FC Dallas Disappoints: 2-1 Loss in St Louis
That did not go well. FC Dallas makes too many mistakes, opening up questions as the team faces a brutal series ahead.
In our Afterburn Podcast, Jose and I were pretty confident that FC Dallas was going to overcome the mistakes from their fragile win against Austin as they turned around quickly to face Western Conference leaders St Louis City SC.
But, alas, Nkosi Tafari turned from a game-winning performance into a clutch mistake that cost his team points.
Just as the commentators were acknowledging how strong FC Dallas began the game in St Louis, Tafari struggled to communicate with his keeper, leaving a ball in dangerous territory for an onrushing St Louis City attacker. A simple clearance from Tafari would have averted the danger. Paes was hesitant or slow to clear the ball himself. The result put Dallas’ goalkeeper into the locker room with a straight red, as his kick save ricocheted the ball inadvertently off his arm.
While FC Dallas players could argue that it was harsh, Paes should have never put himself or his teammate in that position.
Likewise, Tafari should have never left such a ball in doubt.
It’s an inexplicable mistake that doomed Dallas.
Still, for the next 80 minutes, FC Dallas showed their fight and character. They stymied St Louis City into poor opportunities, long-range shots, or deeper crosses. Tafari and Ibeagha for the most part seemed up for the task of swatting away the opportunities with Jimmy Maurer looking capable in the posts. The midfield was active and decent, but the offense couldn’t turn opportunities into clear shots on goal.
But then luck ran out. Ema Twumasi, suddenly showing his ceiling as a professional MLS player, didn’t fully mark his man, and St Louis went up late. Another goal followed that one as the home side was ready to punish the ten men visitors with high pressure. It was over.
A late goal from Eugene Ansah was a measure of consolation for Dallas’ effort, but the result was a huge shock to this team’s aspirations.
What is next? Can FC Dallas find a way to turn around their form at home?
Here are some final thoughts:
Two games in a row, FC Dallas has missed Jesus Ferreira. At this point, you almost want the front office to extend Jesus’ contract and make him more expensive to buy out for a move to Europe. The team simply struggles to score without his presence, as he recovered from a recent sickness.
Tafari and Paes’ mistake is tough to swallow. For too long, FC Dallas fans have desired players who are clutch in big moments and don’t make the dumb mistakes that cost vital points. Tonight, that kind of professionalism was lacking. At this stage in the season, you simply cannot do that, no matter what team you are.
Ema Twumasi has hit his ceiling. We have loved Twumasi for the way he has shifted into a role as a solid defensive right-back project, but his offensive play has suffered. The team needs more from this position, and it may be time to move on from Twumasi as anything more than a roster depth piece. Of course, Ema could prove us wrong. I hope he does.
Paxton had a decent game overall, as he worked his way back into the lineup. I love his work rate and fight, but at some point, we still need to see that next level from the veteran player.
Jesus Jimenez is a bust. The veteran strike should have used a moment like this to show his quality, but he looks lost. Maybe he doesn’t fit in Dallas? The fact that he was the first sub off after the red card to Paes, instead of a young player like Dante Sealy, is a big tell.
Nico Estevez wasn’t happy with the referee's actions. Here are his words after the match:
“I do not agree with the decision of the referee, and I don’t think the calls were even for most of the game. Any doubt was against us, I am not really happy with that. We deserve more respect.”
This is one of those games where it is easy to be harsh on players, but you do have to acknowledge the team’s fight. They stayed in it. For 80 minutes, Dallas earned at least a point on the road. The loss however shows that this team has work to do if they want to prove they are a playoff team.
That begins this weekend.
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