The first competitive match of the 2018 season is now complete, and it did not go as we had hoped. It took only one goalkeeping error to force an uphill battle for the Hoops to advance to the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League.
A Strong Squad
Oscar Pareja named a near full strength side to face the Panamanians, with only Kellyn Acosta out due to injury.
The surprise for me was naming Santiago Mosquera due to him being a brand new signing and not having much game time under his belt. Reggie Cannon looked like he has had way more than one minute of MLS play under his belt, Anton Nedyalkov (The Bulgarian Butcher) was a menace stopping Tauro counter attacks, and Carlos Gruezo looked to be in fine form.
A Game of Inches
An issue with the second half of the 2017 season was that the team could not find their mojo, defensive errors occurred, the goals ran dry, and their was hostility amongst the FCD community. The latter seems to have the freshness of the wound. Mosquera had a couple of sweet chances that nearly opened his FCD account. Mauro Diaz is getting his form back, and had a curler that just went wide. Then there was this..
you really gotta try hard not to score on this pic.twitter.com/OEZy63v21W— Big D Soccer (@BigDSoccer) February 22, 2018
I have no clue how you can not score on an opportunity like this. If you weren’t watching closely, you’d think this was the valiant efforts of the great Cristian Colman.
Even Ryan Hollingshead AND Victor Ullola nearly score!
I am willing to forgive that FC Dallas is shaking out some of their preseason rust, but some of these chances need to be converted.
Oscar Pareja Failed With Substitutions
Two words: Tesho Akindele
In all seriousness though, I did not understand any of the substitutions. Nedyalkov was holding his own, hardly seemed out of his depth at all. I guess Maynor Figueroa’s experience was needed to hold down the back line, and ultimately switch to the 3-5-2. Mosquera was far and above Dallas’ greatest threat, and we looked stagnant from the moment he came off. I love Ryan Hollingshead, but he is better at fullback, and doesn’t possess the threat that Mosquera provides with his blistering pace that competes with Michael Barrios. Lastly, Tesho Akindele...on for...Mauro Diaz?!
That’s when you know that we now have to look forward to the return leg fighting from behind. Tesho did not make a single forward movement with the ball, he could not handle the pressure of the Tauro defense, and either lost the ball, or was pressed to make backwards passes. I have no idea how he keeps getting selected to play ahead of Roland Lamah, Colman, or even Paxton Pomykal who didn’t even make the bench. It will forever be a mystery of what incriminating evidence the former Rookie of the Year has on our beloved Papi.
If you are down, or have added talking points, drop it in the comments! In the meantime, I will leave you with some comic relief, here is Mark Geiger taking away a cell phone from the Tigres keeper in last nights SCCL tie Tigres vs Saprissa. Peak CONCACAF.