Despite dropping out of CCL earlier than anticipated, there were some positives from the game. If you’re ready to freak out please read this tweet from Jason Foster:
#FCDvTFC 3-2 (3-3 agg.) | 71.6%-28.4% possession, 592-240 passes, 84%-67% pass accuracy, 24-4 crosses, 5-0 corners, 18-8 shots, 4-3 shots on target.#FCDallas controlled play vs #TauroFC but were undone by bad giveaways, terrible defending, and wasteful finishing. #CCL #SCCL2018 pic.twitter.com/43fcbOjZes— Jason Foster (@JogaBonito_USA) March 1, 2018
Dallas made a few individual mistakes, but other than that they were the better team. They put pressure on Tauro offensively, which gave me hope for the season. They were fun to watch attack and weren’t afraid to CONCACAF Tauro a little bit. They showed aggression and a desire to win. With a little more focus and organization, Dallas may be back.
Maybe Matt Hedges isn’t perfect
Yes, Matt Hedges missed a clearance that he shouldn’t have on the first goal. Yes, he also failed to put three free headers in the box on target. But I’m not overreacting because of a particularly bad game from Hedges.
Since a brief stint with the USMNT last summer, Hedges hasn’t looked the same. He was thoroughly embarrassed on the national stage and I chalked up his poor form last season to a mix of injury and low confidence. But as his poor string of performances continues, you have to ask: when does poor form turn into regression?
We haven’t seen the MLS Defender of the Year Matt Hedges since 2016 and I’m starting to worry that he may be gone. Hedges once was the building block that Dallas relied on. I thought as long as Dallas had Hedges and another serviceable center back they would have an above average defense, but that no longer seems to be the case. I’m not calling for Hedges to be benched, or claiming that his partnership with Ziegler is doomed, just that we may need to re-evaluate the quality of player that Hedges is. Harsh words, I know, but until the captain takes some sort of ownership over this poorly organized defense, I’ll stand by them.
Mosquera is a game changer
This game was a tale of two halves for Dallas. The second half, after switching to a 5-1-1-3 with Santiago Mosquera on the left wing, Dallas was able to get an offensive rhythm going. TFC had to account for Mosquera’s pace on the left side which created space and opportunities for everyone else on the field. While he didn’t get as involved as he could have, he still managed to win a penalty and record an assist. I’m excited to see what he can do as he becomes more accustomed to playing alongside Maxi Urruti, Mauro Diaz, and Michael Barrios. But watching some of the runs he made and the positions he put himself into, he already has a good idea of how to combine with those guys.
Mosquera did what we’ve been trying to find someone to do for an entire season: get Cristian Colman to score. You’ll hear him compared to Fabian Castillo a million times, but I think he may be the guy that makes us forget about Castillo.
Hollingshead is the new Tesho
On top of the list of players I want nowhere near the ball for Dallas Tesho Akindele may have competition. With the departure of Atiba Harris, Ryan Hollingshead has made certain that Dallas continues its tradition of having fullback that is a defensive liability and has the first touch of a small horse.
Hollingshead was inept around the box and lost the ball that allowed TFC to catch Dallas out of possession and disorganized for their second goal. While Nedyalkov is out, Dallas may need to return to the 4-2-3-1 with Maynor at left back. Just pick a formation that’s success doesn’t hinge so much on the fullbacks, because Hollingshead is not up to the task.