FC Dallas continued its road woes in Colorado, almost finding a new way to lose a game.
Dallas led every statistical category from duels, to passes into the final third, and xG, but somehow conspired to a 3-0 loss at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park with a familiar face doing some damage.
“We can have all these stats and dominate but in these key moments if we don’t make plays or or defend well, then you don’t win soccer games.”Luchi Gonzalez
Luchi Gonzalez made only one change from the side which put in the season’s best performance against Real Salt Lake. Bressan slotted back in to the defense with Matt Hedges suffering a hip injury.
Colorado had been switching formations around in the weeks running up to the game – including using former FCD winger Michael Barrios as an off-striker – but Robin Fraser went back to a 4-3-3 with Barrios on the right. Kellyn Acosta missed out due to his recent callup to the USMNT.
FC Dallas took just 40 seconds to record a shot on target after Bryan Acosta played a ball over the top out of midfield looking for the run of the unmarked Andres Ricaurte. Fortunately for the Rapids, the Colombian’s header was directed straight at William Yarbrough.
Five minutes later and it was again quality delivery but a poor final touch. Jose Martinez hit a long cross-field ball looking for the run of Eddie Munjoma. The former SMU Mustang teased a first-time pass ahead of Freddy Vargas and into the path of Franco Jara. The Argentine looked to have a great opportunity to shoot in the box, but seemed to favor trying to win a penalty than stay firmly balanced for the shot as the ball bobbled back to Yarbrough.
Freddy Vargas should have given FC Dallas the lead less than a minute after. Tanner Tessmann found Vargas in space in the box. The Venezuelan cut inside on to his favored left foot with an open shot, but his effort was shanked well wide.
Play had been all Dallas but the hosts took the lead in the 13th minute with a shot out of nothing. Diego Rubio brought the ball up the hosts’ left flank, attempting a pass inside that seemed to lack a target. Jack Price slid to recover the ball, and in turn found Keegan Rosenberry inside. The former Philadelphia Union full back took a couple of touches as the FC Dallas defense shifted before smashing a low shot inside Jimmy Maurer’s far post.
Despite Dallas dominating possession and direction of play, the Rapids had the next big chance in the 26th minute. Cole Bassett passed to Diego Rubio at the edge of the Dallas area. Rubio took a couple of touches to create a small opening from Eddie Munjoma before hitting a low shot off the post.
That was Colorado’s third shot, all from outside the area, two on target and one hitting the frame. Dallas comparatively had 11 shots with eight of those coming inside the box. That number – in only 26 minutes – is higher than against Minnesota United and Portland, equaling the number of shots inside the area in San Jose, and barely behind both the draws with Colorado and Houston. Dallas’ issue wasn’t getting touches in the box as it had been, it was the quality of the finishes with only three shots on target at this point which amounted to little more than passes back to Yarbrough.
With not a lot of excitement for the Dallas camp, there was an appeal for a penalty in the 33rd minute. Eddie Munjoma fed a through ball down the right for Jader Obrian to chase on to. Obrian and Auston Trusty both went down, but a penalty would have been a harsh decision.
Dallas is short of goalkeepers with Jimmy Maurer revealing he only had half a training session ahead of his comeback game last week. Luchi Gonazlez and his GK coach Drew Keeshan may have had some concern in the 36th minute after a strong save left Maurer holding his knee on the ground.
A peach of a pass from Jack Price out to Jonathan Lewis on the Rapids left led to a first-touch pass for Diego Rubio to control on his chest. Rubio, through on goal, was caught by Bressan which ended with the Chilean’s boot making contact with Maurer’s knee.
While the Dallas keeper was receiving treatment, Guido Gonzales Jr was called to the pitchside monitor, with the fourth-year referee pointing to the spot and booking Bressan. Dallas may have counted themselves lucky that the double jeopardy rule was brought about to avoid a red card and penalty in such incidents.
FC Dallas has given up a league-leading four spot kicks, and Jimmy Maurer was able to move his own record to two saved from three as he pushed Rubio’s effort around his left post.
The celebration wouldn’t even last a minute as the resulting corner never made it out of the Dallas third. Michael Barrios headed the ball low through a gap in the FCD back line that Auston Trusty was able to run on to. The 22-year-old struck low from the side of the six yard box, with Jimmy Maurer only able to parry the ball off the arm of Tanner Tessmann and into the net for the Rapids’ second shortly before the break.
