Game number five is now in the books and FC Dallas is still undefeated. They played on the road, for the first time this year, against the New England Revolution, withstanding a lot of pressure. Ultimately, they were able to get a late goal to seal the three points through a Jacori Hayes goal. A terrific result, all things considered.
In a lot of ways, we still don’t really know what this team is. Are they are a squad that is going to have to rely on not giving up any goals and hope to grind out one goal victories? Are they are a team in transition who, given another month or so will start scoring more goals? We don’t really know yet. What we do know is that this squad has figured out a way to grind out results and do what each individual game has asked of them in order to walk away with at least a point.
Really for the first time this season, FC Dallas was able to get some quality scoring chances from their play. In recent weeks, Dallas has put a lot of shots on target but nothing from dangerous spots on the field. Against New England, they were able to test the keeper and honestly should have done more than just getting the one goal. However, even if the scoring was lacking, the areas they were putting shots in on target from was a bit of a silver lining. You would like to believe that over the course of a season, if you are able to have the ball within six yards of goal with a free header on net, you will score the majority of the time.
A lot of this falls on Cristian Colman’s feet. He was everywhere in the attacking half of the field and was the main reason for a lot of the quality scoring opportunities. Obviously, he wasn’t able to capitalize on any of those chances, but having him on the field greatly added to the xG probability (if you are into that sort of thing). Also, on the goal Jacori Hayes scored, it’s Colman who is in the box that the initial cross was meant for. If he isn’t there, the center back is able to slide up and cover Jacori’s run. Instead, he is forced to stay with Colman when Roland Lamah had the ball at his feet, allowing Hayes to have a free run across the box. If Maxi is the lone striker, is he in a position to hold up the NER center back? Or is he at the top of the box when the cross initially came in causing the spacing to be limited, not allowing Jacori to make the cross box run? There is no way to tell either way for sure, but my money is on the later.
Colman might struggle to put the ball into the net, but he at least offers proper spacing on the field, freeing up others around him. Hopefully he is able to continue to get minutes and get his goal scoring figured it out. If that happens, this team could potentially be very dangerous.
What has been with Michael Barrios this year? He seems to be struggling to get any sort of production out of his bombing runs down the wings. In previous matches, it looked like he was just rushing things and trying to shoot crosses into the box through very small windows. On Saturday night, he wasn’t even doing that. I understand the field isn’t ideal to play on, which might have something to do with his play, but he was absent for a lot of the match Saturday evening. When Santi came in, there was a noticeable change in the attack, allowing FCD to hold onto the ball a little bit more. That bodes well for Santi going forward, but really leaves the rest of us wondering what is going on with Mikey.
Hopefully it’s just a lull in his game while trying to figure out how the new team is fitting together and he will be back to last years productions in no time. If not, will Oscar be able to send him to the bend to give other players an opportunity out there? Unlike recent years, there are certainly players behind Mikey who want his spot and can possibly be able to fill in without an issue. It’s definitely something to keep an eye on going forward over the next month or so.
Is there a worst venue to play at then Gillette Stadium? The stadium is huge, with no one in the crowd (it makes FC Dallas attendance issues look minuscule) and a terrible playing surface. The ball bounces like they are on a basketball court. Add on top of that the way the match was officiated and it was a frustrating to watch. The game was choppy, with extended periods of header-tennis and a hint of backyard wrestling. The referee wasn’t interested in giving out any yellow cards and thus let the NER break up a couple of counter attacks by just grabbing jerseys and not letting go. Why is even out there, if not to police the match?
Another thing, why do we even have VAR? Colman was taken down in the first half, right inside the box (maybe slightly outside) but it was never looked at it. If I wasn’t sure from replay if he was taken down inside the box or not, I know the ref wasn’t. Why wasn’t that looked at? Or when Matt Hedges kicked the NER player in the box when trying to clear the ball. Why wasn’t that looked at? I’m an FCD fan and thought it could possibly be a penalty. Obviously I’m happy it wasn’t a pen, but what is the point of VAR if not to look at these plays?
FC Dallas has always seemed able to sneak out results in ugly played games, but that match on Saturday night was tough to watch. Luckily, we don’t have to play up there for another two years and I will count my blessings that we are back to playing at home, on grass this week.
Another Eastern Conference team comes to town this weekend as the Philadelphia Union will be here. The last time they were here, I believe the row boat celebration was busted out. Hopefully the squad can continue this run, build off of last week and get another win.