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FC Dallas played the last of their 3 games in 9 days and you could tell that with the travel, heat, quick run of games in short timeframe, and ration took a toll on this team. Real Salt Lake is a good team at home as they are 8-1-1 (W-L-T) at home as FC Dallas fell 0-2. How did it all unfold?

Tactics

Photo: FC Dallas
FC Dallas Starting XI vs. Real Salt Lake “Photo: FC Dallas”

Oscar Pareja brought back the 4-3-3 for this road match. Tesho Akindele was rewarded with a start of Maxi Urruti who has gone cold as of late. Ema Twumasi also made his MLS debut and second start and appearance with FCD. Similarly, Kris Reaves also got his second start playing at left-back. After playing 3 games in 9 days, this was a rotation squad. 5 homegrowns featured in this game at the start (Jesse Gonzalez, Reggie Cannon, Kris Reaves, Victor Ulloa, Kellyn Acosta).

Seeing how Dallas played in the beginning, it looked like they went and tried to go for it from the beginning. Things didn’t fall their way as there was some disconnect in the transitions. The second half looked more passioned and energized than the first half.

Events

11′ – Kellyn Acosta gives up an early penalty giving RSL the lead 0-1. From here FCD was chasing the game as they did for the rest of the game.

FC Dallas 0 – 1 Real Salt Lake

45′ – Maxi Urruit is subbed on for Michael Barrios and Roland Lamah comes in for Ema Twumasi. Papi is hoping to spark the attack and try to bring home at least a point.

61′ – Santiago Mosquera comes on for Victor Ulloa, aiming to be the difference maker.

91′ – Off of a breakaway RSL is 2v1 on Jesse and finishes off the game to make it 0-2.

Thoughts

FC Dallas could have come away with something in this game but the early penalty did not help at all. Given the tired legs, lots of traveling, heat, and playing RSL at Rio Tinto stadium all were factors that played against FCD. RSL really tried to exploit FCD’s left side with Ema Twumasi and Kris Reaves inexperience in league play. This is how RSL was able to make the most of their opportunities.

Reaves had a much quieter game this time around than he did against the Loons. He registered only 3 tackles, 4 recoveries, 1 clearance, and 1 interception. His match rating was a 6.21 compared to a 7.17 against Minnesota.

Blue-recoveries, Green-tackles, Orange-Interceptions, Purple-clearances “Photo: mlssoccer.com”

I believe part of the of the dip in Reaves’ performance is that RSL is a much better team than Minnesota United is. Kris also played left back this time instead of center back (which is what he played in college and RB in the academy). In the final 10 minutes of the game, I saw that Reaves had moved to RCB, Hedges to LCB, and Reto to LB. Reaves looked much more comfortable playing in the center than he did at left back. I’m not worried at all for Reaves as these are his first games with the team and if Papi is putting him in this early, then Reaves must have real potential and he can blossom into a really good player. Its a good learning experience for him and there is nothing to worry about.

Ema Twumasi had a difficult game and I don’t think it was best to start him. Yes, there was a need for rotation and how else is he going to get play time but developing a player is a tricky situation, though I’m just behind a screen typing away my opinions. Twumasi only got 16 touches of the ball but did pull away a shot that did make Rimando work and made a cross. He didn’t get much of an opportunity to display his skill against a strong RSL defense that shut down on him quickly. There is room for improvement for him and he is a player that I am hoping will pan out for the team along with Francis Atuahene.

Passing along the defense was down quite a bit than in the past: Reggie (87.5%), Ziegler (77.8%), Hedges (89.4%), Reaves (87.1%). This might be a result of the constant pressure that RSL was able to put on the back line.

The transitions are something that really bugged me in this game. There was either lack of support for the defense or lack of support for the attack. The three midfield players were too close to each other which allowed RSL to use the spaces that were opened.

Average FCD player positioning.
“Photo: whoscored.com”

It was the spaces that were opened that did the damage for Dallas.

Lossing possession was also a big issue for FCD (11 times) which didn’t help the amount of possession that they had (38.9%). Dallas isn’t a possession team but when they are above the 45% mark, that is when they can do their damage.

I think that the subs did help the team as the second half was much more lively than the first half and did keep RSL more honest. Santi to me was a big difference maker with making two key passes. The second half was the type of game that I thought Dallas was going to play: one with energy, on the counter, moving the ball around and making chances. Unfortunately, they could only get 2 of the 13 shots on target as a Matt Hedges header and a Maxi backheel flick was cleared off the line.

The stats and the way the team played could signal some warnings but after giving some time to think and reflect over the game, Dallas did the best that they could in the situation that they were in. 3 game in 9 days is hard to do especially when you are away then home and away again. We are first in the West and second in the league at only 18 games being played. We have only lost 3 times. 3 times! That’s the best in the league and amazing for any team at the halfway point in the season. Dallas is 10-3-5 (W-L-T) which is great. It’s kinda funny to think that we are upset with 3 ties that should have been won (now don’t get me wrong three more wins would be amazing) and maybe those games might come back to haunt us but this is still a great record and a really good team.

FC Dallas gets a week to prepare for the Brimstone Cup this coming Saturday, June 14th at home (Toyota Stadium) at 7:00 pm. Come out and support the team who has been having a stellar season so far and for a good time.

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