FC Dallas traveled south to play their rival last Friday night. The game was, especially the first half, pretty much a snooze fest. The team did exactly what they needed to do. They went on the road and walked away with a point. An impressive feat figuring they had to come from behind to make it happen. Add on top of that, that Houston doesn’t drop that many points at home and it looks any better.
Is it selfish to want more out of the last couple of matches than we have gotten? Yes, we have gotten some draws of late, but it seems like we have had opportunities to get three points and haven’t been able to make it happen. Everyone will tell you that if you average one point on the road over the course of the season, then you are doing something right. When you’re in the middle of it however, it can be pretty frustrating.
Even with the so-so outcome there are a couple of things that we can take out of the match from Friday night.
Matt Hedges is human
Houston’s lone goal was from a rare mistake from Matt Hedges. We are, without a doubt spoiled by Matty. He is always in the right position. He covers for weaker CBs and constantly makes the hard plays the look very easy. However, Friday night, he reached in for a ball that allowed Cubo Torres to turn him and put a nice shot on goal. It was his only mistake in the match and ultimately it cost the team. Other than that, he was outstanding.
It’s hard to really be too mad at Matt. He is the heart and pulse of this team. Over the course of the year, he will make way more great plays than gaffs and that will eventually lead to way more points than the one’s lost by his hands (or feet).
Matt is now with the USMNT team and will miss at least the next two matches and possibly more. This backline is about to be tested and I am kind of worried about it. I don’t feel too confident about Atiba Harris and Walker Hume trying to handle the likes of Jozy, Michael Bradley and most importantly Sebastian Giovinco.
Mauro isn’t there yet
It’s pretty amazing that Mauro Diaz is back on the field and playing only eight month after rupturing his achilles. He is clearly rusty. Mauro had a couple of moments of brilliance Friday night but just wasn’t able to put it all together. He would wiggle free from a defender but miss a through ball. He would draw a foul in a dangerous spot, but wasn’t able to do anything with the free kick. His game just isn’t there yet.
It’s hard to be patient, but it honestly doesn’t matter if he is struggling right now or not. We need him to be clicking come October, not July. The more game minutes he gets now, the better suited he will be come later in the season. I want it all to come together now, but I have to keep reminding myself to be patient. I force myself to look at small victories with Mauro and the biggest one right now is how comfortable he is out there on the pitch. He doesn’t look to be nervous about the injury or holding back. Instead, he is diving in for balls and running at people, which is a really good sign.
Perception is everything
It’s frustrating when the team is bagging wins like we think they should be. However, there is something to say for getting results on the road against good teams. Last week, the team managed to get a positive result against Vancouver and this week against Houston. Sure, we are frustrated with the lack of goal scoring, but the squad got a result against a really good home team who doesn’t drop many points there.
Dynamo Theory had an interesting article about the match on Friday night, which can be found here. More or less, Houston fans were frustrated with how the match ended and were praising FCD for their tactical formation and how they played. They praised the game plan saying that “Oscar has the Dynamo figured out.”
It goes to show that perception really is everything. I was pretty frustrated Friday night after the match because it seems like this team is struggling to find themselves going forward. On the flip side though, we were able to control the match and aside from a rare blunder from the best CB in the league, we could have won the match.
It’s a long season and this year, more than others, is about those late fall/winter months. Oscar is building this squad for an MLS Cup run and there might be bumps in the road. Getting a road point on the road against a rival and a possible Western Conference playoff team probably isn’t one.
This upcoming week is going to be super busy with 3 games in 8 days - thanks MLS!! Let’s hope that the team can get a win against Colorado in USOC and 4 points against TFC and DCU.
As always, feedback is welcome!