Reto Ziegler, Matt Hedges and co. led FC Dallas on their first away trip of the season. In a league where the away team is a major disadvantage, Saturday afternoon proved further true as FC Dallas fell to Caleb Porter and Columbus Crew SC 1-0 thanks to a set piece goal in the first half. I found the game to be rather frustrating, and my takes are a little negative today, but there is always next game!
So far, the front three needs a mixup
A month ago, we were all having a different conversation: Dominique Badji is going to have a breakout season. He scored six goals in the warmup games, he hasn’t even had six shots yet. Santiago Mosquera is having another meh start to a season, and Michael Barrios is trying to carry the attack on his 5’4 shoulders; he even wasted a huge opportunity in the second half, and you could see Paxton Pomykal’s frustration. Pablo Aranguiz seems to be on the outside looking in limited only to two substitute appearances.
The front three has been toothless for the most part in the opening three games, with only Michael Barrios knocking in a goal in the season opener. Luchi might need to look into making a couple of personnel changes. Maybe give Jesus Ferreira or Ondrasek (whenever he is healthy...or good enough..who knows..) a shot and give Badji a spot on the bench. I would also be intrigued to see Aranguiz given a full 90 on the wing in place of Santiago Mosquera who I had high hopes for when we signed him last season, but it seems he struggles with keeping up with the demands, and that has carried over into 2019.
The vets need to lead this young team
I brought up Paxton in my first point, our kids have been our most consistent performers so far, and that is a problem. I understand that we have the youngest roster in the league, but that cannot be an excuse for the performance on the field. I also want to point out that Columbus Crew was my pick to win MLS Cup, and they have a very talented team with Gyasi Zardes, Federico Higuain, Wil Trapp, and Zack Steffen to name a few. Guys like Marquinhos Pedroso, who looked a step off the pace until he was subbed off, which is expected from a guy returning from injury, Michael Barrios, who I mentioned earlier, and the center back partners of Hedges and Ziegler are leaders on and off the pitch and they need to show it. Before I get a load of comments, Hedges and Ziegler are the leaders of this team and are well respected in the locker room. They have a unique opportunity to lead and shape a team of teenagers and young 20-somethings, and the guys like Pomykal, Hayes, and Cannon to name a few are showing it.
Hey, another debut!
The #PlayTheKids train is running full steam ahead! John Nelson, 2019 draft pick got a nice 16 minute cameo for his first MLS appearance. This makes the third debut for Luchi Gonzalez, after Bryan Acosta and Edwin Cerrillo. Bressan, Thomas Roberts, Callum Montgomery, and Ondrasek have yet to make their MLS debuts. The defender had a pretty decent outing as well. He played a real clean one touch pass to HoHead that nearly led to an equalizer.
Nelson will be a solid piece of depth, and I hope he will get more opportunities in his rookie season and can fight Marquinho Pedroso for some serious minutes.