It's no secret FC Dallas is in a slump as a team but there are two sides to the coin.
On one side, the team has failed to pick up three points in a league game over the last five weeks. However, on the other side, they are only three points out of first place with 12 games left to play.
"Yeah, it's a little disappointing, but we've got a long way to go yet and if we are going to have a tricky patch it's a good time to have it," said FCD coach Colin Clarke, whose club hosts New England on Saturday. "We'll come out of it and when we do come out of it we'll be a lot stronger. It's important to be playing well and firing on all cylinders at the right time and that's at the end of the season."
With only three away games let on the schedule, the Hoops will have a chance to get back on the winning track and in front of the home fans recently opened Pizza Hut Park.
It's not the point of losing the games that frustrates the Red-and-White's coach. It is how they are losing that's hard to swallow. Having lost three straight matches before the All-Star break frustration has began to set in for the team.
"The thing that disappointed me in the last game [a 2-2 against the MetroStars last Saturday] was that I thought as a team we didn't defend very well," Clarke said. "We are a team that to be at our best we need to get close to people and upset people and disrupt the other team's rhythm."
But Clarke has no need to worry. With a deep bench, the Dallas skipper has the luxury of resting players for the long stretch or sitting players out for a less than effective performance.
Sophomore defender Clarence Goodson has had to step up to the plate quickly with the departure of defender Greg Vanney due to U.S. national team duty.
"I feel there's a lot of people running around us. It's hard to defend when there's not just the forwards to defend. It's everybody," said Goodson. "I think, at times, the team is getting caught out of shape with that happening. Things are breaking down one right after another and everyone is trying to make up for someone not being there."
Clarke has made sound decisions thus far into the season for his club whether it has been with the formation, players and even the field size at Pizza Hut Park. Make no mistake regardless of the popular decision, Clark has made his choice, and, in the process, he has won the respect of his team.
FCD midfielder Oscar Pareja said, "You know when you are not winning games you have to find a way to win and make the team play better. I think we are giving a lot of goals away and we will see what will happen. I am confident in the decision of the coach."
Ron Goode is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.