The slump is now a full blown disaster. eight games with no wins, and Dallas has fallen from first in the West to sixth in the playoffs and in the process have thrown away their games-in-hand advantage after suffering yet another loss to Atlanta United. Dallas has seven games left to either save or throw away the 2017 campaign.
Defense is a Disaster
I’ll do a more in depth analysis over the past two months on the Dallas defense, but will focus squarely on this game for now. In summary, this defensive unit (barring Jesse Gonzalez) has been terrible.
This sequence pretty much sums it up and would be hilarious if it weren’t so routine at this point.
Hernan Grana whiffs at his clearance and Leandro González Pirez gets a fortuitous bounce for it to slide into the Dallas goal.
Grana is solid at what he does; overlaps on the flanks, combines well with Michael Barrios, and brings the ball out of the back with relative comfort and ease. But in his current state, he’s a sub-par defender at defending. Dallas can deal with those deficiencies but only when the combination of Maynor Figueroa, Matt Hedges and Walker Zimmerman are playing at their best. Which unfortunately for Dallas, none of them are playing remotely near their optimal levels.
For Atlanta, the game plan is relatively simple: Bait Grana forward, and expose the space he vacated and create 3v3 situations. And that’s exactly what they did with Miguel Almirón pulling the strings.
Look where Almirón found the ball and got his passes off. Yep. Grana’s side.
And that wasn’t all that happened so poorly on that right side too:
Here’s a still before the disaster happens. Grana is not staying goal side of his man (Defending 101), but has clear eyes on Greg Garza. Garza then makes his run towards FCD’s goal but for some reason, Grana opts to track his runner and just leave Gonzalez out to dry.
It’s one thing for the opposition to slip in behind you on your blind side and not track the run, but it’s an entirely different kind of “defending” to have them make the run right before your eyes and not run with them.
Grana isn’t alone with his defensive mistakes. Walker Zimmerman up and walked the ball out of the back, pulling himself completely out of position, nonchalantly giving up the ball and putting his partner in a 3v1-ish situation.
These mistakes have been costly and Dallas desperately needs something to change otherwise this definition of insanity comes to mind.
Insanity - Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.