The first of three is now finished against the Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas will feel as if they left two points on the field. The game on Saturday night was a hot and muggy one that started out as an olympic spring but ended up finishing at a snail’s pace. It was clear that both teams were gassed by the 75th minute; Houston even more than Dallas as they had played a midweek game. Dallas wasn’t able to capitalize on the Dynamo’s tired legs and around the 80th minute looked to be happy with a draw. Being in first place in the West allows for those kind of decisions. Going away to play your biggest rival and coming away with a point is by no means a bad result. Yes, three points were there for the taking, but we don’t always get what we want.
Dallas came out flying in the first half and really took the game to Houston. Matt Hedges was able to get his first goal of the season in the first minute. He made a great far post run and was able to head home a beautiful taken cross from Santiago Mosquera. It was nice to see Matt get rewarded on the score sheet, especially against Houston. For whatever reason, Matt has had some of his worst individual moments against Houston. He has scored an own goal and got his pocket picked, directly leading to another goal, against our biggest rivals.
Hedges has been outstanding this year and is back to his first team, all league status that he seemed to have lost last year. He has been a rock at the back and has played really well with three new pieces on the backline. Dallas has given up the fewest amount of goals this year and a lot of it has to do with Matt’s defending. Reggie Cannon and Reto Ziegler definitely deserve some credit too, but everyone falls in line behind our Captain Matt Hedges.
If Matt ends up finishing his career here in Dallas, I would argue that there should be a statue of him outside the stadium and at the very least, his number retired on the west side of the stadium. Matt’s inclusion into the first team has been directly correlated with this team’s rise to one of the best teams in the West over the last five or so years. He has captained a team that had back to back 60 point seasons, a Supporters Shield title and a USOC title. He has accomplished that with at least, (by my count) eight different center back partners. He is the heartbeat of this team and I hope that he is recognized as so when he finally hangs up his cleats.
The loss of Santi worries me. He has been our most effective attacking midfielder over the last couple of months and looks to have finally damaged that hamstring that has been bugging him since pretty much his arrival here. Dallas is in a weird window where they sold their most effective playmaker and haven’t brought in anyone to replace him yet. The front office was probably hoping that Santi would be able to fill that void in the meantime until Pablo Aranguiz gets up to speed.
With the loss of Santi though, we now lack any sort of playmaker in the midfield. If it has felt like this team has been grinding out results before, they are about to have to ramp it up even more now. Hopefully Mikey is able to find his assists shoes and help pick up some of the slack because there is a really good chance this offense just shuts down in the coming weeks.
The plus side is that help is on the way with Pablo Aranguiz starting to practice, Dominic Badji being traded here, Cristian Colman getting over his ankle injury and Paxton Pomykal returning from the U20 camp. We just have to wait it out for now. Luckily the team has somewhat of a cushion at the top of the Western standings and should be able to keep their heads above water while leaning on their defense.
I don’t know if there is more of a lightning rod player at the club currently then Roland Lamah. The fan base seems to be split on him. He lead the team in goal scoring last year and is leading it again this year. However, there are a lot of people who just don’t really see much worth in Lamah. I’ve gone back and forth on him since his arrival and for the most part have settled on him being a key player for this team moving forward (at least to the end of the year). The squad, as it’s currently constructed needs him to continue to score goals. With Maxi getting most of the attention from opposing teams center backs, it’s been Lamah who has been able to capitalize on the extra space to work with.
Lamah isn’t a striker though. He is midfielder who has found himself in the box with the ball at his feet and has, for the most part, made the most of those opportunities. With all that being said, Saturday night was a nightmare for him. If he had just missed the opportunity with the open net that would be one thing. That play was anything from a tap in as the bottom of the goal was pretty well covered by three Dynamo players. However, add on his penalty miss, which most of us will agree that he should have never been taking, and you’ve got a very frustrated fan base with him. I’d be interested to see what the feeling was amongst the player after the match. I assume that was Roland’s first and last penalty he will be taking with this team, but that miss still hurts. It’s clearly the difference of two points in the standings, a two points that could prove pretty vital with all the injuries and flux with the current roster.
Hopefully Lamah is able to bounce back from the match Saturday night and remind everyone that he is a quality player who offers A LOT to the this team. We are going to need him in the coming months and hopefully he is up for it.
The schedule doesn’t get any easier this week as the team travels to Sporting Kansas City to play the first of two matches against them on the year. SKC seems to be in a bit of a spiral as of late, so hopefully we are able to come out of the match with at least a point. Playing in Kansas City hasn’t been kind to Dallas the last couple of years, so we shall certainly see.