While retaining its unbeaten streak, FC Dallas turned out a performance that was a serious bummer.
Colorado is a team fighting for its playoff life and Dallas is one that is already earned its invite to the party. Oddly, Saturday's match started very much looking like Colorado was ready to roll over and give up.
Yes, Colorado nabbed an early goal as it quickly caught Dallas on a counter attack from a Dallas set piece, but that was a moment very different from the remainder of the 1st half. Dallas ruled the Rapids for the first 45 minutes and should have taken a larger lead than the 2-1 they took into the locker room. Colorado looked lazy, slow and not interested as Dallas put on a one-touch passing clinic, retained possession for long stretches and simply were the better side.
As the 2nd half opened Colorado coach Gary Smith got his troops to do something that might, just might, give FCD fans a reason to sweat. Smith told his squad to give Dallas a spoonful of its own medicine, plus a kick to the shin.
All season FCD has been "unforgiving" (a term given by Andy Swift) all over the field. Not in the dirty, foully sense, but pressure, pressure, pressure. That is what Colorado did to Dallas in the 2nd half. Putting the back four under the gun began to turn the same results it does for Dallas. Turnovers from panicky defenders and midfielders not used to having someone up in their grill before the midfield stripe. Now, Colorado included the rather brutish rough play and the two parts broke Dallas down. This tactic resulted in the Rapids six corners and ten shots on goal. Not until very late in the match when the Rapids where clearly spent from all of the work did Dallas almost pull of the three points.
While the streak has continued the turnover in players has weakened the defense. In the four matches since the NYRB match when Hartman left at halftime Dallas has given up seven goals in four matches. Prior to the NYRB match, Dallas had only given up seven goals since the start of June (13 matches). Surely the loss of your goalkeeper, two center backs and holding midfielder will reveal itself in some way, but Hyndman must be very ready for those four to quickly return.
Sala - 7: Playing good, but Hartman was playing great
Pearce - 6: Extra point for the cross that lead to goal, but struggled overall
John - 6: Didn't look very confident on hammy, pulled at half
Loyd - 6: Cummings worked him hard
Benitez - 5: Really wilted under pressure
Harris - 4: Just one of his apathetic looking nights
Chavez - 5: Nice 1 touch play for goal, but what else?
Alexander - 5: Missed header lead to tying goal, also struggled w/ pressure
Jackson - 5: Hard to criticize player so willing to move around
Ferreira - 7: The machine
Rodriguez 7: Oh, if only that volley from 45+ had gone in
Cunningham - 3: The Jeff you don't like
Shea - 4: Kid's first touch can be brutal and it's what holds him back
McCarty- 4: Not healthy, did not deal with pressure well at all