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What we learned against Minnesota United: Keep believing in Oscar Pareja

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Reaves impresses in his debut, and Mosquera makes a promising return from injury

MLS: FC Dallas at Minnesota United FC Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

FC Dallas did a lot to assuage the fears of fans that were worried they were beginning their annual summer skid by beating Minnesota 1-0 away from home. While that isn’t terribly hard to do, and I’m sure many of you still aren’t sold that Dallas aren’t worth worrying about, they got three points and at the end of the day that’s all you can really ask of them.

Reaves makes an impression

After being an unused sub 15 times, we finally got to see what Kris Reaves has to offer. And he showed why Papi didn’t feel like he needed to sign more center back depth. Reaves can ball.

He has all the physical tools to be a great defender. His speed means that his ceiling is sky high. For as good as Matt Hedges was (is?), he never had the speed to be able to play center back at the international level, but it doesn’t look like Reaves is going to have that problem. But just as important as having the physical tools, he knows how to use them. Reaves got hands on attackers early and showed that he wasn’t afraid to be aggressive.

All in all, it was a very promising debut. While Reto Ziegler hasn’t done enough to warrant losing his spot, I wouldn’t mine seeing Reaves with more game time. He looks like he’ll be a key part of Dallas’ defensive plans for the future. It’s comforting to think that between Cannon and him, half of the back line positions have promising homegrowns that can play there for the foreseeable future.

Paxton problems

I’m a firm believer that Paxton Pomykal isn’t a left winger. I don’t think I’m alone in that assessment and ultimately Papi sees him as a 10, but they just play him as a winger to get him some minutes. While Paxton has tried to do his best with a bad situation (getting shoehorned into a position he doesn’t belong), he didn’t do much to worry Lamah about losing his starting spot. But I don’t think starting Paxton was about giving him a chance to audition for the starting left wing position, but more to stop the blood curdling, reactionary cries of: “play the kids” after any bad result.

Paxton’s passing chart
MLSSOCCER.com

That’s not pretty for 57 minutes.

I know there are a few fans that would like to see Paxton plugged in at the 10 spot for the rest of the season and let him cut his teeth there no matter how well he plays, but that just isn’t really Papi’s style. Papi has never seemed comfortable tanking (we’ve never been bad enough to justify tanking). Every position gets played by the player that is best at it, and he has never seemed partial to giving kids chances they didn’t deserve. Have faith that Oscar knows when Paxton is ready (he knew when Cannon was ready) and don’t be disappointed when he doesn’t blindly trust him with a starting spot.

Mosquera is back

Other than Mauro Diaz, is there a more exciting FC Dallas player than Santiago Mosquera? Not if you ask me. Unfortunately for the fan contingency that wants Paxton to play more, he’s got Mosquera to compete with and it looks like Mosquera is winning.

Which is totally expected and not an indictment of Paxton’s ability. Mosquera is a whole five years older. Sometimes you have to remember how young the homegrowns are and to temper your expectations a bit. Even five years from now Paxton will still be young.

Santiago looked like himself in his sub appearance, recording an assist immediately after being subbed on. With the departure of Mauro Diaz, the timing for his return could not be better. I would like to see him get a run of games at the 10 spot, but there will be some adjustment necessary for him to play there. He’s a very different player than Diaz with better physical tools and dribbling, but significantly worse incisive passing ability. If he does play the 10 spot, don’t compare him to Mauro instead evaluate him based on his performance. I could see him giving defenses problems with his tendency, and ability, to drift around the final third. He could even move up as a second striker at times or switch with Lamah on the wing.

Mosquera is perhaps Dallas’ most enigmatic player because I still don’t feel like we’ve seen all he has to offer or found the right place for him yet. But I’m confident when he hits his ceiling that he will be a joy to watch.