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FC Dallas v San Jose Earthquakes: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.

MLS: San Jose Earthquakes at FC Dallas Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Welp, it happened. FC Dallas lost to the worst team in MLS Saturday evening, ending their home unbeaten streak. The writing was on the wall that this match could possibly be a trap game and it unfolded exactly how we all feared it would. A couple big mistakes from Jesse Gonzalez and FC Dallas wasn’t able to dig themselves out of the hole. Yes, it’s a bad loss, but not one to think on for too long. The weekend wasn’t a total failure though as LAFC and LAG both dropped points too. Dallas is still atop the West standings and looks to be in good shape for a one or two seed heading into the playoffs. Obviously a lot can still happen, but, as of right now, they are still in a good position.

The Good

A lot of people have compared this loss to the loss against Vancouver last year. The defeat last year was the signal that something wasn’t right and probably the beginning to the end of their season. In the match last year, FC Dallas lost 4-0 to a Vancouver side that wasn’t too terribly strong. However, nothing in the team during this campaign has shown that the team is going to face the same fate as last year.

This years squad has done a really good job of bouncing back from bad performances and making sure to the right the ship. Even in the match on Saturday, Dallas hit back right after San Jose scored their first goal. Also, after the second goal (and second mistake by Jesse) Dallas should have scored again with Mikey having a shot blocked four yards from goal by a keeper who was on his butt. The team continued to push but just wasn’t able to find the elusive tying goal. The opportunities were there, but the execution was just lacking. That happens in soccer. Sometimes the ball the hits the crossbar, other times it goes in right below it.

Overall, the match on Saturday had more to do with a perfect storm of events happening than anything else. They had a big win the week before against a team they hadn’t beaten on the road in seven years, were schedule to play the worst team in the league, moved into their new locker room, had Cocktails and Cleats Thursday night, warmed up on the opposite side of the field, had two huge goalie errors, hit the crossbar, was denied by a goalie on his butt, missed two wide open headers with an open net (looking at you Colman) and weren’t able to make a late tactical sub because of Reggie Cannon coming out hurt. That is a lot of things that fell right and because of it San Jose walked away with all three points.

The Bad

MLS: San Jose Earthquakes at FC Dallas Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Jesse Gonzalez was not good on Saturday night. Actually, let me rephrase that, Jesse had two really bad plays Saturday night. On San Jose’s first and second goal, it looked like Jesse just had a let down in concentration. A lot of people are calling for Jimmy Maurer to come in and replace Jesse for FC Dallas next match. I, however, would keep Jesse in goal. I want to see how he responds. Even in the San Jose match, he still came up with a couple of nice saves after his two howlers.

Looking ahead to the match on Sunday in Seattle, I would rather have our player who is the better shot stopper in net. Jesse is a stud who can make some bad decisions from time to time, but when he is on and engaged, he is one of the better goalies in the league. Nothing against Jimmy, but I don’t have a lot of faith in him being able to make enough big saves to allow us to leave Seattle with some points. However, I would feel a lot more comfortable going into the match with my strongest lineup as opposed to a weakened lineup for the sole purpose of trying to elicit some kind of response from the starting keeper. Jesse is a professional and I assume he realizes he messed up. Let’s move on from it and hopefully it won’t happen again.

The Ugly

This team’s strongest quality this year has been it’s depth. We might not have the horses to run with the bigger clubs player v player, but we can out finesse the majority of the teams in the league. We are able to, and have, rotate midfielders, attacking players and defenders to keep everyone fit (minus Reggie of course). For the most part this season, when players have been called into action, they have performed pretty well (Jacori Hayes early in the season, Cristian Colman getting some goals, Tesho Akindele getting some goals, Kris Reaves getting a clean sheet). Which is why, it was so weird to see Jacori struggling when he came on Saturday night.

He looked really rusty and not up for the speed of the game. It was only the second time this year where he appeared to not being able to pull off certain moves in space. His mind was there and he knew what he wanted to do, but his legs and feet weren’t reacting in time. There were two different occasions where Jacori tried to let ball run across his body, allowing him an extra yard or two of space to free up some passing lanes. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to stop the ball and it just rolled across his body and right to a defender. That’s rust. That’s just not getting a lot of minutes lately. The plus side is that mentally he knew what the right play was. He will regain his form and be back to the player that he was at the beginning of the season.

The other player who looked rusty was Colman. Well, I’m going to use rusty as opposed to reverting back to the player he was last year. Before his hamstring injury, Colman had become quite the productive player. He was linking up well with Maxi, Mikey and Roland Lamah. His hold up play was great and most importantly, he was winning headers in the box and even scoring some goals. Saturday night however, he was very rusty. Colman had an unmarked header at the back post with an empty goal staring at him and he missed the ball all together. He legitimately went to head the ball, missed it and it went off his shoulder past the endline. It.WAS.BAD. I guess the plus side to it though was that he was in the right place to score the tying goal, so with him working back into playing form, he will finish his chance next time (god I hope so).

The schedule doesn’t get any easier this weekend as FC Dallas travels to Seattle to play the Sounders on Sunday evening. Dallas has only won up in Seattle once, so getting points there shouldn’t really be expected.This year though, FCD has managed to get some results in places that aren’t easy to play at. It is a late kickoff, so make sure you enjoy a Sunday nap and are well rested for the match.