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Monday, May 30, 2011
Match Grades: Houston vs FC Dallas

By Peter Welpton

FC Dallas fans must be filled with mixed emotions exiting an exhausting three-games-in-seven days stretch. How anyone could be unhappy with the string of point gathering (2nd only to LA) the team has achieved in the wake of Ferreira's injury is hard to understand. But, losing those two points in the waining minutes down in Houston, a team struggling to do much and a man down, is a bitter pill for even the most grateful of fans.

Hyndman has made lemonade from lemons now that his team is limited largely to the old bunker and counter. The attractive, patient, flowing passing game is gone - wrapped up in a cast along with David's ankle. Dallas is now a blue-collar, grinding, boot the ball long and chase beast. It's not pretty, but it is working, and in MLS a team's gotta do, what a team's gotta do.

It would be nice to see the team just try and possess the ball for a while. Dallas has pretty much given up trying to do that and now sports an average possession percentage of less than 40 to show for it. The question simply becomes, can Dallas sustain the defensive might that has sustained this streak until (if) David returns? With June, comes heat. With July comes, more heat. With August comes, soul crushing solar punishment. FCD would do itself a heap of good to figure out how to retain possession and allow the ball to do more of the work. Again, its hard to criticize the recent results...

As I type this a second MLS coach has been canned (Vancouver and now Chicago) and gives pause to consider how thankful FC Dallas fans should be that Hyndman is leading this squad. After Wednesday's win in Seattle when asked what was causing this undefeated streak, the coach was quoted by Terry Wood (Dallas Morning News) as responding straight-faced, "Coaching". Sure, Schellas was kidding, kinda, he's right. Hyndman's coaching of the mental aspects of the game are in full display. His tactical adjustments have come from need and parts, but the heart the team is demonstrating is pretty much all fall at the feet of the guy who loves a little, 'mind over body'.

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: 8 - His near perfection on Wednesday was soiled with two outright defensive miscues. The 500+ minutes streak was largely his credit.

Jackson: 4 - Ribs, pending marriage, who cares… Just struggling and Hyndman's one player that teeters on a major mental f-up each week.

Warshaw: 5 - Other than the crushing mistake of losing his mark in the box, the rookie had a decent outing for his first start. But that one error…

Ugo: 9 - An outstanding week of three matches for the Dallas native. This grade is more a collective of the week. Just fantastic.

Loyd: 7 - There isn't a better athlete on the team, and that's driving his performances

Alexander: 5 - If Shea had converted that one sharp, slicing pass more people would notice how well he's been playing

Shea: 6 - Dangerous? Yes, but he also showed some wear from a long week with hard touches and poor shots. Overall, a super week.

Jacobson: 7 - Scored a header that wasn't as easy as appears and is really starting to cover a dramatic amount of ground in 90 minutes.

Hernandez: 6 - Dr Solid

Castillo: 5 - Speed is his friend, but tactical decisions really reduce his (and Marvin's) opportunities to use it to full effect

Chavez: 5 - Hard to grade because his effort and ground covered deserves a medal, but the one time FCD needed one last marking run he wasn't there and Houston scored.


Benitez: 4 - 1st game back, but forced his play w/ poor decision making

Milton: 5 - If healthy, you wonder if team can regularly get him the ball to hold up to build and vary the attack (put chavez back out on right)

Villar: n/a

Match Grade: B+ - Not a pretty game, and Houston's crappy small field makes for a lot of restarts. Last minute goals, even for the enemy always make for entertainment.

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.