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What we learned against D.C. United: FC Dallas lights it up

Thanking Gruezo, pondering the midfield, and celebrating Santi

MLS: D.C. United at FC Dallas Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

If Thanksgiving belongs to the Cowboys, then the Fourth of July certainly belongs to FC Dallas. This might not be true to many North Texans, but it’s probably the truth for you and it’s definitely the truth for me. And I’m so incredibly thankful for it. I’m glad this team is part of my life. I’m glad this site is part of my life. I’m glad you, reader, are part of my life.

I’m glad we can all gather on holidays like the Fourth and celebrate something. Something that manifests itself in different ways for all of us. Through childhood memories, feelings about the US Government, or the ways that you celebrate: no one has the same relationship to the Fourth. It’s not a perfect holiday, but it’s nice to be able to celebrate something like soccer with a bunch of people that get it.

Thanks, Carlos

Nathan’s excellent post about soccer being America’s game has me all romantic about FC Dallas. Or maybe it’s just the fireworks smoke in my eyes. It’s hard not to get a little more attached to the sport over the summer when the international tournaments are taking place. We get reminded what drew us into soccer fandom in the first place: the stories, the plucky underdogs, the unique styles of play, the personalities, the flair, the comebacks, the sense of pride when you see your guys do well on the international stage. The same sense of pride I feel when I know that Carlos Gruezo is returning to Germany, where he once arrived as an unproven teenager and now returns as a player that can solidify a midfield and an entire team.

I hope he dreams of the good that he can do his community with his bigger paycheck and misses the guys like Reggie Cannon and Paxton Pomykal who, although they will never know what it’s like to grow up in Santo Domingo, have become his close friends brought together by shared experiences in the sport.

I hope Ecuador and Augsburg embrace someone who has so much to offer. Jose regularly updates us on Ecuadorian-sentiment towards Gruezo on Twitter and even hearing people remark what a robbery $4.5 million is for Gruezo makes me feel like people just don’t get what a unique player he is. There aren’t many true defensive midfielders walking around on fields now-a-days. Gruezo feels like a player of a past generation. A true bulldog in the middle of the pitch, who, because asked, slowly transformed his game into a more modern and well-rounded midfielder. I’ve never seen a player reinvent their identity on the pitch during their time with FCD the way Gruezo has. I can’t help but be connected to a guy that I’ve seen grow in terms of a player and as a member of the team. From shy and stoic transformed through each shy and humble grin into a foundation of FC Dallas’ consistent success since his arrival. There is perhaps no player that represents “Busca la forma” more than Gruezo. While that mantra is traditionally reserved for conversations about youth development, Gruezo made himself into someone who can return to Germany proud of the player and person he’s become. After arriving as a failed youth-talent, he’s clawed his way back to Europe as captain of the Ecuadorian national team.

I can’t imagine how proud he is to be able to make a move like this. He deserves it and I feel so fortunate to have learned what it means to be a leader and a contributor to a team by watching him.

Auf Wiedersehen, Carlos. Thanks for the good memories.

The big guns

There was no shortage of firepower on the field for FCD last night. The midfield of Paxton, Acosta, and Servania, frankly, felt a little defensively irresponsible. But in the spirit of the Fourth of July, I was all for it. I was excited to see what such an attack-minded trio could accomplish.

We saw all three attempt killer balls into the final third. There was no shortage of inspired passing. But there was no shortage of work done on defense either. Three high motor guys might be the most balanced system FCD can field right now (but at this point who on this team isn’t a high motor player?). I love what Cerrillo brings defensively, but there’s no denying that Servania’s creativity and passing range have been welcome additions to the team. If he can continue to provide the defensive presence he has alongside Acosta, then that may be the best midfield pairing to roll with.

Feel the fire

Mosquera and Badji, the two left wingers, felt the competition that the arrival of Edwin Gyasi brought. Badji grabbed another goal making it five on the season and Mosquera played like the DP we hoped he could be. His fluidity with Barrios, dribbling ability, and desire to create electric moments have made him someone that fans desperately want to see succeed. He has all the tools to be a phenomenal player, but he’s struggled to meld with the team in the right ways.

But he put it all together last night. In addition to bagging an early goal, he added two key passes and was busy around the box all night. If we can get more of that from him, then go ahead and send Gyasi home.

How do you incorporate FCD into your holiday? Has Mosquera won the left wing spot? Are you still skeptical of his consistency? Have you read Nathan’s post yet? Let me know in the comments and as always thanks for reading.