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Workhorse of the Week vs. Portland Timbers

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FC Dallas lost at Portland. What did you expect though? Come inside and vote for your standout player from the match.

MLS: FC Dallas at Portland Timbers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Congratulations to Michael Barrios with an overwhelming number of votes for his first Workhorse nod of the year.

So, what did you expect?

I don’t like being on a soapbox, but if you are new to MLS, away games are largely difficult affairs. Winning and drawing a few tends to be the difference between the best teams and the worst teams in this league. Matches against supposedly weaker teams are never a given either. You just don’t what is going to happen - bounces can go either way, but they tend to favor the home team.

Portland has always been a difficult place for FC Dallas to get results. Is it a combination of the hostile environment, turf, and long travel distance? Probably.

That’s why I was not surprised to see FC Dallas lose 2-0 on Saturday night.

FC Dallas went into the game missing its two main center backs and starting left back, not to mention a guy named Kellyn Acosta who just went 90 minutes for the USMNT at Azteca. FC Dallas has some good spots of depth, but CB is the one place where we knew going into the season they could use some veteran help. Atiba Harris is a decent work-in-progress veteran there, but otherwise, you are looking at rookie Walker Hume or maybe Aaron Guillen. And if you shift Guillen into the middle, who plays left back? Maybe the plan was to have Anibal Chala there, but he’s on loan now.

Tough situation for any coach to deal with.

Portland are good and savvy enough to take advantage of anything a team gives them, and they certainly did that here. Combined with some poor finishing and a failure to generate many opportunities, FC Dallas didn’t have much going for them overall.

So, what were the positives?

Youngsters

One of my mantras is that I would rather watch my team lose when fielding a bunch of young’uns than watch them get crushed with a roster of veterans. Walker Hume, Aaron Guillen, Cristian Colman (more on him later), and Jesse Gonzalez continue to get opportunities and minutes. While it did not pay off in points on the road, the coaching staff and fans are getting a glimpse of what these kids have to offer going forward.

Let’s start with Guillen. I like the competitiveness and steadiness of this guy. Sure, he’s not actually super young at age 23, but he has earned the trust of Pareja to play in some tough games. He keeps getting minutes and will likely get more over the course of the season. Is he an MLS worthy starter? No. Is he a potential bench/rotation guy? Yes. Playing him at left back is beginning to be more of a challenge because he does not help the team going forward, but he can be a decent enough defender and tends to be somewhat steady. We don’t see spectacular but we also don’t see tons of major mistakes. With that said, he deserved to be subbed off on Saturday - not his best game. I think he’d be better long term at CB.

Walker Hume is also an interesting youngster to get more minutes. This is his second start, and you can see glimpses of why he might be a steal for FC Dallas. He has size and some poise in the back. There is the obvious adjustment to the speed of play and need for better communication. There were moments when he made the absolute right decision and other times when he wasn’t where he needed to be. Overall, each start gives the coaching staff and Hume himself a chance to see what the future might hold. With Walker Zimmerman still out for a bit, expect to see Hume get more minutes, maybe even this week in Open Cup play. I think he has definite upside.

Jesse seems to have claimed the No. 1 spot and appears to be working on his communication and decision skills. Some of it will come with just more experience and more situations to deal with. I wish he had done a little better on the opening goal, but there wasn’t much, beyond a miracle, for him on the second. Will he play for the US? Yes.

Finally, Cristian Colman is the 2 million dollar question mark. For starters, let’s be patient with the guy. He’s young. He has so many adjustments to make, and the expectations in the fanbase are pretty high. I still think next year will be the year to judge him more completely. With that said though, this was just embarrassing.

I hope more minutes does him good, and yes, he probably starts in the Open Cup game which might be just what the doctor ordered. However, think about Pareja’s opening lineup on Saturday. Even though Tesho had come in late, released by the Canadian National Team, and had not practiced with the team, he still got the nod over Colman for the start. That says a lot.

Vote

I don’t know who to recommend from the game, but I don’t think throwing a vote toward Walker Hume, Carlos Gruezo, or Victor Ulloa is unthinkable. Maxi Urruti was his usual competitive self. However, that tantalizing option of No One also reigns supreme.

Poll

Cast your vote for the Workhorse of the Week.

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    Jesse Gonzalez
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Hernan Grana
    (0 votes)
  • 11%
    Atiba Harris
    (1 vote)
  • 22%
    Walker Hume
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Aaron Guillen
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Carlos Gruezo
    (0 votes)
  • 22%
    Victor Ulloa
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Mauro Diaz
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Michael Barrios
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Roland Lamah
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Ryan Hollingshead
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Maxi Urruti
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Tesho Akindele
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Cristian Colman
    (0 votes)
  • 33%
    No One
    (3 votes)
9 votes total Vote Now