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What we learned against Real Salt Lake

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FC Dallas didn’t have a plan and whatever they did have, didn’t work.

MLS: FC Dallas at Real Salt Lake Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

FC Dallas eeked out a draw on the road against Real Salt Lake. RSL were its own biggest enemy, being unable to convert any of their 24 shots. Dallas now sit in sixth in the Western Conference with only four games left to play.

Rough first half

Dallas were out shot 18-2 in the 45’. A 9:1 ratio is startling. Dallas have been tripled and quadrupled before, but nine times? I had to look up the word for it. Apparently it’s nonuple. And since things don’t look like they’re going to be changing for Dallas anytime soon, here’s a table with tuple lengths and names so that you can more eloquently express your dissatisfaction with the team’s play.

Tuple Table

Tuple length Name
Tuple length Name
1 monuple
2 couple
3 triple
4 quadruple
5 quintuple
6 sextuple
7 septuple
8 octuple
9 nonuple
10 decuple
Tuple table Wikipedia, “Tuple”

So next week when Dallas get out-shot 10:1, you won’t have to be astonished. You can just say, “Wow it’s exciting to see this team tread new territory by being decoupled.”

Still no plan

There was a not a player on the field last night that wanted to pass the ball forward. After the Mauro Diaz injury, it seemed the front office recognized that teams cannot be built around a single player. Dallas dropped the 10 and tried to play a more rigorous countering and pressing game. Once Luchi Gonzalez arrived the team strove for possession-based play. They weren’t there yet or maybe Luchi isn’t going to be the one to do it. Either way, Andres Ricaurte comes in as a band-aid player who can create the appearance that Dallas can attack when in reality it’s just one player that drags everyone else up to their level. But it’s starting to looking like Ricaurte isn’t that guy. I want to give him another season, but he’s not getting the ball in dangerous positions and that’s his teammates’ fault. He can’t be the only one to push forward. He has to be able to find dangerous positions from off the ball instead of sitting deep and trying to make miracles with long diagonal balls.

Luchi’s first year was exciting, if nothing else just for the curiosity about what the team is going to look like. The number of homegrown signings was impressive and watching players like Thomas Roberts contribute made me excited for the team’s future. But the addition of a few veterans means the kids aren’t playing. Now that the team is underperforming and the egg is on the FO’s face for rushing the rebuild.

Looking ahead

Let’s save ourselves the pain of the next four games be real about what’s going to happen. Dallas will scrape into the playoffs and lose the play in game. Then we’ll be shot out in the great abyss of the off-season to talk about who Dallas should keep, sign, and release. Dallas will do about a third of what they need to. A marginally improved team (only on paper) will cause some excitement going into the next season and then like clockwork we’ll be saying the same thing a year from now.

How does FC Dallas break that cycle? Do they truly embrace being a selling club? I think offseason there won’t be demand for Dallas’ young ones other than Bryan Reynolds (I wouldn’t be surprised if people were watching Tanner Tessman too). Do they find a coach that can drill down the kids and vets into a counter-attacking style that’s ugly, but get results? Do they keep going the course and do a little bit of each?

You know just as well as me that they’re going to keep doing the last one—the one that requires the least amount of thought, effort, and let’s them linger in mediocrity.

  • How can Dallas play with more confidence?
  • Who do you blame for Ricaurte’s performance? Him, Luchi, or his teammates?
  • Will Dallas ever become better than okay?