FC Dallas played a hard fought battle, faced torrential rain, ended up winning on the day, but was one goal shy of advancing to the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League. There was frustration all around, among the players, staff, fans, and pundits. I bring to you a few things to think about.
FC Dallas Starts with 3-5-2
At least for the first half hour of the game. Anton Nedyalkov missed the match with discomfort in his achilles. This led to Maynor Figueroa starting as the left centerback and Ryan Hollingshead as left wingback.
Lineup Notes: Tonight we'll see the official starting debut of the 3-5-2 formation. #ChallengeAll— FC Dallas (@FCDallas) March 1, 2018
Watch in English: @go90
Ver en español: https://t.co/n8zjmy2ew2
: https://t.co/jlRIQLWxTl pic.twitter.com/SjTMrt4aJB
Another surprise was Santiago Mosquera started the game on the bench, but that did not last long as he was called upon after 30 minutes. This was a big test for Pareja and co. as FC Dallas was already playing with one foot in quicksand needing to score at least two goals in order to advance.
Errors for Days
We talked about individual errors last week that led to Tauro’s 1-0 win in leg one. Being inches away from scoring, poor defending, and an error by Jesse. Well, let’s rinse and repeat.
Starting out the gates, FC Dallas looked out of their depth, they had their moments of pressing well, but could not convert chances. To make matters worse, an unfortunate touch by Carlos Gruezo gave Tauro a gift to give the Panamanians a crucial away goal.
This was not the only instance in which Matt Hedges struggled. He looked out of his depth, he struggled to cover for Cannon who was flying so far forward, which left his position not properly tended for. The captain will need to spend some time with his defense to work on proper coverage in a new formation, but it was unacceptable.
Once Mosquera came on, Mauro Diaz was employed as a deeper lying midfield. This was truly a strange thing to witness, this was a move of desperation to bring as much attack to make up the deficit. While Mauro was able to make some strong tackles, he is not a deep lying or a box to box midfielder. Mauro was not able to do Mauro things due to strange tactics.
Soccer Twitter Exploded After Crashing Out
If you are an FC Dallas fan, I hope you stayed away from social media after the loss, it was brutal.
us trying to act tough while we’re getting roasted on twitter dot com pic.twitter.com/xIwpt2VQmh— Big D Soccer (@BigDSoccer) March 1, 2018
US Soccer’s big names did not hold back.
.@FCDallas losing to the 8th place in the current Panamanian league of 10 teams @TauroFC is inexcusable. I don’t care how you define it but with the amount of resources a @MLS team has in comparison this should never happen. Timing of schedule is a real issue BUT come on. #CCL— Taylor Twellman (@TaylorTwellman) March 1, 2018
One guy did not pull any punches, this thread is worth reading.
Embarrassing. Frustrating. Infuriating. Inexplicable. UNACCEPTABLE. No disrespect to #TauroFC, and well done to them for going through. But #FCDallas or any other #MLS team should NEVER be getting knocked out of #CCL by non-#LigaMX teams anymore. No excuses. #FCDvTFC #SCCL2018 pic.twitter.com/pNO40BPbYq— Jason Foster (@JogaBonito_USA) March 1, 2018
While there is definitely truth that MLS teams should not be losing to non Liga MX clubs, it must be stressed that FC Dallas suffered an unprecedented meltdown the second half of 2017. The team that qualified for this edition of the Champions League is far from the team that played Wednesday night.
It Wasn’t All Bad Though
Dallas was able to snag some pretty good goals. Maxi Urruti scored a rocket from close range, a typical Maxi goal. More importantly, Cristian Colman did what he does best, scoring crucial goals in CONCACAF. Sure that may be all Colman can do, but hopefully this will give something for Papi to think about playing Colman with Mauro Diaz a little more often. There is some decent depth in the attack now, and gives Pareja a multitude of riches to play with. If we can cope with Kellyn being out for a couple of months, and solidifying the back line, Dallas may be alright. Hedges will have to take the lead to leave 2017 back in 2017.