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What we learned: Takeaways from FC Dallas’ loss in Philadelphia

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Until Mauro Diaz really gets going, it could be a tough few weeks for FC Dallas.

MLS: FC Dallas at Philadelphia Union Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

For the second week in a row, and the first time in 2017, FC Dallas is on a losing streak. Their 3-1 loss to the Philadelphia Union highlighted a few things that are going on with the current state of the team as they hit their annual funk.

The loss showcased a few things that were worth pointing out.

VAR gives and takes away

When we didn’t have Video Assisted Replay, we complained. Now that we have it, of course we were the first team in league history to lose a goal because of it.

Referee Ricardo Salazar overturned a Maxi Urruti goal in the 80th minute thanks to a foul on Cristian Colman. While the whole play stinks for FC Dallas as it was a moment that really could have swung FCD back into the game for real, I will say that the whole two minutes of using VAR was well executed.

Overall, VAR will see its stumbles but I think the first weekend of use was a positive one all around. Eventually FCD will see a goal happen in their favor with this system.

Mauro needs time

As for things actually on the field, lets get right down to it with how Mauro Diaz has been playing as of late. We said all along that we knew getting him to 100% would take a while. After being back for two months, I would still argue he is no where near 100%, we may be looking at an 80% at best Diaz right now.

Saturday was another prime example of how badly FCD needs him to be at 100% though. In the first half, Diaz was bottled up. Philadelphia locked him down and this allowed FCD to only have one chance created in the entire half. When he came off at halftime for Colman, the lineup shifted to a 4-4-2 that opened up the attack.

At some point you have to wonder if Oscar Pareja can find a way to get a 4-4-2 with Diaz at the top of the diamond in the middle with someone like Carlos Gruezo behind him. I just have a feeling that Pareja doesn’t want Gruezo tasked with covering that much space in the midfield. I’d contend that Gruezo is better when he has a partner in crime like Kellyn Acosta or Victor Ulloa.

Either way you spin it, the debate about which formation is best right now for this group definitely has a lot of intrigue about it right now.

Other observations

Hat tips to Philly. The first half saw their midfield lock down Diaz and company but also CJ Sapong and Ilsinho did a lot of creative work to keep the defense from being their usual stingy self. Lastly, goalkeeper John McCarthy had himself one heck of a day.

Walker at his best. Let’s face it, Walker Zimmerman isn’t at 100% and really hasn’t looked like himself these last couple of weeks. Maybe the coaching staff rushed him back too soon from injury earlier this summer.

Rotation. I get the need of rotating the squad but I wonder if Pareja is over thinking things a bit more these days. Carlos Cermeno had his moments on Saturday but I think Acosta would have been more effective. Ryan Hollingshead has struggled on the wings these last two games, maybe it is high time Reggie Cannon gets a run? Hat tip though for seeing Jacori Hayes earn some MLS minutes after his USL loan spell in Tulsa.