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What we learned in the 4-0 loss to the Chicago Fire

The result has got me already thinking about next season

MLS: FC Dallas at Chicago Fire Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

FC Dallas failed to grab much needed points Saturday night. I’m more concerned about missing out on the points than the embarrassment that comes with a 4-0 drubbing. This is statistically the worst loss of Luchi Gonzalez’s FC Dallas career, but those semantics are far less significant than Dallas forcing themselves to get a result against the Seattle Sounders and NYCFC. Just when this team looked like it was starting to click, things all fall apart. Only time will tell if the Chicago Fire game was an aberration or a young and inexperienced team cracking under pressure.

Defense in flux

The only player I can say with confidence that will be starting next year on the backline is Ryan Hollingshead. Welcome to 2019 FC Dallas.

Reggie Cannon hasn’t looked like the badass wingback that he did under Oscar Pareja. His lack of offensive production can be contributed to the system, but his defensive regression has been concerning. There have been several games this season where he has consistently been the weak link on the backline and gets targeted because of it. When he isn’t getting bullied, he’s made trouble for himself with sloppy passing out of the back or individual positioning mistakes. But he hasn’t received much help from either of the two center backs. Matt Hedges has been average to above average this season, but he may not be the guy going forward. After losing the captain’s armband to Reto Ziegler, Hedges finds himself an aging and expensive piece on a team that is focused on getting younger. I hope he stays, but wouldn’t blame him if he wanted a change of scenery or if the front office moved him to another MLS team in the off-season. It seems like Reto wants to stay and fight, but again, he’s a guy that still has a lot to give. I don’t know how much he likes Dallas, but I wouldn’t blame him if he wanted to head back to Europe to play for a more competitive side.

Other than Bryan Reynolds and John Nelson, Dallas doesn’t have any young defenders that are challenging for playing time. And we don’t know how high Luchi is on either of those guys. There’s a long off-season with difficult personnel decisions ahead of us.

Looking forward

I hate already thinking about next season, but I don’t have much to say about that mess of a game. It feels like Luchi has been sticking square pegs in round holes in the attack all year. For example, Dominque Badji at left wing. Also, I don’t think he envisioned Jesus Ferreira being a part of the midfield plans before the season started, but now he’s one of the more effective creative players on the team (not great yesterday). However, that only raises more questions. Is his current level of play worth building around? Is his ceiling higher as a striker? How well does he fit the system for both of those positions? Who are the players he’s competing with for those spots?

Maybe we raid North Texas SC in the off-season and put guys that fit the system in each spot and just roll with it. Maybe we try again for a left wing that’s more effectual than Edwin Gyasi and hope to challenge for the playoffs. Either way, we’re going to learn a lot about Luchi based on who and how he lines up the first game of next season.

Save us Santi

We’re going to need some magic to turn around and beat or draw Seattle on Wednesday this week. In other words, someone is going to have to step up and carry this team because we have not executed any sort of system well enough recently to beat Seattle as a team. It’s going to have to take a mishit cross that finds the back of the net (yes, it was a cross and I’m sticking by it) from our favorite left winging Colombian to save our season. At this point, Santiago Mosquera is the only player poised to provide that spark. Even if he tears it up for the rest of the season, I would still be hesitant to proclaim him the left wing for next season, but I sure would feel better about whatever underwhelming acquisition we make to provide depth there.

Who is still on our back line next season? What does Luchi-ball 2.0 look like? Can Mosquera lead us to the playoffs?