Image: FC Dallas Twitter
FC Dallas nearly got their first result on the road last night against the Portland Timbers. Unfortunately the game slipped from their grasp in the 84th minute after Jeremy Ebobisse was easily able to beat Bressan and blast the ball past Jimmy Maurer.
Despite conceding the late goal, Dallas played one of their best games of the 2021 regular season. The lineup saw several changes from the last game.
Image: FC Dallas Twitter
Franco Jara, after scoring his second goal of the year against the L.A Galaxy in their last game, returned to the starting lineup as Dallas' lone striker. Due to this, Dallas' current leading scorer Ricardo Pepi was moved to the right wing, forcing Jader Obrian to the bench. Paxton Pomkyal made his second start of the year. Facundo Quignon replaced Bryan Acosta who is currently away with Honduras in the Gold Cup. Ryan Hollingshead shifted back into his usual spot in the defense as leftback.
The presence of Pomykal helped to ease the pressure off of Jesus Ferreira and open more space for Pepi. Unfortunately they were unable to produce a goal from their chances.
In addition to Pomykal, another young Dallas player had an excellent game and showed that he could be another key piece in the roster going forward. Nkosi Tafari has made the most of his chance as one of the starting centerbacks. After signing in 2020 and not making any first team appearances, Tafari has played in six games so far, all of them starts.
Tafari has improved with every game he's played. The tackle he made in the video above was one of Dallas' best moments in the match.
The game, while another disappointing loss, showed an improving Dallas squad. Matt Hedges and Jose Martinez should return from injury soon, boosting the defense.
Franco Jara played one of his best games for Dallas, while he did not score, he provided some space for his teammates with some great hold up play.
There are still some weak spots on this roster that will not be fixed when players return from injury. Justin Che is not the answer for rightback. He's done well with his chance in that role but he's being pursued by Bayern Munich and may leave during this transfer window or the next.
Luchi's unwillingness to use subs is also a lingering issue with this club. His decisions on subs is questionable as well. Edwin Cerrillo being taken off instead of Quignon irked many watching the match. These are issues that probably won't be resolved during Luchi's tenure.
Still Dallas had some positives in their match against Portland. While they do not look like a team that can or should make the playoffs, they provided their fans with some entertaining moments.
On another note, for anyone watching the game on Channel 21 or Fubotv, there was a brief moment in the game where the feed was lost, resulting in viewers watching a mic check for a few minutes.
FC Dallas will end their current road streak with a game against the Colorado Rapids at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on Wednesday, July 21st. The game is set to be played at 8:00pm.
By Melanie G. Isbell