FRISCO, Texas — A tough first home loss of the 2018 MLS season for FC Dallas was compounded by individual mistakes that led to all three San Jose Earthquakes goals in Saturday’s 3-1 setback. Two glaring errors fell at the feet, quite literally, of the team's Homegrown goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez.
Dallas coach Oscar Pareja has options, with Jimmy Maurer starting the season well at Toyota Stadium, but he's not ready to count his 23-year-old starter out just yet.
"When the ball doesn't bounce your way and you make mistakes, you have to assume that's part of the game," said Pareja. "It's also a position where mistakes are highlighted more than others. Jesse has our support, as does Maurer and Kyle [Zobeck], and we'll analyze what's the best option for us over the weekend. But what happened to Jesse is something that is normal in the game."
In the 19th minute, Gonzalez raced off his line to stop a Vako run but missed his challenge on the edge of the area, leaving the Quakes attacker an empty net for the opening goal of his brace. After Dallas tied the game up through Roland Lamah, Gonzalez failed to react to a Jahmir Hyka shot before a late defensive mix-up allowed Vako a tap-in to seal the Quakes' third win of the season.
Gonzalez made his 12th consecutive start on Saturday. He has still not surpassed his longest run of 18 games, from his MLS debut in August 2015 through the MLS Western Conference Championship defeat to eventual MLS Cup winners Portland and into the start of the 2016 campaign. While Gonzalez has struggled for a consistent run, Pareja suggested dropping a player can sometimes do more harm than good.
"It's tough, but Jesse has had a great season so far and we want to continue with that mentality for him," said Pareja. "Sometimes players need a break, but sometimes they just need their coach to back them up. I don't think there is one model of that, something that you can say 'I always do this' when someone makes a mistake."
It was around this time last year that FCD began what has been called the worst collapse in MLS history. Pareja has made clear that he's tired of talking about 2017, but why is this any different after the shock defeat?
"Last year is last year and this year is this year. We have to live what the present is right now. The boys have done a good job so far and we have good points," said Pareja. "We have many games ahead, and we have to solve it just game by game. That's very positive. We're not thinking about the future or the past any more."