NYRB are a hard team to beat at home, but this game had some warning signs of bad things to come so many fans are ringing the alarm. I’m going to try to put out at least a little bit of the reactionary fire.
Are you worried yet?
If you are, I would tell you to take a deep breath and re-watch NYRB’s goals and remember that this is the first time all season that Dallas have been held scoreless. If Jesse has a better day, then this is hardly an embarrassing result. I’m not denying that Dallas didn’t look lost at times, but that’s not anything new. I would love to just stick a Mauro Diaz band-aid on Dallas’ attack problems. I’ll start to worry if we lose him.
FCD is traditionally a streaky team. It’s mid-summer and time for some regression to the mean. I still think there are supports in place (more homegrowns, depth, Santiago Mosquera) that mean this year’s team will never crash as low as last year’s.
Anton Nedyalkov was one of the staff’s favorite players to watch when he was healthy earlier in the season. He was well poised on the ball and worked well up and down the left. He paired well with Roland Lamah and could be rewarded responsibility for some of Roland’s best performances. He was a player that instilled a lot of confidence in the fan base that Dallas was building a team that could compete. So for those reasons, it’s very disappointing to lose him. But there are certainly positives.
MLS is a selling league. Salaries in MLS improving, but still struggle to compete with other leagues, and that’s just how it’s going to be for a while. Most MLS fans are experts in patience, they’re in it for the long game. So when Dallas sells a player like Nedyalkov to a European team, it means that there are scouts watching. While Nedyalkov is a bit of an outlier because he already had European experience, it is encouraging to players that want to use MLS as a stepping stone to a bigger league that Nedyalkov is still desirable back home.
The depth is disappearing
A lot of last season’s struggles can be attributed to lack of depth. Many starters didn’t have players behind them challenging for their positions, and they played like it. This season things looked different. We signed a bunch of homegrowns and hit on most of our offseason signings. But now with the departure of Nedyalkov, I’m beginning to have flash backs to last season.
One of the most divisive players in the 2017 season was Hernan Grana. His only back up was Reggie Cannon, who for some reason Oscar Pareja did not think was ready for first team minutes. Fullbacks are absolutely critical to Dallas’ attack. They allow us to maintain possession when we need to and can free up the wingers to drift inside. But again this season, we have a lack of depth at fullback. Instead of Hernan Grana it’s Ryan Hollingshead now alone at his fullback position. Yes, Maynor Figueroa is still on the roster, but due to his age, and general playing style, he’s more like a far left center back than any kind of fullback. Ryan had a chance to lay these worries to bed against Red Bulls, but looked wholly overwhelmed. Expect some rotational players to start at least training at left back, because Ryan alone isn’t going to cut it.
Tell me if you’re hitting the panic button, how much you’ll miss Nedyalkov, and what positions does depth worry you the most in the comments below.