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Scratching the Chalkboard: Who is FC Dallas?

Dallas held scoreless again against one of the league’s newest teams.

MLS: Nashville SC at FC Dallas Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

“Dallas is second best tonight. Very reactionary.”

Nashville’s commentary team summed it very well early in the second half as they began to notice Dallas was losing second balls and Nashville SC had taken over the flow of the game. Dallas, again, enjoyed the bulk of the possession (63.7%) but if you turn on the highlight clips, it was Nashville who dominate and peppered Jimmy Maurer with a barrage of shots.

Jimmy Maurer - the hero FC Dallas doesn’t deserve

When Jesse Gonzalez’ Dallas and potential soccer career came to a sudden halt, the Dallas faithful were relieved that the backup keeper was of starting quality in the league. Jimmy Maurer had flirted with the starting role a few times since he arrived in Frisco, but the shot stopping skills of Gonzalez would push Maurer back to the bench time and time again.

Nashville registered 21 shots, 7 on goal on Sunday evening

The most damning stat was the shots on goal department where Dallas registered a paltry one shot on goal, and Nashville managed to force Maurer into action 7 times.

Just as the Dallas front office failed Reggie Cannon earlier this week off the field, on the field, the players in front of Maurer failed him - though Maurer is too classy to ever say that publicly.

What is Dallas’ identity?

Luchi Gonzalez switched Dallas back to a more familiar 4-3-3 but the results didn’t look very promising. Dallas didn’t look threatening to score on Wednesday and somehow looked every worse on Sunday as they managed only one shot on target.

FC Dallas with 12 shot attempts against Nashville

The combination of Franco Jara and Zdenek Ondrasek looked even worse as they combined for just one shot between them, and did not link up well as a 1-2 offensive punch for Dallas.

Chart of Jara and Cobra’s passing and shot chart vs NSH

Dallas continues to possess, but the complaint from last season was that all the possession and the passing didn’t yield very much in the final third and the final product. The hope was getting another year to familiarize with the playing style would elevate Dallas this season but that hasn’t been the case.

Dallas looked flat in the season opener, despite getting the win back in February. Needed to crawl back from a 2-0 deficit against Montreal (also at home). And now Dallas took just one point out of a possible 6 against an expansion side at home.

The sky’s not falling for Dallas - yet but Luchi and company will need to address their offensive woes and their defensive transitions quickly as Houston (who played some delightful soccer during the tournament, but had mental lapses on the defensive side) is the next opponent and Dallas cannot afford to go four games in a row without a win.