Dynamic attack vs stagnant attack.
One of the reasons that Atlanta United has been so successful this year is that they have an offense, that when working, has parts that move around unpredictably, and goals can come from everywhere, including fullbacks making runs into the opposition's penalty area. Atlanta really showed up in their new stadium to put up a result for the fans to enjoy.
On the flip side, FC Dallas had low energy and had attacks that were too predictable. Ryan Hollingshead didn't offer much going forward. Michael Barrios didn't have room to maneuver. Hernan Grana could only play in weak crosses that weren’t dangerous. Maxi Urruti is not known for his ball movement, which is what was needed in this game from him, and didn't have much service otherwise. The central midfielders didn't move the ball fast enough. Tesho Akindele and Cristian Colmán were not able to make impacts off the bench.
FC Dallas' defense can’t have games like this in the playoffs.
A strength at the beginning of the season, FC Dallas' defense are struggling now, with Hernan Grana and Walker Zimmerman each having costly mistakes in this match, and Matt Hedges not playing like he used to. They were also being left isolated against Atlanta's attack by FCD's defensive midfielders, who were easily getting breached by the fast and furious breaks by United.
Play the kids. Please!
Jesus Ferreira still statistically has about a goal every thirty minutes. Paxton Pomykal has looked good in the past. Reggie Cannon should have a shot at right back. The three of them won Dallas Cup this year for the FC Dallas U-18s. Adonijah Reid scored twenty goals in twenty games for a Canadian third division semi-professional team. Jacori Hayes injected life into the last game before being ejected. Cariaco Gonzalez? Bryan Reynolds? Coy Craft?
Performances in training matter, and now that the team is fighting just to make the playoffs, playing these players is a risk, but the team that has been slumping really badly lately has had similar players on the field each game, and the results could be getting in their head. There are young backups that have looked great. Jacori Hayes may have made a mistake that a veteran wouldn't have made, but he brought a spark in the minutes that he did play last week. These players will also bring some unpredictability to the table. Right now, opposing defenses know exactly what to do to stifle FCD's attack. If you're good enough, you're old enough.
Why aren't we seeing Mauro Diaz and Cristian Colmán on the field at the same time? The two have almost never played at the same time on the field.
Victor Ulloa, Kellyn Acosta, and Carlos Gruezo aren't playing like before. At the beginning of the season, these defensive midfielders were supposed to be the constant driving force of this team, and at the beginning of the season, they were that force, but now, unexpectedly, they aren't doing many favors to either the attack or the defense. Now, it would be nice either see an experiment of either a change of formation to one defensive mid, or have Jacori Hayes and Carlos Cermeño on the field a bit more.
VAR helped FC Dallas in this one. Yay!
Keep in mind that Atlanta did play well. Losing this game like that is not as big of a deal as it would be if it was to a bad team. There will be good teams in the playoffs that FC Dallas will have to face, though, and the defense can't put in any performances like that at any point in the playoffs for FCD to win a title.
I would like to hear from you in the comments' section about who you think should be getting more playing time other than Reggie Cannon, who has already been talked about a lot recently.