Another game. Another win. With the absence of the injured Anton Nedyalkov, two other fullbacks have been on fire lately. Ryan Hollingshead and Reggie Cannon were tremendous against LAFC, and helped FC Dallas earn its third straight win in a span of seven days.
Ryan is flyin’.
Ryan Hollingshead earned the starting left back job against LAFC after his astonishing performance midweek vs the LA Galaxy that included a goal, an assist, and a goal-line clearance. Hollingshead was pitted against Latif Blessing of LAFC on the left side of the field, and he was able to successfully shut down Blessing and also pitch into the attack, where he got an assist on Roland Lamah’s goal.
It is awesome to have a player like Ryan Hollingshead on this team, and the fact that he is a backup option shows FC Dallas’ amazing depth. Nedyalkov was playing well, and his injury was a little concerning, but in only one week, Hollingshead has changed the question in most fans’ minds from: “How soon can we get Nedyalkov back?” to: “Will Nedyalkov even get his spot back from Hollingshead when he is back?”
Fire the Cannon!
On the other side of the field against LAFC, Reggie Cannon was simply phenomenal. He was solid defensively, and excelled at getting forward. His fast, penetrating runs into the final third carved up the LAFC defense. Multiple times, Reggie shot forward like a cannonball into the attack, leaving defenders behind him in the smoke, before laying the ball off to a teammate. Cannon’s performance even lead Oscar Pareja to mention after the match that Cannon should be in the USMNT conversation at right back.
The defense steps up (into offense).
One of the ways FC Dallas has been able to get its attack going this year has been through offensive contributions by defenders. Reggie Cannon and Ryan Hollingshead were pushing up the wings, but also Reto Ziegler, a center back, scored from a set play. We also know that Matt Hedges is capable of scoring set plays as well, and he had a header on target from one in the first half that required a save by LAFC’s keeper, Tyler Miller. Carlos Gruezo at defensive mid also had a couple of offensive plays, including a header off the post.
It is important for these players to help the attack. They help make FC Dallas’ attack less predictable for opponents, and open up opportunities for the players up front.
FC Dallas’ success this year has come from all over the field, and it is awesome to see the success of defenders like Ryan Hollingshead, Reggie Cannon, and Reto Ziegler in not just defending, but in creating scoring opportunities, too.