Hindsight is 20-20.
FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja elected to leave creative midfielder Pablo Aranguiz out of the team's matchday squad for their Knockout Round playoff tie against Portland Timbers on Wednesday night. With Dallas down a goal and up a man for the final 32 minutes, Pareja admitted having the 21-year-old available could have been useful.
"Yes," Pareja said after the game when asked if he regretted not having Aranguiz on the bench. "It could have been helpful for us to have some other ideas."
Dallas only got the goal they were chasing after Portland doubled their lead, losing 2-1 and crashing out of the playoffs after 90 minutes. The Timbers defended deep, neutralizing FCD's key chance-creating outlet of counter-attacking.
Pareja explained his thinking behind including both Abel Aguilar and Jacori Hayes on the bench. It had to do with the club's hard-fought 2-1 loss to the Rapids in Colorado on Decision Day presented by AT&T just a few days prior.
"[His absence] was just purely about my ideas to see how the game can be developed on the field," Pareja said. "We came from Colorado, I thought the central midfielders had a lot of kilometers in that game and we were thinking that probably today we may need that energy in the middle. So that was a pure coach's decision."
Had Dallas been able to hold onto a late 1-0 lead in that game against the Rapids, they'd have finished second in the Western Conference and skipped out on the Knockout Round altogether.
Arriving midseason as the long-term replacement for the outgoing Mauro Diaz, Aranguiz will look to have a larger impact on the team in 2019. His first half-season in MLS ends with just 282 minutes played, spread across nine appearances.