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Scratching the Chalkboard: No Answers, Just Questions

Who’s going to be the difference maker down the stretch?

MLS: FC Dallas at Orlando City SC Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

With another game in the books without a point, and logging in another zero in terms of goals scored (that’s four games without scoring in their last six), more and more questions are rising to the surface about this team. Most pressing now is whether this team can stay above the red line to make it the playoffs?

Where will chances come from?

This is pretty bleak when you look at it.

FCD key passes vs ORL

Though Dallas out shot Orlando 11 to 9, the quality of their chances were far and few in between. There’s simply my rhythm or reason or pattern to how Dallas creates their scoring chances. What exactly is the methodology here? Possession was good (64.2%) but it didn’t do anything to generate any real threat of scoring against Orlando. Who was the playmaker? Who was tasked with the offense? It was really hard to tell from the film, and how Dallas lined up.

For a team that’s built around Paxton Pomykal, they certainly played like they were unsure whether he was the team’s fulcrum. The players were slow to find Pomykal, and sometimes even reluctant to get Pomykal the ball. Once he was on the ball, the movement fell stagnant and stopped, as if expecting him to carry the entire load of dribbling around three or four defenders on his own.

If the offense isn’t going to go through Pomykal, then why not go wide to newcomer Edwin Gyasi or Santiago Mosquera? Defenses can only do one thing at a time: clog the middle or invite you to go inside. It can’t do both, yet somehow the lack of ideas and creativity allowed Orlando’s defense to accomplish both in the same game.

Is versatility hurting this team?

Bressan slotted in at right back for this one and was lined up against former FC Dallas Rookie of the Year, Tesho Akindele. Both of whom were playing out of their natural positions, but it was pretty clear who was more comfortable and has adapted their game.

Tesho torched Dallas throughout the entire evening. And though he opted to not celebrate against his former team, you do wonder if he had something to prove against Dallas for their decision to trade him.

Tesho’s shots and passes vs FCD

Tesho routinely found himself isolated vs Bressan or even spaces behind him and used his pace to stretch the Dallas defense. The mismatch resulted in a goal, a secondary (hockey) assist and five shots on goal.

This isn’t on Bressan. It’s ridiculous to find blame on a player who’s asked to play out of position, but it does point out a weakness in Luchi Gonzalez’ preference for finding versatile players: they can get scorched. This has now opened up a blueprint for opposing teams to send a winger up against Bressan and try to isolate him in 1v1 situations.

Of course, having quality bench options is a luxury in MLS and not something many teams have. But perhaps adding more specialized players to the team will bring some consistency to the play moving forward.

Now what?

Unsure. That seems to be the word to sum up FC Dallas at the moment. Dallas seem unsure of themselves on the field. What they supposed to do? Where are they supposed to go? Who’s going to score the goals?

One thing that is for sure, Dallas cannot continue to play the way they do with the players they have and hope to get a different result. It’s been long enough to show that it’s not working and change needs to happen.