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What we learned from FC Dallas’ 4-0 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps

It was UGLY.

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at FC Dallas Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Taking in losses any time in the season are never an easy thing. For most, they are building blocks and things you can build character with. For others, they are thing you want to easily and quickly forget while moving on to the next game.

FC Dallas will be in a bit of both worlds as they will want to forget the 4-0 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps at home on Saturday, while at the same time find ways to build off of it.

Healthy roster, good training and a bad result

Following the match, Oscar Pareja stated that this past week was one of the club’s sharpest weeks of training to date this year. He said it with a bit of a smile on his face too as you could tell he was trying to figure out how a good week that saw players return from winning an international tournament, players returning from some injuries to the point where they were blanked at home by a team that really had no business beating them.

Results like this were bound to happen at some point this season though. I’ve said time and time again here lately that the team has been in neutral this season. The dangers of playing that way for so long is that before long, someone will have your number in a big way.

This should have been the week that the team kicked it into a higher gear as we begin hitting a stride before the final months of the season. Outside of two suspensions, this was as healthy and as capable of a group as Pareja has had to pick from all year.

Now, they’re going back to the drawing board in a week that will see six players head to Chicago for All-Star and Homegrown game festivities.

No digging the long ball

Let’s face it, when you come out flat and give up a goal in the first 20 minutes, you’re going to be chasing the game. FCD was chasing a lot of this one and the more they let in, the more they had to dump and chase with the long ball.

Give credit to Vancouver for how they approached this one. They forced a lot in the middle against Victor Ulloa in the first half. While Ulloa has looked good in recent weeks next to Carlos Gruezo, this was a game that he looked completely lost. Pareja commented after the game that he probably should have started Kellyn Acosta instead but opted to give Vic the benefit of the doubt, given how well things had been with him as of late.

Vancouver also was comfortable with how FCD sat back in this one. Even before the red card to Gruezo and the terrible penalty call, the Caps were pretty content on clogging up the middle and forcing Dallas to play the long ball in the heat. Sure, this club should be comfortable with the heat but it was a move that was played to perfection as the fullbacks Ryan Hollingshead and Atiba Harris struggled to play the overlapping run that we normally see out of Hernan Grana or Maynor Figueroa. Hollingshead and Harris got forward but at the same time, Michael Barrios and Roland Lamah failed to recover and get back.

Let’s also give the Caps a bit of a hat tip on how they bottled up the chances in front of their goal too. Maxi Urruti and Mauro Diaz rarely challenged David Oustad’s goal. Lamah and Barrios were ineffective at driving passes in from the wings for them to get on too.

Other observations

Gruezo’s red. The more I watch the replays on this one, the more I get the red card. Sure, Yordy Reyna obstructed Gruezo’s path to the ball in a manner that should have been a foul. But you can’t swing your elbow around in the manner that Gruezo did either. To me, it should have been a yellow to both players at the most but we know it was the Toledo show.

Tough call on Colman. I know you want to get Diaz on the field as much as possible but I really do wonder how big of a mistake it was not to stick with a 4-4-2 for another week with Cristian Colman getting another start after his two-goal effort the week before. I hope that isn’t a confidence killer for the young striker.