So if the Portland game was a punch in the mouth, what was that?
That, ladies and gentlemen, was a butt whooping the likes of which we haven’t seen in Dallas in some time. We really struggled to find any positives and the alarm bells are ringing.
If you have not seen the game yet, basically the Rapids scored in the first two minutes, let Dallas have some possession for most of the rest of the second half, then Dillon Powers skinned JeVaughn Watson on the way to scoring a goal late in the half to crush any confidence the team might have built up.
Then after some changes by Dallas, the Rapids found a way to score two more. Message sent. And, based on post game comments, message received. But after two weeks where FCD was really controlled and their vulnerabilities exposed, how can they respond?
The one thing to remember about this game was the absence of the captain, Matt Hedges. The defender was struck in the head by a ball rebounding off the woodwork in practice on Thursday and missed the game. Certainly that had an affect.
Only one positive out of this one – it is over. Well, make that two – we are SO early in the year. There is time to recover, make adjustments and change the roster as needed. But while we should not have been worried based on what we saw from a desperate Portland team, add that to this loss and there is real reason for concern.
- Has the league figured out Michel and Ulloa? After the two did well for so much of 2014, did enough teams go to the video room and find ways to take advantage of the two players’ weaknesses?
- Was it too soon to bring on Watson? So much of the danger from Colorado actually went down the middle, so that was not where most of the vulnerability came from, but clearly he was beaten by Powers for the second goal and maybe it threw off what attacking flow that the team might have developed with Harris. If nothing else, his comments before the game certainly helped motivate the Rapids to earn their first win of the campaign.
- How can the team help get Castillo back to his dangerous self? The opportunities were not there once gain, although on Friday it was more about an overall effort by Colorado to dominate the field rather than just shut down the young Colombian.
- Have Akindele and Holingshead topped out in their current roles? At times, it seemed Dallas was unable to create danger away from Castillo.
- Overall, Colorado came out more determined. Their engine was running at a very high rate from the first minute and Dallas never caught up. They did try, so add that to the list of positives – the heads did not go down while the game was still in contention. But the visiting team came out buzzing and ran away with it.
- The Rapids also had Dallas figured out. Their pressure on the entry ball and shutting down the midfield almost completely neutralized Dallas’ attack, and the times they did get something going, Colorado smothered it with numbers.
The Bottom Line
Does this team have the answers? Clearly, the substitutions made at halftime were not the answers on Friday. Now, two games in a row, opponents came up with a game plan that Dallas could not adjust and beat. To be fair, Portland was on the road and Colorado was played without Hedges. But this went from “how do you handle a punch” to “gut check time” real quick. Is the season in jeopardy? Not yet, but the disadvantage of a slew of home games up front is if you do not win the majority of them, your club is behind the 8-ball for the rest of the year. With TFC coming to town on Saturday, we will find out right quick.
See our April 14, 2015 Practice Report and interviews from Fletcher Whiteley for the details on how the team plans on recovering from this dismantling.
A Quick Aside
TV commentators need to learn to pay attention. You cannot call for a yellow card for simulation for no contact when you simply didn’t look at the entire play. In the 42nd minute, Michel is isolated against Marcelo Sarvas on Dallas’ right side and sticks in a leg as Sarvas is playing the ball away from him.
First, the commentators think the foul is on Watson. Second, they think there is no contact and that it should be a yellow card on Sarvas and then go on a bit of a rant about how it sullies the game. Clearly, there was contact. Now, to their point, there was some extra rolling, but Michel clearly gets the Rapids player on the left knee, and with some force behind it.
Contrast that to the way Bob Sturm and Daniel Robertson handled the challenge between David Texiera and Liam Ridgewell in the Timbers match. Initial replays showed there might not be much contact, but then the third replay that showed something much closer to what the referee saw clearly indicated the elbow to face contact that Texiera was cautioned for.