Saturday night was about as bad as I’ve seen FC Dallas play since the late Schellas Hyndman days of 2013. Back in that last year of the famed Buttered Leather wearing coach, the team lacked a number of things as they found their way out of a playoff spot.
While I don’t see current manager Oscar Pareja suffering the same fate as his predecessor, I do see some similarities that have me concerned going into the final five games of the regular season.
We all had the same thought 15 minutes into the match on Saturday against Minnesota United: “we may actually pull this one out.” Okay, maybe not all of us thought that but after the Tesho Akindele goal, we felt pretty darn good about our chances.
Then one through ball after another through our defense and before we knew it, the one goal lead turned into a one goal deficit going into halftime.
As the game went on the more you saw out of this group the more you could sense the lack of confidence both on and off the ball. Sure Matt Hedges was suspended due to a yellow card accumulation and he could have handled some of the miscues better. Sure, Kellyn Acosta was held out due to a groin injury and he too could have helped defensive matters in the midfield.
But it doesn’t matter, because at the end of the day this group lack confidence all over the place.
It is easy to get rocked as a player when you have this sort of winless streak. Mentally, you don’t know why things aren’t working the way that they should and you over think every little aspect of the game that got you where you are. You see this a lot from players on the field right now. Walker Zimmerman mishandles a pass. Atiba Harris missing his marker. Akindele whiffs on an easy strike. Mauro Diaz misses a penalty kick that he scores most of the time.
They all add up and pile on top of each other too over time. And for this group, ten games is a lot of piling on.
I’m stealing this one from FC Dallas’ Gina Miller who said last week that the team needs their mojo back. I thought it was going to happen last week with the way practice was handled early on with the 5v5 tournament. The little things like that were what this group needed. Until it turned out it wasn’t enough.
The way I see this group, right now they lack that gritty veteran guy in the locker room that holds everyone accountable. They may have a couple guys that do well at rallying everyone around one another but I think they need that guy that isn’t afraid to get in someone else’s face and call them out.
We know players held a meeting between one another a couple weeks back but when reports were that they didn’t want to point fingers at one another, maybe they should have. Sometimes you need to lay all the cards on the table before you can sort them out.
Either way, the mojo has been killed and it will take and Austin Powers type miracle to get it back right now.