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What we learned against Sporting Kansas City: Is FC Dallas still Mauro Diaz dependent?

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FCD is trying to wean itself off of Diaz, but is it working?

MLS: Montreal Impact at FC Dallas Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

FC Dallas have been knocked out of the most prestigious tournament this summer, the US Open Cup. Dallas were faced with a difficult task by drawing Sporting Kansas City away, but they put up a good fight through the first 89 minutes.

Mid-season reflection

A lot has happened this year. We’ve seen Jacori Hayes and Reggie Cannon emerge and play their way into our hearts. We’ve seen the resurgence of old favorites like Ryan Hollingshead and Victor Ulloa. Both Reto Ziegler and Anton Nedyalkov have made themselves regulars in the FC Dallas team. Santiago Mosquera has dazzled on occasion. Jimmy Maurer has made some mindblowing saves.

There has been plenty of reason to cheer.

As invested as I am in the team, I always have trouble picking a favorite player. So I’d like to poll you, the readers, to get a feel of which players the FC Dallas collective conscious likes the most.

Poll

Who is your favorite player this season?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    Kellyn Acosta
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Tesho Akindele
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Francis Atuahene
    (0 votes)
  • 3%
    Michael Barrios
    (2 votes)
  • 33%
    Reggie Cannon
    (20 votes)
  • 0%
    Jordan Cano
    (0 votes)
  • 1%
    Cristian Colman
    (1 vote)
  • 13%
    Mauro Diaz
    (8 votes)
  • 0%
    Jesus Ferreira
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Maynor Figueroa
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Jesse Gonzalez
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Carlos Gruezo
    (0 votes)
  • 13%
    Jacori Hayes
    (8 votes)
  • 5%
    Matt Hedges
    (3 votes)
  • 13%
    Ryan Hollingshead
    (8 votes)
  • 5%
    Roland Lamah
    (3 votes)
  • 1%
    Santiago Mosquera
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Paxton Pomykal
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Kris Reaves
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Bryan Reynolds
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Brandon Servania
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Ema Twumasi
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Victor Ulloa
    (0 votes)
  • 1%
    Maxi Urruti
    (1 vote)
  • 8%
    Reto Ziegler
    (5 votes)
  • 0%
    Kyle Zobeck
    (0 votes)
60 votes total Vote Now

The key to Lamah’s breakout season

Here is Roland Lamah getting booked on March 24th. You may notice that he is missing his, now iconic, signature bleached hair.

MLS: Portland Timbers at FC Dallas Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s Roland Lamah against the Philadelphia Union on April 21st. He had no goals or assists this game. Again, no bleached hair.

MLS: Philadelphia Union at FC Dallas Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

His bleached hair makes its first appearance against NYCFC, albeit in weaker form. The soccer gods punish him for his lack of commitment and he records no goals or assists this game either.

MLS: FC Dallas at New York City FC Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

On May 12th against the LA Galaxy his hair looked particularly bright as did his performance. He scored a brace.

MLS: Los Angeles Galaxy at FC Dallas Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Lamah debuted red hair and scored against Sporting Kansas City.

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-Sporting KC vs FC Dallas Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this year I compared Roland Lamah to Kanye and the similarities continue to roll in. Both have gone blonde and have had themselves eventful summers. If I’m Oscar Pareja and I see Roland at practice with a new haircut, then I know that I have to start him that week. We’ve always seemed to think that Roland plays better at home, but maybe the haircut is what really matters.

Is Mauro still magic?

Dallas had plenty of time to rest before their game against SKC, but Mauro Diaz was still conspicuously missing. At his best, Diaz has the ability to transform a game with his seemingly unlimited passing range, but at his worst he can be wasteful and lack discipline. For many seasons he was seen as the key to Dallas’ success, but this year even though he has contributed, Dallas has found ways to win without him.

Dallas no longer being dependent is important because if he goes down injured again, Dallas won’t be lost. But Dallas still struggles occasionally without him and there’s no denying the impact he has when he is healthy and in-form. While I love that Dallas have brought in other creative players, games like this one show us that Dallas is at its best with Diaz.

We talk a lot about what it would take for Dallas to be taken seriously in the league, and frankly if I’m an MLS player, the only way that Dallas would scare me is if Mauro is playing well. The only time Dallas looks like an offensive juggernaut is when Diaz is on the field. They’ve found ways to win games and make their attack work, but they lack the ability to dominate without Mauro.