Tag Archives: Oscar Pareja

“Don’t let the ball behind the defense…”

Bailey Brown - FC Dallas/mlsfemale
Official FC Dallas Reporter

By Bailey Brown // @baileystaysposi

It’s been a while, I know. But, a lot has happened since I last wrote about FC Dallas.

We seem to be hitting a groove, but fans are still not entirely pleased. Dallas sits in first in the Western Conference and it just doesn’t seem to be good enough for many. Amongst rumors of Oscar Pareja interviewing for the USMNT team, we must keep going forward because the season isn’t over.

With a win in Vancouver, Dallas is the only team in 23 matches to defeat another team at their home. We are still seeing good stats out of the team and just clinched a playoff spot with our draw in Portland. But, is how we are playing going to be enough?

(Side note: I do think Pareja would be great for the USMNT, but I’m not ready to see him go. It seems that these rumors have been laid to rest. Many people seem to be calling for Pareja to be gone, okay well not many, but enough that it annoys me if he doesn’t get us a star this year. Personally, I think that is dumb. Yup, I said it. Where else is Dallas going to get a quality coach for the amount in the Dallas budget? I mean it. I suppose we can promote from within, but I think a good playoff run after last year is enough to keep him here in Dallas.)

I’m not here to break down the game against Portland Timbers. You can go elsewhere for better coverage of that. And, if I am being honest, I don’t get to watch a ton of games in their entirety. Last night was an exception. I loved it. I mean, I didn’t love everything about the game, but I loved that I just got to sit and watch.

However, one thing really hit me hard last night and that was when I was talking with fellow members of the Dallas Beer Guardians about what people said were “keys to the match”. One of these keys were to “not let the ball behind the defenders” or something to that extent. I mean, come on guys… isn’t this soccer 101? We should probably try to get the ball in the net as well, right? But, if this is really one of the keys that we are looking at as Dallas fans, we are in trouble.

I will admit, I like seeing Reto Ziegler and Matt Hedges in the back, but there has been a disconnect between them and whoever is playing left back and right back. I am seeing that the timing is just off on a lot of shifting and I am sure they’re practicing it, but in games, that can’t be the case. It leaves people especially open on the far post, which is definitely a scare for me.

We have been lucky that it hasn’t hurt us more. This won’t fly in playoffs. Also, where is Pablo Aranguiz? Why did we spend TAM on him and an international spot? I would like to see more of him as a playmaker and really bring that missing #10 spot on our field. (Also, goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez can stop wasting time. I’ll admit, I think we are all sick of it.)

Fans are upset because we aren’t seeing the dominating wins that we know our team is capable of. Instead, we see Pareja seeming to play to draw. Or, maybe even to not lose. I partly understand last night. All we needed was the draw for the playoff clinch.

Going forward, I would like to see us really solidify the plan for playoffs and how it will be executed. I would rather us experiment and figure that out in the next few regular season games so that it’s not an issue come that first playoff game.

I’m feeling hopeful about the future of this season and I hope others are, too. We will just have to sit back and trust in Papi.

Featured image: @MLS

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @baileystaysposi

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo trans 100x

A recap on Dallas and how homegrowns can change our league

Bailey Brown - FC Dallas/mlsfemale
Official FC Dallas Reporter

By Bailey Brown // @baileystaysposi

Hey everybody! I would like to start off with thanking everybody for chillin’ on the FC Dallas content for awhile. Between a few moves and some trips, I had to take a short break. So, what happened in that time? Let’s take a QUICK trip down memory lane.

My last article concluded with a win against the LA Galaxy. Since then, the following major things have happened:

  1. Dallas continues to be #2 in Western Conference and I am happy about this. We are still debating whether or not we are headed into that notorious “summer slump” but I’m not quite convinced that we are there yet. I’m still feeling confident and optimistic going into the summer.
  2. Dallas lost to Sporting KC in the Open Cup. I’m not too terribly upset about this. With this loss, we cleared up our schedule from having to travel excessively which would absolutely take away focus from league play. Open Cup is great, but MLS Cup is what we have our eye on.
  3. The loss to New York Red Bulls was something to witness. Literally, I got to witness this in person and I wish I could say I could forget it. Hopefully we have learned that playing 5 back should NEVER happen. Like, ever.
  4. Matt Hedges is named to the All Star Team. Congratulations to him, but I could definitely do without this. I’m not a huge fan at the idea of my captain leaving to play a game that doesn’t matter with the potential to get hurt when we really need him in Dallas. Stay safe, Matty!
  5. Oh, and Mauro Diaz is gone. Did I mention that our unicorn is gone? Dallas social media is up in arms about this because people are claiming we just let one of our best players go. My take? Good luck, Mauro! People keep thinking about pre-injury 2016 Mauro. He hasn’t been the same since and is way too injury prone. I would much rather see one of our other midfielders taking that position and making it theirs…. Say, like, Paxton Pomykal. I’m absolutely excited and hope to see him get some more time.

I hope this gives you a quick insight into the happenings with FC Dallas over the past month. However, something I would like to highlight is the fact that June 29th, FC Dallas played 6 homegrowns in their win over a scrappy Minnesota United.

