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Monday, May 16, 2011
Match Grades: FC Dallas v Philly

By Peter Welpton

FC Dallas' impressive 2-0 home victory Saturday night continued the unexpected gathering of points from a side missing its best player and league MVP. Points from the previous four matches came from a collection of luck, opponent's poor form and hard work. The win versus Philly was different because Dallas was largely the better team, worked exponentially harder and played well. On the flip side, there's frustration from the many chances that were left on the table.

Fabian Castillo had his best match in a Dallas shirt. He also had his fair share of misses. Right after utilizing his skill and speed to slice past two Union defenders and picking out Shea for the tap in, he then led the team on a breakaway counter with a personnel advantage. Instead of making the right pass to either flanking, advancing teammate he went solo, lost the ball and ruined the game's easiest goal opportunity. There ended up being one or two more of these situations with Fabian over the course of the match, and he still insists on exclusively going forward when presented with options of patience (to be fair that may be a tactical instruction). That sounds like a lot of concern on what really was Fabian's best performance from Dallas, but they are things to keep an eye on as the season progresses.

When matched with Chavez up top the mound of lost opportunities grows even higher. Chavez far exceeds anyone else on the pitch for FCD in lost chances and he was stacking them up high on Saturday night. As with much of his season, Chavez's shocking speed puts him in advantageous positions in dangerous spots, but the percentage of those that result in real goal opportunities is woefully low.

Alternately, the combination of Castillo and Chavez becomes a wonderful positive because their speed and work rate is an opposing defense's nemesis. Hyndman's instruction to lay the soccer version of the forecheck on thick gave Philly fits all night and this strategy goes a long way in creating different attacking opportunities that are needed without Ferreira.

While the young Columbian deservedly grabbed the MVP, special bonus needs to go to the effective and admirable work of Hernandez and Jacobson. The latter understandably had something different to play for, but the two of them were found all over the field. The former seemingly has found a injection of youth with the amount of pitch he has been covering in David's absence.

The 4-4-2 was effective for most of the night but the team's newness with the formation showed itself in the middle stages of the 1st half as The Union were unlucky not to have scored their own goals from strong counter attacks. Dallas was caught on several early occasions way too narrow and were fortunate that the Union's lack of goal scoring was consistent.

Overall the match should provide the team and fans much to feel good about. Philly has been a solid, consistent side all season long. While not the most dangerous on the attack, defense has been their strongpoint and Dallas is the only side to have breached them with effect all season. Certainly, a notch on the belt.

Grades: (5 is an average performance, 10 is a world-class mindbender. Please note in my system, each player is held to a different standard based on their experience, position and expectation. ie: a Luna grade of "5" is likely different that a Milton grade of "5".)

Hartman: 7 - A quiet night.

Jackson: 7 - Effects the match every game, this time it was positively. He again was lucky and got away with a terrible attempted a tackle in the 2nd half. - His pro/con equation is a tough problem

John: 8 - The good feeling about him continues to grow

Ugo: 8 - Starting to regain the form of 2010 and partnership with John is one of the team's greatest strength.

Loyd: 6 - Still working on the positional part of his game, but overcomes mistakes with his athleticism.

Shea: 8 - So much of what he tried and missed on in 2010 is working for him this season. There is an obvious confidence flowing with that hair.

Alexander: 6 - He's not making magic, but his steady, consistent game maybe more important than step overs and nutmegs.

Hernandez: 7 - A "Captain's Captain".

Jacobson: 7 - Wonderful performance on a personally important night. If only he'd converted that chance.

Chavez: 5 - Speed is like good looks, it will get you far, but you gotta show that you can do something with it.

Castillo: 8 - Continued output like this and Dallas' wait for Ferreira's return won't seem so long.

Subs:

Luna: 6

Guarda: n/a

Warshaw: n/a

Match Grade: B+

Ed note: Grades are for entertainment purposes only. Do not take them to heart, personally or otherwise. If you don’t like the grades may we suggest instead of only calling the author names and bein’ an anonymous meanie, how about you put your grades and explanation in the comment section below. After doing that, then you can then call the author names and remain anonymous, you just won’t be a meanie. Discourse is good for the soul.