DALSportsNation

It all came down to MLS Decision Day for FC Dallas. Not the ideal way to end the season with 3 losses in a row as the team finishes 4th. It was really a game of two halves. The first half the team came out strong and got the goal that they needed. Complacency and lack of energy allowed this game to slip away from them and there are now questions about how the Huntsmen can do. Here’s how it went.

Tactics

There was only one change for this final game of the season as Lamah made his return to the starting 11. Badji got the chance to play against his old team and I found it an interesting choice that Santi was chosen to sit.

FC Dallas Starting XI vs. Colorado Rapids (Image: FC Dallas)

The game started off a little slow as the Huntsmen went more on the counter and attack through the flanks. The first half was good but the team slowed down the second half and that was the cause of many issues.

Events

18′goal: Maxi Urrutti slots in the simple pass from Badji. This is a classic goal that FCD scored. FCD 1-0 COL

45′event: A possible penalty call for FC Dallas but VAR corrects the call and pulls back the penalty call. I think they got the call right.

Halftime: FC Dallas 1-0 Colorado Rapids

62′sub: Dominique Badji comes off for Santiago Mosquera.

76′sub: Pablo Aranguiz comes in for Roland Lamah

80′goal: Colorado pulls a goal back from a cross played into the box

84′goal: Colorado gets one on the header

88′sub: Tesho Akindele comes in for Victor Ulloa

Final: FC Dallas 1-2 Colorado

Thoughts

After the dust has settled on this crazy MLS Decision Day, FC Dallas finished 4th. This game was crazy, to say the least. There was a trend in this game that has been seen in the last 3 losses: FCD started the first half of all 3 games as the better team and the second half was where things began to fall apart. FC Dallas made their presence known in the first half with good attacking play and sound defensive play. In the second half, it looked like the team really let off the gas and that gave the Rapids the room to do some damage.

The team shape looked good actually as it was nice and uniform

 

Player Positioning
FC Dallas Player Positioning (Image: Whoscored.com)

The backline had a solid first half but started to be sloppy in the second half. Again, the passing rate for Reggie(92.%), Matt(88.9%), Reto(91.8%), and Pedroso(72.3%) was normal (though Pedroso’s was low) for an away game. Pedroso had himself a good game though with 3 tackles, 3 interceptions, 6 clearances, and he got up and down the field quite a bit. Reggie was his normal self which is good. What is great (but can also hinder) about Reggie is that he plays with some much passion and it comes through in his game. Hedges and Ziegler were okay.

 

Victor and Gruezo were alright and nothing too spectacular to report here. Same with Barrios and if anything, the Colorado defense found Mickey to be a bit predictable limiting his effectiveness.

As much as I have criticized Lamah, I am really liking this post-injury Lamah very much. He has become much more of a complete player and was effective in the attack and, wait for it, the defense (got himself a tackle and interceptions)! Lamah’s contribution in the defense department was more in applying pressure and forcing the Rapids midfield to play the ball back to their defense.

Maxi got himself a goal which was great but I’m starting to get weary of his 9-and-a-half role now. With Maxi, you get a guy that is going to run nonstop and try to work some fancy dribbling or a shot and will make you pull your hair out as to why he doesn’t play the ball to an open player. This is what Maxi is there is nothing wrong with that. For me, this is not the type of player that Papi, the team, the tactics, and formation need. In these last three games, it’s been made more prevalent that the opposition has space in their defensive middle to work with and move the ball around from. This is the spot that Maxi should be filling but hes off doing his thing. I’m not saying Maxi is a bad player and quite the contrary. He is far from a terrible player. His tendency to run around is what I think is hurting the team by dont giving the team a nice defensive shape as he allows a space in the middle to be created. This is how Colorado started much of their attacking sequences was from Kellyn having space where Maxi should be.

Badji got the assist to Maxi goal which was great and had a chance to score a goal but that was really it for Badji this game. I don’t think its time to call it quits on Badji as I would like to give him a preseason with the team to really get his footing here. It is getting worrisome that we don’t have a consistent goalscoring threat though.

Santi tried his dang hardest to work his magic but things didn’t go his way. I was surprised that he was benched as his presence was something the team really could have used the entire game. I would have moved Santi in the middle, Maxi as the striker, with Lamah and Barrios on the wings. Aranguiz similarly came in and tried to work his magic as well but nothing came to fruition. Tesho wasn’t given much time to pull his random goal out of nowhere.

A very disappointing game to say the least when you are leading 1-0 at halftime and you let the game slip away from you. Another thing is that recently the Huntsmen have been playing down to their opponent in the second half of the last few games versus playing their game plan. What was frustrating was that the team looked beat when Colorado scored and didn’t appear to show urgency until they were down. Not the body-language you want to be giving off before the playoff where momentum is key. What FCD is missing is just that mental aspect and sharpness and of course finishing. To be honest with you, I’m not too sure how to feel about this team or how to fix it. While I’m only just a dude typing away at a computer, it’s kinda hard to not think about how the coaching staff is feeling as well and how to get this team back on a track as well.

FC Dallas will start the 2018 MLS Playoffs with a winner-take-all single game this Halloween at 8:30 PM at Toyota Stadium. The positive is that it is a home game and FC Dallas is rather good at home especially during the playoffs. Additionally, the Timbers are not that clinical on the road and coming off their own road loss. The concern is that FCD’s momentum isn’t too good but if the Huntsmen beat Portland, that should hopefully get the fire going. If When (positive thinking, it all starting in the head, right?) FC Dallas wins, they would face our bitter playoff rivals the Seattle Sounders and the first leg of that game would take place on November 4th at Toyota Stadium with the Second Leg in Seattle on November 11th. Here’s to FC Dallas and a desirable playoff run.


Photo: FC Dallas
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