At one point this season, FC Dallas presented the most feared attack in MLS.
But now, they find themselves clumped in the middle of the pack, tied with two other teams for tenth in the league with 33 goals scored. On top of that, they’ve only found the back of the net once during their current three-game losing streak.
“We get concerned obviously because we want to win, score goals and get points,” said head coach Oscar Pareja. “But I need to be patient with them and support them.”
The offensive slump has not been limited to just one player. Fabian Castillo has not scored in six weeks and has only put up six shots in his last four games. Mauro Diaz has recently dealt with injuries and has returned to a special training regimen separate from the rest of the team. Blas Perez and Tesho Akindele have not logged a goal or assist since a May 9 win over the LA Galaxy.
Michael Barrios has proven the team’s lone bright spot recently, scoring half of the team’s goals over their last four games. But besides him, none of the club’s newcomers or versatile veterans have been able to pick up the slack.
“It could be anything,” Pareja said of the slump. “It could be lack of confidence at the moment, or maybe things are not coming their way. We’re exploring those things with them through video.”
Castillo himself says he views his individual lack of production as a blip on the radar, explaining that every player in the league has ups and downs in a season.
“Right now, I’m still confident because the coach, the team and everybody on the team confides in me,” Castillo said. “The crowd comes to support me also. I feel confident that I’m going to start scoring again because it’s just a matter of time.”
His coach agrees.
“He’ll be back,” Pareja said. “It’s just a matter of patience. It’s normal. You can’t think of any player in the league that doesn’t have dry moments when they don’t find the net.”
The scoring drought has contributed to a slide in the Western Conference standings. Competing for the Supporters' Shield a few short weeks ago, Dallas now only hold a three-point advantage over seventh-place San Jose. FCD has not gained a single point in the standings since the last time they scored multiple goals in a game, a 4-1 bludgeoning of Portland July 25.
Dallas can take solace in the fact that this weekend’s opponent, Real Salt Lake (9 pm ET, MLS LIVE), have allowed more goals (38) than any other team in the Western Conference. They also have the third-worst goal differential in MLS at -9.
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But Dallas still have to control their own destiny when it comes to snapping out of their current offensive funk.
True to form, the often-optimistic Pareja has faith in his squad.
“We work during the week on strategies and drills to make that change. But I’ve got their heart, their determination and their willingness to do it,” Pareja said. “So for me, it’s just a matter of time.”