Luchi Gonzalez made a pair of changes at the half. Paxton Pomykal was a straight swap for Freddy Vargas on the left. Vargas hadn’t had a particularly strong half. The slightly stranger move was bringing in Johnny Nelson for Eddie Munjoma. The move forced Ryan Hollingshead into that awkward right sided role and took out one of the two players with three key passes from the first half for a more defensive option while the Huntsmen were chasing a 2-0 defecit.
Dallas once again created a strong chance in the opening seconds, as Dallas broke down the field in the 47th minute through Jader Obrian and Andres Ricaurte. Ricaurte played a through ball for Franco Jara down the Dallas left. Jara lost his race with Danny Wilson, only to see the former Liverpool center back take a horrible touch inside that the Argentine was able to take possession of. After making space evading a challenge from Wilson, Jara was left one-on-one with Yarbrough but opted for power over placement and saw another chance go begging as the former former USMNT keeper tipped the ball on to the bar.
As ever, it doesn’t take Paxton Pomykal long to get involved, and it was only seven minutes into the half before the Homegrown tested Yarbrough to cap off a two minute spell with Colorado pressed back in their box. Andres Ricuarte gave Tanner Tessmann a run down the left side of the area. The second year pro cut the ball back to the edge of the area for Pomykal to run in a shoot low at the top of the box, forcing Yarbrough into his toughest save yet.
The Rapids had a shout for a second penalty around the hour mark with Bressan involved again. Michael Barrios cut into the FC Dallas box from the left wing, knocking the ball too far past Bressan before tangling with the Brazilian, as Jose Martinez was left with an easy clear.
Rubio should have extended the lead shortly after as Barrios switched back to the right. Barrios won the ball from Jose Martinez, leaving Bressan as the only defender back, before putting in a cross to the unmarked Diego Rubio. Rubio took a touch to set up a half-volley, but Bressan was able to recover to block the shot from the edge of the six yard box.
With so many chances wasted, it was no surprise to see Ricardo Pepi brought into the game for Tanner Tessman in the 68th minute. Pepi, however, filled the usual Szabolcs Schon substitution, jumping into the left wing and pushing Paxton Pomykal centrally.
Colorado killed the game off in the 71st minute, breaking up a Dallas attacking and taking full advantage of Ryan Hollingshead being in the Rapids area. Cole Bassett played Michael Barrios in down the left, with Jose Martinez covering the right side of Dallas’ defense. Barrios cut inside, took a couple of touches and blasted the ball to the far top corner beyond Maurer.
The former FCD winger was one of two substitutions as a fellow Dallas alum – Drew Moor – would sub in to finish the game out.
Dallas also made a pair of late subs, giving an MLS debut to Kalil ElMedkhar shortly after – Dallas’ fourth left winger of the game – as Pepi moved to the right side in place of Jader Obrian. Ema Twumasi also came in after Jose Martinez appeared to pick up an injury during Colorado’s third goal. An injury to Martinez would leave Dallas with just one senior center back after Matt Hedges and Nkosi Tafari were forced out of the traveling party.
Dallas’ attacking intentions had largely petered out but there was a Franco Jara bicycle kick after his two attempts against Real Salt Lake. Paxton Ponykal overhit a cross from the left after Dallas won a throw close to the corner flag. Ricardo Pepi was able to keep the play alive with a back post header. Jara appeared to miss his initial attempt and get his trailing foot to the ball, but couldn’t direct the effort at goal.
Luchi Gonzalez’s men had out-shot, out-passed, out-possessed, and out-dueled their opponents. Dallas comfortably won the territory battle, but dire finishing had once again left nothing to show for it. Most frustratingly, Dallas led xG 1.6 to 1.5 with the majority of that coming from a missed penalty so as to show the difference in the quality of chances Dallas spurned compared to Colorado’s ruthlessness from half-chances.
FC Dallas remain bottom of the Western Conference as one of three teams to have lost all of their away games, and the second worst home record in the West. The players will take four days off to start the international break before some soul searching and an evaluation of how to invigorate an offensive rebuild that has left Dallas shutout three times in seven games.