Inconsistencies have plagued FC Dallas in this unexpected winless run, and we saw some more of that on Saturday when FC Dallas could only manage a 0-0 draw at home with a full strength team against the Seattle Sounders. Individuals had a good game, while others had an okay game, and others (Walker Zimmerman) had a great game. Here are some takeaways from the match against Seattle:
Figueroa has the moves?
Hernan Grana had a weak game offensively from the right-back position. Although fullbacks are often called defenders, Grana was brought to FC Dallas to be an attacking option from the right side, and he needs to provide that because, as shown against Atlanta United, he can cause problems on defense. During his game he took too long on the ball at times. FC Dallas is a team that likes playing quickly while going forward. Slowing down may give Dallas more possession of the ball, but it gives opposing teams time to adjust defensively, which shuts down an FC Dallas attack meant to play quickly in space. He had one great play where he did a quick one-two with Carlos Gruezo and set up Mauro Diaz for an open shot. Those kinds of plays from Grana have been rare, though. If he could do plays like that more frequently in a game, it would help the team a lot.
FCD's left fullback had a great game. Maynor Figueroa helped bring some inspiration to the team that was struggling throughout the match. Figueroa didn't take too long on the ball and made the smart plays. He also had two small moments of brilliance on the ball that I got to get a great look at from my seat in the East side of Toyota Stadium.
In the play above, Figueroa did a quick skill move to get the ball out of pressure, and it brought cheers from the crowd.
This move was also unexpected, and it both relieved pressure and drew a yellow card given to Seattle’s defender.
Zimmerman leading at the back.
With three interceptions, five clearances, and five recoveries, Walker Zimmerman was leading at the back, and helped Dallas earn a shutout to get a point from the match. His efforts were enough to earn him the fan votes to win Man of the Match.
Matt Hedges will miss out on next weekend's match because of yellow card accumulation suspension, and there will be plenty of pressure on Zimmerman to pull out another performance like this one against Minnesota United.
Sticking with the veterans.
In this dire situation for FC Dallas, Oscar Pareja wasn't willing to take risks in his lineup or subs. He went with the familiar 4-2-3-1 formation with the expected players in the lineup, and subbed in Javier Morales, Cristian Colmán, and Victor Ulloa, who have all gotten meaningful minutes on the field for FC Dallas this season. Players such as Cariaco Gonzalez, Carlos Cermeño, and Reggie Cannon were not even put in the 18 to be options to be put on the field. It makes sense for Pareja to stick with his veterans and not throw in inexperienced players in an important game, but it also means the younger players are being punished because the veterans have not been able to perform well.
For FC Dallas to recover their season and make a good playoff run, the veterans will all need to work out the problems and get rid of the inconsistencies. They can't have a great defensive performance paired with a lackluster offensive one, or vice versa. Next weekend, FC Dallas will go on the road and play a defensively weak Minnesota team, and both the offense and defense of Dallas will need to have a strong game to get out of there with the three points this team desperately needs.