Part one of the Texas Derby has come and gone and we are no closer to getting our cannon back. The game itself started out full of intensity and action. However, as the match wore on, Houston seemed to settle in nice defensively while Dallas ran out of ideas going forward. We are now at four games without a victory? In that time, we have still managed to pick up a couple of draws, but it’s still a bit nerve racking.
The most frustrating bit about the team's offensive struggles is the lack of finishing or ‘luck’. They have created some really nice scoring opportunities but haven’t been able to capitalize on them. There are too many quality players on the squad for this trend to continue so it’s just really a matter of when. Until then, we will just impatiently wait, while pulling out our hair in the meantime. Anyway, enough of my ramblings, let’s see how the squad graded out.
Maxi Urruti - B
Maxi’s worst match of the year? He just wasn’t around the ball much all night. He had a couple of chances that he made out of nothing, but overall, he just was left alone on an island. With Houston playing their backline pretty far back, Maxi had no space to work in. When he got the ball in front of the backline, he didn’t really have anyone to pass too. It was definitely a frustrating night from him and I assume, for him..
Cristian Colman - B+
The most dangerous player on the field for FCD. If not for a nice save by Tyler Deric, Colman would have given FCD the lead in the first half. I feel bad for Cristian. He does everything right, except score. His positioning is spot on. His link up play is great. He makes great runs into the box. He just can’t score. It’s the darndest thing.
Roland Lamah - B
Had a couple of nice chances early on in the match but wasn’t able to capitalize on them. Rolly wasn’t able to get his head over a nice cross by Mikey in the first half. If he would have been able to, there was a lot of open goal to hit. Unfortunately, that was the majority of his contribution on the evening. He disappeared late in the first half and really never showed back up.
Michael Barrios - B+
Started out really fast and was a force early in the match. He had a couple of nice crosses into dangerous areas. Unfortunately, nothing came out of them. As the match wore on, Mikey seemed to fade out of it a bit. Early on, it looked like he was going to have a big night, but it just didn’t happen.
Kellyn Acosta - A-
Another solid match to go with his US call up. His free kicks have become something else. Tyler Deric was forced to make an acrobatic save on one, keeping the game 0-0. The one frustration I had about Kellyn’s game Sunday night was his inability to get the pace right on some of his long through balls. Granted, a lot of that could have been due to Houston sitting back and not leaving much space behind them, but he seemed to over hit a lot of his balls.
Carlos Gruezo - A-
I thought Carlos was great on the night. He was everywhere defensively. There was a time in the second half where Houston wasn’t able to get into the final third. A lot of that had to do with Gruezo closing down and being a ball hawk. He was everywhere on the night. Sure, the construction worker is there to chase down his errant shots, but defensively, he is a monster.
Matt Hedges - A+
Outstanding match for Matty. Hedges was a monster on the back line, winning headers, following and disrupting runs and stepping up to stop passes into the box. He marked Cubo all night and more or less shut him down. With Walker more or less missing the last two games, it’s clear that Matt still is the best defender between the two of them. His ability to cover for the other cb is incredible. In a lot of ways, it’s like he is able to play as two people. Also, it’s great to see Matty get called up to the USMNT. It’s more than deserved.
Walker Zimmerman - :(
I was at the match so I didn’t see the extent of the knee (?) injury. The way Walker was moving around after the collision didn’t look good. He was hobbling pretty bad and could barely move. Hopefully it’s just a knock with no damage done to the knee.
Maynor Figueroa - B+
I thought Maynor was pretty good Saturday night. He continued his great play defensively. Maynor hasn’t been talked about much this year, but he has been really really solid. He has eliminated, for the most part, the crazy tackles out of his game and has been more positionally sound. Last night he did really well getting forward as well.
Hernan Grana - B+
A solid from match Grana. Defensively, he was really solid. He did a nice job of closing down on defenders out wide. I thought he struggled a bit going forward. He just couldn’t figure out the final pass to unlock Houston’s defense. As a fullback, he shouldn’t be expected to beat defenses with a pass in the final third, but so is life without Mauro.
Jesse Gonzalez - A
Jesse was outstanding Sunday night. He made two ‘yuge’ saves, one in the first half, one in the second to keep the game tied at 0-0. Nothing against Chris Seitz, but I’m not sure if he makes either one of those saves. Jesse is something special and this team is definitely better with him on the field.
Atiba Harris - A
I thought Atiba played really well when he came in. He was closing down passing lanes, attacking the ball in the air and wasn’t getting caught up field. I was really nervous having him as a backup CB, but if he is next to Matty, then I’m not too worried. He did almost kill Matt at one point in the second half. Luckily both were okay, but that was a violent collision between those two.
Tesho Akindele - B
Possibly Tesho’s worst match of the season. He had absolutely nothing on the evening. He wasn’t able to dribble past anyone and wasn’t able to link up with anyone either. Sure, some of that has to be on Houston playing solid defense, but you want to see more from one of our super subs.
Mauro Diaz - Doesn’t Matter
He’s back!! Sure it was a short cameo but it was awesome to see him back out there. His timing was a bit off on his long balls and his free kicks weren’t the best, but who cares. It’s awesome to see Mauro back out there. This team will go as far as Mauro lets them, so seeing him back so soon and ready to get into a groove is terrific.
Oscar Pareja - B+
It’s tough to grade Oscar too harshly on the night. Yes, the team is in a bit of a slump, but they are still getting results. The team lost one of its best players in the first half, made a sub and really never skipped a beat. We have to keep reminding ourselves that this team will be judged on what they do in November and anything before that is warm up.
Due to a lack of service, he was pretty quiet most of the night. He did get the second loudest applause, behind Mauro entering the match, though. Hopefully Gruezo signs a ball for the construction worker at the end season since his shots seem to be the main reason he is up there.
Yes, Sunday night was a bit disappointing. However, getting a point against your rival isn’t the worst thing in the world. This team is in a bit of a slump, lost one of it’s stud cbs and still got draw. Definitely not the end of world.
RSL comes to town this weekend after playing midweek. Hopefully they do a bit of squad rotation because it looks like the starting CB pairing will be between Atiba, Hume, or Guillen. Lord help us.
That’s it for this week. As always, comments and feedback are welcome.