Just as I started last week, I’m looking at players, items and whatnot that are either trending in the right direction or are going down.
Trending up : Zdenek Ondrasek
We wondered a good bit going into the season as to whether or not Kobra he’d be able to continue his late 2019 form into 2020. Well, two games down and a two goals and an assist later, we know. He certainly can and is.
What I liked most about his play on Saturday wasn’t just the effort but it was that he truly because the heart and soul of the team in the effort to get the draw. Once the team came out of it’s funk when Montreal went up by two goals, it was Ondrasek that was the one playing a bit more defensive in the attacking third and was causing turnovers.
Also, just how good was this flick-on to Ricardo Pepi?
Trending up : The vertical stretching of the game
This is one of the items Luchi Gonzalez touched on in his post-game remarks on Saturday. Primarily on how Michael Barrios was able to stretch the Impact back line, who was pretty stout on Saturday up until that final ten minutes.
Barrios was able to get in behind the Impact defense with pretty good success on Saturday, going back to the style of play we saw from him a few years back when the team loved the long ball approach instead of the build up play that we see these days under Gonzalez.
I think given how Barrios had this many key passes in the game, shows you just how important it may be for FCD to look to stretch the field with him and Fafa Picault in coming games when the build up play just isn’t there.
Trending down : Defensive gaffs
Both goals given up Saturday really give me a cause for concern with this club. We know the two center backs, Matt Hedges and Reto Ziegler, are getting older but that isn’t the excuse here. Really it came down to miscommunication on a defensive switch for both goals. Either a guy wasn’t trailing back to mark Maxi Urruti (which come on, the dude is a poacher, they should know that), or even worse, someone gave up on the play.
Overall the play for about 20 minutes in the second half was completely flat and the Impact made sure to pounce on it. I know goals will happen over the course of a 34-game season. It happens. But it shouldn’t happen at a two-goals-in-the-same-game rate.
Trending down : Long lines getting into the stadium
The beginning of the game the stadium looked rather empty.
What is tough to tell from my press box photo is that there is a massive line of people and cars waiting to get into the stadium. When we got word that the parking was going to be paid in 2020 and not free like in previous years, we sort of knew what would come next when game day rolled around. Lines. Lots of them.
Saturday was a day of lines for fans at Toyota Stadium too. Getting into the stadium from the Tollway (or for those who take Preston Rd. or Main Street to get to there). To parking (can they speed up the payment process somehow?). To getting into the stadium (maybe there is confusion over the new lines for season ticket holders?). To the $1 beer and hot dogs.
Now the last item won’t be an every game case but the others will be.
I’ve also noticed the traffic leaving the stadium being pretty rough this season as well. Part of this is due to the set up of the soccer stadium and complex. And part of it is due to Frisco learning on the fly still about how to manage large-scale events in an area that wasn’t likely suited to handle them in the first place.
Hopefully this part will get better in coming weeks.