Sunday's FC Dallas' 3-2 loss in Portland tells us a few things:
1) Jeld-Wen Field is going to a beast of a place for any opponent
2) Dallas' win over the Rapids was the exception to their short season
3) The narrow confines of that pitch really effected Dallas negatively
Flat out admiration for Soccer City, USA. That is how a home soccer crowd should look and that is what the fan/club relationship should be. The Timber Joey goal celebration is wonderful and the whole thing makes me, "want to go to there".
Dallas has now played five matches and the one that doesn't belong with the others is the 3-0 win over the Rapids. Not only did Dallas play well that night, their opponent played their worst match of the season. When you put that into context to the rest of the season, suddenly that win doesn't taste as good. The Portland loss highlights several of the continuing concerns that have appeared in other matches topped by an overall feeling the team is simply struggling to find their chemistry in the attack.
The biggest factor in Portland's success of controlling Dallas was the narrow confines of the Jeld-Wen pitch. At a stated 110x70 yards (and I swear it looks smaller) the Timbers were able to stay compact and Dallas couldn't get wide enough. Width is such an major part of Dallas' tactical plan removing it is like losing a key starter.
Sure, FCD fans should be proud of their team's continued fight to almost grab three points, but let's also temper that with the fact that Portland is an expansion team largely made up of other MLS side rejects, but more importantly a team playing on only three days rest compared to Dallas' week plus. Portland just ran out of gas and Dallas almost capitalized on it. Frankly I'm not sure that if Dallas had pulled of the tie, it wouldn't have been an unfair result for the Timbers who used their field and passionate energy to their advantage.
Next up, another fantastic voyage as Dallas ventures to Vancouver to find their first road points in what will likely be another great atmosphere.
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: 5 - Largely let down by the group in front
Loyd: 3 - Still repeatedly caught losing his mark in the box and why Jackson likely will return to starting
John: 5 - A couple of spotty moments, but several more that showed he's on his way to a full return and more
Ugo: 4 - Shamefully allowed Kenny to beat him on the header and won't want to watch the replay of the 3rd goal
Shea: 6 - Hard to grade considering the last 10 minutes was so different from the first 80, but +1 for the run and finish
Chavez: 3 - Just not having the impact the pre-season promised
Castillo: 3 - First disappointing showing and should learn quickly that tricks will quickly lose their effectiveness
Hernandez: 4 - A serious drop off from last week's performance
Jacobson: 4 - Can everyone stop stamping him as Dax's replacement? He's got lots to prove and Sunday didn't help
Ferreira: 5 - The last 7 minutes rescued what was overall a poor showing
Milton: 2 - Largely absent and on the one solid chance, he blew it. The leash has to be getting tighter and tighter for both Milton and Schellas
Jackson: 7 - Had an immediate impact against tired Timbers
Benitez: 6 - Interesting to see how/why Hyndman keeps him on bench
Galindo: 6 - Nice impact, but last moment shot was a wasted opportunity. Note that Ruben did not get this call
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.