Following a disappointing loss on Thursday to league leaders LAFC, FC Dallas had a chance for redemption as they played each other for the second time in four days, this time with a different fortune. FC Dallas was able to salvage a point after going down to ten men when Matt Hedges got a red card in the 49th minute after he took down Carlos Vela in a goal scoring position. Below are a few thoughts from the dicey 90 minute affair.
If Badji can stay healthy, he has a place
That’s a big IF. Dominique Badji has struggled to keep a clean bill of health these last several weeks. However, as of late, when he has been healthy, I’ve been impressed with his output. The assist on Sunday to Ryan Hollingshead was brilliant.
It was a perfectly weighted pass, just like the one that was counted offsides for Pablo Aranguiz. Let’s be real, Badji will never be our 20-goal-a-season striker, but I do believe that he can be the guy that can create from either a deeper position or wide out, draw defenders out of position and can open up guys like Jesus Ferreira, Michael Barrios, et. al. Badji may actually be a poor man’s Maxi Urruti. He’ll hit strides where he produces very well and score some goals, then he’ll hit valleys where nothing just quite works right.
Jesse Gonzalez has quietly been a great goalkeeper
Some of the saves Jesse has had to make have been world class. I feel like it doesn’t get talked about enough. But taking out the time wasting and the yellow cards, Jesse has been fantastic. He is still a young goalkeeper in a team in transition, but I am excited for what’s to come out of him.
I remember a couple weeks back about some talk of Jesse making the Gold Cup roster, while I am bummed for him personally, because I think he deserves a USMNT shout, I also think with our depth crisis right now, holding on to the homegrown would be the best thing for the team.
Team impresses with so many players out
I won’t go too deep with this one, but aside from Bressan, who struggled in both stints against Vela and LAFC, this team showed some real tenacity and flexibility. Before I go much further, I have been impressed with Bressan in his other outings, I feel that it was purely a mismatch for the Brazilian. Which is okay, he will certainly be playing against Vancouver with Hedges, which will absolutely be a moment of redemption for him, I am not worried one bit about it. Back to the main topic, Luchi had a selection nightmare with arguably six starters out due to either injury or international duty. This further proves the case that every team needs a Ryan Hollingshead. I personally feel he is one of the most important players on this team; not only is he a veteran amongst a bunch of teens and young 20-somethings, he is also the most versatile player on this squad. You play him in any position, and you know you will have a reliable player. Reto Ziegler fills in at left back, which is actually a natural position for him. With Hedges red, Ziegler slotted in at center, and John Nelson fills in at left back. We are seeing flexibility amongst the attacking three positions, and these are moments where the triple pivot is important, because you see tactical flexibility amongst your midfielders. When Reggie Cannon (potentially) heads out to Gold Cup camp, I am not terribly worried, because Luchi will have a plan.