MLS is back! FC Dallas played their first game of the season Saturday and walked away with a 1-1 result. The atmosphere was terrific in the stadium and after a frustrating first half, a draw is probably a fair result. With the season just getting started, there are going to be some rough edges that need to be sanded out, but for the most part, the team has shown that they have the pieces to hopefully have an exciting season.
The Good: How FCD got forward
FC Dallas was great going forward. They had twice as many shots as RSL as well as twice as many scoring chances. They were dynamic in the midfield springing Michael Barrios into the open field on numerous occasions. Mauro looked like he was close to his pre-injury self. He was able to connect up well in the midfield as well as keep RSL on their toes.
The most excited thing about FC Dallas offensively from Saturday has to be the number of different ways they came at Real Salt Lake. They hit them on the counter, they were able to spring people free through build up play, they were able to get their fullbacks forward sending crosses into the box and lastly, they were just able to methodically move the ball down up and down the field.
Too many times last year, FCD was a one trick pony. hey would either hit you on the break, or not hit you at all. If any Saturday night is any indication of what FC Dallas has the potential to be this campaign, then it could be an exciting year.
The Bad: How FCD failed to finish
Their finishing. As we’ve seen in CCL and now the first MLS match, FC Dallas has struggled to put the ball into the net. They have been great in the buildup but just can’t finish. On Saturday night, Nick Ramondo definitely had a part to play in that, but they should be finishing at a higher rate. It’s not just one person either. Mauro Diaz has squandered numerous chances, by just slightly missing left or right. Mikey had two chances on Saturday where he had one defender to beat and then would have been on goal alone. He either wasn’t able to wiggle free or wasn’t able to put his shot past the keeper on either occasion.
Hopefully this trend is more about rust and nothing more. If this team is going to be successful this year, they are going to need to score goals. The squad isn’t quite ready to lock down teams defensively yet. Until that time comes, they will need to rely on scoring some goals. The chances are definitely there, now hopefully they are able to start capitalizing on them.
The Ugly: Why those subs Oscar?
What is going on with our subs situation? FC Dallas has played three competitive matches and all three of them have left us fans scratching our heads to what is happening from the 60th minute on.
Saturday night, Santiago Mosquera was subbed off for Cristian Colman in the 63’. A lot of people were excited about this move. Finally, we get to see Mauro and Colman together on the field at the same time. Unfortunately, five minutes later, Roland Lamah came on for Diaz.
From that moment on, Dallas lost any offensive creativeness going forward. To be fair, they did score after Mauro came off, but that was more to do with Maxi Urruti making something out of nothing.
Early this season, Oscar has left us all wondering what he is doing when he is bringing on subs. There doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason with them. On Saturday night, FCD’s two best creative players, Mauro and Mosquera, were subbed out leaving the team with lots of questions and not that many answers going forward. I understand both players played midweek, but if the plan is to take them both off between the 60’ and 70’ minute, why not have Paxton Pomykal on the bench? We were told that he was going to be Mauro’s backup this year. The team was playing really well and dominating the game, why not bring in a like-for-like sub to keep the pressure on RSL? Instead, Oscar brought in Lamah and Colman, switching the formation to a 4-4-2.
I understand the 4-4-2 had some success last year, especially against RSL, but that was with Kellyn Acosta in the lineup. He was the link between the defense and offense that kept the ball moving. Kellyn wasn’t there Saturday night. Was Gruezo suppose to pick up that slack in the midfield in this case? Jacori? Neither one of those guys are suited to fill that gap and from the moment Lamah came on, this team turned very stagnant.
Hopefully this is a bit of early season jitters from Papi and not an early trend that we will have to live with going forward. This game was there for the taking and it felt like we settled for the draw. The West is going to be extremely tight this year, so every point is going to matter. If you have a team on the ropes, at home, we need to be going for the win.
Overall, Saturday night could and should be considered a success. No injuries, a point against a potentially good RSL team and an incredible atmosphere in the stadium. It’s something that can definitely be built on going forward. Hopefully the finishing and subs situation gets sorted out and we can enjoy another exciting MLS season in Frisco.