Image: FC Dallas Twitter
FC Dallas returned home after their disappointing defeat in Minnasota. Hoping to redeem themselves with a win, they instead conceded a late goal in the 86th minute, leveling the two clubs. FC Dallas held 62% of possession, they had 29 shots on goal whereas Real Salt Lake only had 11, but they still couldn't finish the match with a win. (https://www.espn.com/soccer/matchstats?gameId=597766)
Image: FC Dallas Twitter
Dallas returned to a 4-3-3 formation, the same one that they used against Portland in their only win of the season. The main difference between those two lines up is Franco Jara starting over Ricardo Pepi, Jimmy Maurer back in for an injured Phelip, Hedges over Bressan, and Bryan Acosta playing further up the field, leaving Tanner Tessman as the lone 6.
Despite the attacking mindset going into the game, Dallas still struggled to get a goal. Their first goal came from a Jara penalty kick at the end of the first half. Their second goal, to push them ahead of RSL, was scored by leftback Ryan Hollingshead. In addition to the attack not performing well, the defense had their issues as well. RSL struck early in the game with a goal from former USMNT player Rubio Rubin. Hedges, longtime captain of Dallas and currently the longest tenure player on the roster, had one of the worst games of his career. He was unable to shut down either Rubin or Kreilach (RSL's second scorer) despite being the closest defender to both when they scored.
Hedges has been a longtime fan favorite, he captained Dallas under the Oscar Pareja era and has captained the squad under Luchi occasionally. Over the last few seasons, he's been the most consisently good player on the roster, this year however, he seems to have lost a step. Now 31, Hedges will start to slow down and see his teammates begin to outplay him, the rate at which this has happened is surprising.
In the first goal, Rubin is able to beat Hedges will a simple spin, opening up just enough space for him to take the shot and score the opening goal. On RSL's second goal of the night, Hedges is outran by Kreilach who is able to head the ball just past Maurer. Unfortunately, it looks like Hedge's time as a starter is ending.
The other weak link in the defense is Eddie Munjoma, although his issue is the exact opposite from Hedge's. Munjoma is just beginning his career, players such as Reggie Cannon and Bryan Reynolds have started over him, leaving him with very limited minutes until this season. The departure of both players have left a hole in rightback that Munjoma is trying to fill. Munjoma is performing about as well as anyone could expect. He's not a top caliber player... yet, but the potential is there. He has had his questionable moments in games but that is common with any first time professional, as the season wears on and his confidence grows, he should be able to iron out his issues and become one of Dallas' strongest fullbacks.
The Second Goal-
Hollingshead scored the would-be winner in the 83rd minute. After a pass to Pomykal, Hollingshead came to help him as two defenders closed Pomykal in, leaving him without any room to get into the box. Pomykal passes back to Hollingshead who hits it just above David Ochoa.
Pomykal is begining to show flashes of the player he was in 2019. If he can get 100% fit and reclaim a starting spot, Dallas should become more dangerous in the attack.
Post Game Thoughts-
For Dallas supporters, this was a disappointing game. Toyota Stadium was once a fortress for Dallas, it was one of the hardest stadiums for away teams to play in, and while this result was not a loss, it still felt like one. A return to the 4-3-3 was hoped to be the answer to Dallas' issues but tonight proved that wasn't the case. Questions should be asked of the coaching staff and perhaps the players now.
By Melanie G. Isbell