FC Dallas gave their best effort against the cream of the crop in MLS right now, LAFC, and came up a little short. Missing Paxton Pomykal, Edwin Cerrillo, Dominique Badji, Carlos Gruezo and Santiago Mosquera did not help things, as a team mostly of back ups did their best, but the gap between the two sides was too significant for Luchi’s young’uns to overcome.
There’s no way to sugar coat this, Dallas’ offense is awful without Paxton Pomykal. Pomykal isn’t the main goal scorer or the chance creator, but his movement and willingness to drive the ball through the heart of defenses causes a ripple effect that opens everything up for the rest of the team.
Michael Barrios is a very important piece to the Dallas offense, but he cannot be the focal point. He’s an excellent #2, like a Scottie Pippen to a Michael Jordan; loads of talent but needs a little help to be fully utilized. Barrios is similar and when he has no offensive help, it’s too easy for defenses to hone in on him. Barrios was completely neutralized against LAFC, as Dallas managed a grand total of 0 shot attempts in the first half.
Credit to Luchi Gonzalez and Pablo Aranguiz who made the right adjustments in the second half to get more in the game, but it was still a pretty tame effort all around. Dallas managed to get seven shot attempts in the last 45 minutes but none on target and to be honest, some of these were a bit generous to be considered “shots” as they mostly just bounced off their bodies towards goal than an actual attempt.
Again, no Pomykal, no party. This probably wouldn’t be as big of a deal if they were playing, someone say like Colorado. But the timing of the all the injuries and call ups against the best team in the league did not go in Dallas’ favor.
No True DM
Right now it’s defensive cover by committee, with Gruezo out with injury and Cerrillo called up to represent the US U20’s in the World Cup. Gonzalez did what he could by putting Jacori Hayes and Bryan Acosta together in the midfield. The problem with that combination is that neither of them are true DMs and are both 8s. So any defensive instinct they have is limited and often times they’re making the same defensive read and cover than complementing each other.
Dallas did what they could with what limited resources they had at their disposal but the gulf in talent is ever more apparent when you look at how Dallas tried to contain Carlos Vela.
Vela alone out shot the entire Dallas side with 8 attempts. He missed on a few, but barely and smashed a free kick off the cross bar early in the first half.
Vela was always going to get shots off, as he leads the league with 72 shots (averaging about 5 shots per game). But what wasn’t expected were the quality of his shots, as every one of this eight attempts had a very good chance of going in.
Dallas has a chance at redeeming themselves on Sunday, but without any reinforcements, I don’t see how Dallas can manage to get out of the rematch with any points.