Monday, July 18, 2011
Match grades: FC Dallas vs. D.C. United
By Peter Welpton
Dallas' scoreless tie against a growing D.C. United was one of those frustrating nights. Dallas did not play poorly. D.C. was never pushing to win the match and Hyndman's troops needed only a single moment to grab the three points.
While playing the superior match the accumulative effects of minutes and heat took its toll on Dallas as D.C. was content to soak pressure and also force Dallas to work harder than normal to advance the ball upfield.
While FCD created many attacking opportunities, again, it was one of those matches that the vast majority of them ended weakly. Dallas only managed to put two shots on frame -- a sad number considering their advantage in possession and the time they spent in the D.C. end of the field.
Working with yet another re-jiggered midfield, this time with Villar in the attacking spot, Dallas struggled to figure out the final third. Spending the first two thirds of the match in the 4-2-3-1 formation and the final portion in a 4-4-2 Hyndman's side just couldn't break down DC's backline and the work of its goalkeeper, Hamid.
The best moment of the match unfortunately fell to Chavez, who, ironically, might be the last player for FCD you want in this scenario. After winning the ball from the last defender at midfield, the speedy Honduran raced straight into the box only to butcher the shot and push the ball almost five feet wide to the left of goal. Jackson was also an option for Chavez, but the replay suggested he had drifted offside anyway.
Losing points to fall further behind LA and Seattle, Dallas now has the unenviable task of traveling back to the haunted confines of last November's MLS Cup defeat. This time Toronto is attempting a mid-season rebuilding and is due to debut its two new impressive European signings. You'd think the lack of their chemistry and time with their new club would come as an advantage to Dallas, but we all know how mid-week road matches tend to go.
Hartman - 7: Only had a single shot to snuff
Loyd - 7: His defensive work has improved tremendously. He's also looks to be about as banged up as one can be and still start
John - 9: I cannot go on about how much I enjoy watching John. His growth alone in the area of simple, unlocking passes to get the ball out of the back is outstanding. It wasn't that long ago he'd just boot everything away.
Ugo - 7: Still feel like he has moments where he switches off, but overall an steady force
Benitez - 6: One of those "double edged sword" guys. One minute he's passing the ball straight to an opponent, the next he's dropping precision 50 yard bombs into the box.
Shea - 6: The kid looked tired Saturday night.
Jackson - 7: Just didn't have the finishing touch he's had the last few matches
Alexander - 5: Not a bad night, but he still seems to be that one step away from really making an impact on the match. His craftiness is outstanding, but its not turning into dangerous opportunities. I have high hopes for Eric.
Hernandez: - 6: Big tip of the hat for playing on what I suspect is a much worse knee than Daniel is letting on. Hyndman is likely to have to make some really hard playing time decisions here with CCL, USOC and MLS matches lining up in mass.
Villar - 5: Struggled in that attacking mid spot, but like Alexander you get the sense he's just a few steps away from being a positive on the pitch.
Chavez - 4: A tough grade, but that chance is on a player at this level has to finish, or at least get on frame.
Guarda - 4: Side had converted to a 4-4-2 and Bruno had little chance to impact the game
Avila - 4: No spark this time
Milton - 4: Dallas needs a forward about as badly as rain.