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Scratching the Chalkboard: Dallas embarrasses themselves on the national stage

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Just one point out of a possible 9 against Nashville

MLS: FC Dallas at Nashville SC Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

MLS is built on parity, so going up against an expansion side isn’t a given but it is a weaker side as the expansion team hasn’t had much time to build any continuity or an identity under their new coach and system. (Seattle, Atlanta and Chicago are the exceptions.) If FC Dallas is to miss the playoffs, they’ll certainly rue their inability to score against Nashville SC. Three games, zero goals. Three games, one point. Tuesday night’s performance on national TV was a solemn reminder how badly this team started out of the gate during the restart and that this team needs better players.

Can’t shoot

Dallas yet again went another half without putting a shot on target, and though they had two good chances from Bryan Acosta and Jesus Ferreira in the second half that just missed the goal, Dallas ended the night with just two shots on target.

FC Dallas’ shot chart vs Nashville

Dallas yet again held the bulk of possession (57.5%) but couldn’t turn that into any real offensive threat or into any quality chances. In fact, Nashville used that possession against Dallas by breaking on the counter with one or two touches that scorched the Dallas defense over and over and over.

Lacking a true DM

There was a lot of criticism thrown towards Reto Ziegler as he was targeted by Nashville’s speed and while he could’ve done better on that final goal where he slipped, he shouldn’t have been put in those situations so often in the first place. As good as Tanner Tessmann was against Sporting Kansas City last week, he was equally bad in this one.

None of the midfielders provided adequate cover for the Dallas backline against Nashville’s speed - often times leaving the center backs in 1v1 situations, a no-no for defensive midfielders.

Dallas’ midfield defensive actions vs NSH

Tessmann is young, and it’s hard to point the finger out to him as he’s getting used to the speed of the game. Experience will tell him that he should’ve fouled during the counter sequence for Nashville’s opening goal. Andres Ricaurte’s threading pass was picked off and Nashville had launched a counter with two touches and Dallas wasn’t in their proper defensive shape. I’m sure Luchi Gonzalez will show him that during the game tape review that he needed to take a foul there and break up the attack, it’s just unfortunate that the inexperience ultimately led to a goal.

To add some salt to the wound, remember that prior to this game Nashville had scored more than one goal just twice this season; 4-2 win against Atlanta on 9/12 and a 3-1 win against Houston last week.

Time to bench Jara?

Franco Jara went on a good run in September when he scored five goals in five games, but he’s now gone six games without a goal or assist since a brace against Sporting Kansas City on September 19.

Jara’s offensive chart vs NSH (two shots, both blocked)

Jara’s not provided himself as much of a threat as of late and while he’s put in a great deal of effort and he hasn’t gotten enough service from the wings either, he’s not built to lead an attack by himself. This might be too much to put on Ricardo Pepi to lead the Dallas attack at this point of his career, so I say it’s time to give those minutes to Jesus Ferreira to see if we can save his 2020 season. Ferreira’s been way off in 2020, but he does have the ability to play up top by himself and he can also create his own chances if need be.

The lack of Michael Barrios on the wing didn’t help things at all, but Barrios has been working with Jara during this last stretch too and it doesn’t seem to be working. Perhaps its time for a change for the final stretch of the campaign.