Let me go off on a tangent for a quick second.

I was supporting Germany this World Cup. As most people know, that didn’t turn out too well. However, I saw a tweet that said that people across the United States were now ripping up their German manuals on how to play soccer and trying to figure out how to play. This mentality is exactly what Dallas has been against under coach Oscar Pareja. I read that tweet and absolutely went back to the “Busca La Forma” philosophy that we hold onto so dear.

Papi always says that we shouldn’t tell our youth to play like people from other countries. We need to tell them they have their own way of doing things and we need to embrace finding the way that works for us. Seeing Dallas field 6 homegrowns absolutely shows that we are practicing what we preach.

We are giving those who have come up through our own system the opportunity to show everyone what we are made of. Last night, we had Acosta, Cannon, Gonzalez, Pomykal, Reaves, and Ulloa on the field. This made FC Dallas the first in MLS to play six homegrowns. I’m not here for a game break down this go round (we will get back to that with Atlanta) but I do want people to reflect on what this means for Dallas and how it sets the standard for MLS.

Dallas has only lost two games this year and are actively playing people who came through our system. This allows Pareja to absolutely establish a certain type of play within the system. It is not a secret that he is active at Academy practices and brings in DA players to the first team practices.

You begin to have a fluidity that when you need players, they’re there already knowing the system and able to apply it in a game situation. We have seen this with the eagerness of some of our younger players, but the anchor some of the veteran players provide.

Ulloa has absolutely had a second coming under Pareja as he was a part of the Academy system that Pareja established. Papi gave him that chance to continue playing for Dallas and he has provided leadership and consistency.

I will always sing Kellyn Acosta’s praises. He is the face of Dallas, in my opinion. Coming through the system and applying it in a way to make him a staple in the midfield for the national team.

So, what could other teams learn from this?

I will say that I think the Red Bulls do a great job with following this same guide and you see them able to replace “key” players with their own without falling down the table. But, when we look at teams lower on the table, what are their Academies like? Are they relying on developing their own and bringing them into their first team, or are they trying to put together a puzzle with players who may cost a lot of money and are well known, but are not helping bring results.

I believe that we are starting to see the teams that follow the model of developing their Academies and signing homegrowns and then bringing them to actually have time on their first teams are going to be the clubs that succeed moving forward. I am a full believer that you can’t bring in a big name and continuously change your system to them and expect results. Instead, let’s look at Dallas and see that when you bring players through a system, the results come because you are developing your puzzle pieces rather than searching for them.

Congratulations to Kris Reaves on his MLS debut, Hollingshead on his 100th appearance, and Lamah on regaining most goals for FCD this season with his 7th goal. I look forward to giving y’all more Dallas content moving forward and more breakdowns of the games.

Featured image: FCD Academy | The Next One

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @baileystaysposi

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo trans 100x

Four games in: the good, the bad, the ugly

Bailey Brown - FC Dallas/mlsfemale
Official FC Dallas Reporter

By Bailey Brown // @baileystaysposi

Saturday, April 7: 1-1 Draw

If I’m being completely honest here, I didn’t get to watch much of the game even though I was at the game. That meant that I got to go back and re-watch it on Sunday to see everything the FC Dallas vs Colorado Rapids game had to offer. As always, there are things that I liked and didn’t like — this is the plight of the fan. However, I can’t help but think about a few specific things, and for these, I am breaking down the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Good – Diaz to Colman

It finally happened. IT FINALLY HAPPENED. We were always told they were supposed to work together. The unicorn was going to magically get Cristian Colman the ball and this was our future. However, this never came to fruition. Mauro Diaz was out on injury or not in form to play a full game. Colman never got the start. If one was on, the other was off.

Fans felt that we were never going to see this connection that was supposed to be there. On Saturday, we finally saw it. Diaz crossed a beautiful ball into the far post and Colman connected with a header to equalize the game. Will we see this again? Who knows. But, for once, we saw this thing that was only spoken of as a possibility.

Our defense is consistent as well. I love the combination of Nedyalkov, Ziegler. Hedges, and Cannon in the back. They’re a solid back line. Hedges is doing his job of communicating and being the captain we need him to be.

Did Colorado score on us? Yes. But, they did what they should have in a 2 on 1 situation. I even think Hedges did well pushing a little more forward once Cannon came off. I firmly believe the consistency and communication from our defense is why we haven’t lost yet.

The Bad – Pareja, Diaz, and Much More…

Can Óscar Pareja command the field as the coach we need him to be? This is the question I find myself asking. I see some of the substitutes he makes and I am left scratching my head. I can say that I no longer can tell if he has lost the team, if he doesn’t have the personnel he needs, or if it is something else.

Pareja has respect in the FC Dallas community beyond measure and the team really seems to respond to him. However, is the relationship Pareja has made with people off the field ever going to come back to the field? I think we will really see by the end of the season.

