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What we learned against the Colorado Rapids: I miss old friends

Were all of Dallas’ offseason moves for the best?

FC Dallas snatched three points late against Colorado Rapids on the back of a Ryan Hollingshead reflexive tap-in. While winning games late early in the season is usually cause for celebration and is met with the usual talking points like: “I’m sure this will be a win the team can catalyze around” and “They stayed in it until the end and showed real grit,” I’m more cynical about what should be taken away from this game.

Tesho never left

We just traded Kellyn Acosta for him and started paying him more. Dallas already had a big bodied, winger/striker that can’t finish at the beginning of the 2018 season. Most of us were optimistic that Dominque Badji would bring a different set of skills to the table, but thus far, other than being slightly better in build up play, I haven’t seen a reason to prefer him over Tesho.

Having a wide target man was an interesting experiment, but ultimately not one I expect to see again. Especially with Zdenek Ondrasek making such an immediate impact on the bench. Santiago Mosquera hasn’t blown anyone away thus far this season, but I’d much rather have a player with a high ceiling and the ability to change the game with one electric dribble or well-weighted pass than Badji, who offers what exactly?

His defensive effort was impressive. He made a few important blocks and won a few fouls, but given how poor our midfield played, I would have much rather had someone who could drop deep to take pressure off of yesterday’s young trio.

Not good enough

Successful passes in the box

Name From Inside From Outside Total
Name From Inside From Outside Total
Cannon 0 2 2
Ziegler 0 0 0
Hedges 0 0 0
Hollingshead 0 0 0
Cerrillo 0 0 0
Pomykal 0 0 0
Aranguiz 0 1 1
Badji 0 1 1
Barrios 0 1 1
Ferreira 0 0 0
Mosquera 0 0 0
Ondrasek 0 0 0
Roberts 0 1 1
Total 0 6 6

No matter what the result, this was not a good game for Dallas. They looked sloppy and unfocused. I know the midfield was young and hadn’t played together, but this team didn’t play like a unit. Players would pick their heads up and not have anyone to pass to. Runs weren’t being made. Players weren’t making themselves available. The on-field product was not worth celebrating. Dallas weren’t playing a well-drilled press-oriented team like Columbus, this was Colorado at home.

If they’re going to continue to try to work the ball from back to front, something has to change. Ewdin Cerrillo was put in the unfortunate position of being the most important player on the field in this system and he played... as expected. That’s not to say bad, but he made the mistakes that should be expected of an 18-year old homegrown.

Dallas need to find a balance between being competitive and playing the kids, because as great as it is to have seven homegrowns in the starting eleven, they aren’t going to be competitive without key pieces like Carlos Gruezo or Bryan Acosta (or dare I say this game would have looked a lot more under control with Victor Ulloa playing Cerrillo’s position). But in the end, it depends on how Dallas defines success this season. A playoff spot? Just playing the kids? If it’s the former, things might get bumpy, but if it’s the latter they’re doing a great job. They just need to go ahead and send me out a memo stating that so I’ll stop stressing about this season.

A deep breath

I have to end on something positive or I’ll give myself an aneurysm with all this negativity. So here’s a list of things we saw this weekend to be excited about:

  • Subs- We questioned Luchi’s use of subs last week and this week two of his subs combine to create the winning goal.
  • Hollingshead- Ryan is determined to be the story of the season. WhoScored had him as their man of the match and his position map showed he practically played left wing.
  • Cobra is alive and sort of contributing. He got himself a few meaningful touches and ended up making an impact on the game. Plus, he has a good sense of humor. As evidenced by his thoughts at the end of this interview on settling into Texas and girlfriends.
  • We have Reggie Cannon for the foreseeable future. I’m thankful not just for his fantastic right back play, but for the fact that he’s just a stand-up dude and hilarious.

What are your takeaways from yesterday’s game? Are you celebrating? Or consternating? What drinking games have you come up with based on Jesse’s time wasting? Do you think Thomas Roberts looks like Draco Malfoy from Alabama? Let me know in the comments!