalkboard, but there was a moment in the second half where Colman chased down a loose ball that was headed out for a Houston goal kick. His hustle turned a sure goal kick for Houston into an FCD throw in deep in Houston’s half.
Yes, Colman needs to finish and start scoring at some point. But in the absence of scoring, you want to watch what else he’s bringing to the table. Remember, Maximiliano Urruti also went through a long dry spell of 1043 minutes without scoring. However, Urruti stayed in the starting lineup because he was doing other things well for Oscar Pareja: defensive pressure, positioning, movement and chance creation.
No striker is going to score every game, but what does need to happen is for the player to bring something of value during the match. At least for now, Colman brings that. His movement off the ball and relentless pressure compliments well with Urruti and he’s at least forcing saves out of the keepers rather than missing the goal entirely.
That’s at least something more than what Lamah is currently offering. Finally, remember “Cubo” Torres went goal-less in 2015 and 2016 (though he only did play in a combined 740 minutes across those two seasons) and now he’s leading the Dynamo attack with 9 goals. Colman is getting a lot of things right like getting his shots on frame and is just inches away from scoring. Just like Torres, Colman just needs a few adjustments (Hi, Mauro Diaz) to get him firing away.