At some point, Dallas is going to have to address the red cards. They were a big reason that May was such an awful month for the team in 2014, and with Michel getting a first half red in the friendly against DC United and Acosta getting sent in the first half in tonight’s game against Seattle, it sure appears that the challenge is still with Oscar Pareja’s team.
No matter how this game turns out, this is something that an MLS team with hopes of greatness cannot continue to suffer as Kellyn Acosta was sent in the 18th minute of the match tonight.
Some of the issues from last year do appear to be addressed – one way or the other. Hendry Thomas and Adam Moffat is no longer with the team. And Moises Hernandez seems to be playing a much more tidy game. But Michel’s red in the pre-season match is troubling, especially after his first half yellow card against Philadelphia, and Acosta is a player that needs to be available for this team to go deep into the playoffs and other competitions such as the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.
Recall – last year the team set a record for the most red cards in a season, and that record did not include the four game suspension that Fabian Castillo earned in Portland for addressing an assistant referee in June after the team gave up a late 2-0 lead, in part because Blas Perez and Moises Hernandez were sent. That is something from last year that FC Dallas does not want to continue in 2015.
After the game, Pareja addressed the issue.
“We promised ourselves that we are going to get better at that,” he said. “I don’t tolerate players who are being sent off for fighting. Maybe we need to be more conservative, but this team is bleeding for the jersey. But maybe we need to address it differently.”
And to be clear, none of the ejections last year or this year have been for anything other than hustle and dangerous play, other than the suspension to Castillo last year for dissent. To that extent, the coach is correct. But when the team is consistently impaired by being down a player, even for hustle, for what have more often than not been clear red card offenses, the pattern has to be considered, otherwise an ejection at the wrong time could cost the team advancement in their chase for hardware.