A Few Quick Takes

  • I am over the Tesho Akindele experiment. I need him to make a difference with the minutes he gets on the field, and quite frankly, he is just another body to me at this point. That’s all I really have to say about him.
  • 2016 pre-injury Mauro Diaz may never come back. Actually, I think he is gone.
  • Carlos Gruezo needs to step up. At this point, I would prefer Jacori Hayes on the field over him every game. I already wrote about my love for Hayes previously, but if you look at the charts from the game on Saturday, you will see that for playing essentially the same spot, Hayes makes a much larger impact.
Bailey Brown - FC Dallas/mlsfemale
Hayes left, Gruezo right. Courtesy of MLS.

The Ugly

Even though FC Dallas is undefeated, we are 7th in the Western Conference. We have had 4 home games already with only one win. The issue is NOT shooting. Let that be known. The issue is FINISHING.

Out of 17 shots on Saturday, Tim Howard only had to make 4 saves. That is unacceptable to me. We have to get our shots on target and finish. Why does this matter? We are about to go on the road with our first away game against New England Revolution this Saturday.

FC Dallas is notorious for not getting points on the road. If we want to make the playoffs this year, we must connect through the field and put the ball in the back of the net. I’ll be interested to see how we do when we visit Boston (Foxborough… whatever) this weekend. I think it will be very telling of how we will fare on the road this year.

In the “real world”, I am a coach and I preach that offense wins games and defense wins championships. I would like to be proven correct this season by how our defense plays. However, FC Dallas needs more than just defense to be able to compete or we will end a mid-table team. This should not be where we, as a community, should settle.

I hope to see the team connect more in the top ⅓ of the field and hopefully start winning more than drawing.

Featured image of Cristian Colman courtesy: @FCDallas

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @baileystaysposi

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

Time and Patience: Two qualities FC Dallas fans don’t seem to give, but it may pay off

Bailey Brown - FC Dallas/mlsfemale
Official FC Dallas Reporter

By Bailey Brown // @baileystaysposi

Sunday, March 18: 3-0 Win

I’m going to start this off by saying that I was shocked that we really put yesterday’s game away. My feeling could be very wrong, but I usually feel like FC Dallas doesn’t do a great job of really killing off teams when they’re a man up. However, yesterday was different. I liked it. I liked it a lot. But, I had a lot of other thoughts on things that I liked about the game other than the score.

FC Dallas had what was arguably the worst fallout of a season in 2017. I feel that going into 2018, fans were wary of what we would see on the field. We had some great offseason signings and the promise of playing some of our kids. Dallas fans are notorious for not being patient and wanting to see changes and improvements: looks at watch… like, yesterday.

One thing we could definitely benefit from is seeing that time on the field for some of these new players and being patient with them. It will benefit everyone involved. I feel like we finally got a glimpse of what we can see from some of these players and it may just pay off.

Anton Nedyalkov: I didn’t know what to expect from this man from Bulgaria when we signed him. I liked what I saw in film and some Dallas podcasts interviewed fans from his former team and we liked what we heard. However, the transition to MLS can be a lot for someone and may take some time. Let’s just say, in the short amount of time he has been in Dallas, Nedyalkov has definitely earned his new nickname, “The Bulgarian Butcher”.

This man is a blessing to our defense. He really seems to not care if he puts someone on the ground and I love every second of it. I tend to feel that MLS usually is about speed and Nedyalkov is there to literally stop someone in their tracks. Not to mention, he is not afraid to completely push up and just throw another team’s defense off. He actually did this yesterday and set Lamah up for his second goal. It was beautiful and I can’t wait to see more.

Paxton Pomykal: Pomykal is one of those Dallas homegrowns I have been waiting to see really get some time. He came in for Jacori Hayes and only played 26 minutes, but he showed us a lot. Paxton has the speed down the side, but also the skill to make defenders look dumb.

There are two plays of Paxton’s that really stand out to me. One of the first runs he had was dribbling down the field and what seemed to be around five different Seattle Sounders players. I was impressed and the crowd seemed to be as well. The next play that stood out to me was when he kept control of the ball and made a great through to Barrios.

Something I think Dallas has struggled with is getting balls to Barrios for him to make the runs we know he is good at. Pomykal can deliver those and it sets us up for success on many levels.

Jacori Hayes: Jacori Hayes supposedly almost didn’t get the start, but I’m sure glad he did. This kid has impressed me. One thing I like about him is that he is just consistent. The FC Dallas midfield is just not as strong as we want it to be. There just seems to be a missing piece.

While Kellyn Acosta is out, we seem to be lacking depth as well. Hayes can hold it down. We still need that connecting piece that makes the ball movement from defense to our forwards more fluid, but I really think Hayes could be a part of that puzzle. With a little bit more experience and time, I think Hayes will take more chances and really make it his own. Not to mention, he took some hard hits yesterday. He is definitely tough physically and mentally.

Our game against Seattle was everything I wanted it to be. Were they without some key players? Yes. Did Dempsey go out on a red because he can’t keep his hands to himself? Yes. But, defeating Seattle always feels sweet. We had some solid plays from Urruti, Lamah, and Barrios, and I hope the team we saw yesterday continues to jell together and puts games away.

Also, congratulations to Oscar Pareja on becoming the winningest coach in the modern FC Dallas era!


Featured image of rowboat celebration courtesy: Bailey Brown

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @baileystaysposi

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale