For FC Dallas, a team that was lauded earlier in the season for its dynamic attack, finishing a match with seven shots – only two on goal – seems out of character.
But the team did exactly that on Saturday in a 1-0 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps, leaving FC Dallas fifth in the Western Conference, with only three points separating them from seventh-place San Jose Earthquakes.
The loss, their third straight, marks the first time this season that FC Dallas have failed to collect a single point during a three-game span.
“It gets old to say that we played well if we do not score goals,” said FCD head coach Oscar Pareja. “Because at the end, the goals are what gives you the points.”
Without playmaker Mauro Diaz for a second consecutive week, Dallas did not look like their usual selves. There were only a handful of moments in which Dallas had a clean look at the net, and an fewer number of sustainable attacking runs, preventing them from establishing a rhythm in the game.
“I think we were a little bit rushed when we were attacking,” said Dallas midfielder Victor Ulloa. “I think we could have been more patient with the ball, and taken care of it a little better.”
Fabian Castillo tried to inject life, but only finished with one shot, indicative of a negative trend since the dynamic winger returned from his participation in the AT&T MLS All Star Game nearly a month ago.
Had it not been for one defensive miscue, when Ulloa admittedly misplayed Kekuta Manneh as Vancouver's midfielder trotted across the penalty box, the blow in the standings would not seem as costly.
FC Dallas held the Whitecaps to an identical stat line: seven shots with two on target. But Vancouver put one on the scoreboard, while Dallas had five of their shots blocked by 'Caps players.
“It was a game that just one play made the difference,” Pareja said. “We were not as heavy up front to impact the game. We could have control of the game almost the entire game. But that doesn’t give you much if you don’t punish when you’re in the last third.”
And now that FCD is streaking once again – this time on the negative side – the importance of picking up points has intensified.
“We know that we’ve had a roller coaster of a season,” Ulloa said. “But we know we’re back at home next weekend against Salt Lake. So we have to win those three points. It’s going to be a huge game for us.”
Scott Sidway covers FC Dallas for MLSsoccer.com.