FC Dallas fell to the New York Red Bulls 3-0 Saturday. However, there were events outside of the match and during the match that is causing discussion with FC Dallas fans. Here are some takeaways from a rough Saturday in Harrison and some keys
Anton Nedyalkov transfer
Early Saturday morning, FC Dallas announced that off-season signing Anton Nedyalkov was moving to Bulgarian side Ludogarets. FCD Technical Director Fernando Clavijo told FCDallas.com that it was due to ‘family issues’. Nedyalkov is a native of Bulgaria and played for CSKA Sofia before moving to Dallas.
Nedyalkov had been struggling with injuries during his start with Dallas. Achilles tendonitis kept him out during the beginning of the season and a broken collarbone suffered in training kept him out recently. However, when he played, he was a quality player. He was the mix of a good defensive player and a solid one going offensively. The Bulgarian often had to cover Roland Lamah when the Belgian did not track back and did well, with strong challenges and accurate distribution out of the back.
Nedyalkov was the first choice left back for Dallas.
Knowing all this makes the transfer a bit more surprising. If it was due to family issues, then good on Dallas for transferring an important player to help him out. That shows the team is all for working with the player, which can help with future players that come in.
The play of Ryan Hollingshead has been good in Nedyalkov’s absence, being able to play a wingback type role. There is some offensive ability gained with Hollingshead but defensively, something is lost. However, Hollingshead has been looking like he deserves the position full-time at some points of the season. The only issue is depth. Hollingshead’s assumed backup, Maynor Figueroa, has struggled at leftback and should be placed at centerback full-time. Outside of him, there is not much depth there. Dallas might have to dip into the summer transfer market and bring in a reserve leftback who can play that role. Otherwise, it will be an issue.
Kellyn Acosta’s Reaction
Kellyn Acosta was subbed off in the 32nd minute in Dallas’ 3-0 loss against the Red Bulls. Acosta came off the field and went straight to the locker room, with a very frustrated look on his face. Social media speculated, wondering it the U.S. men’s national team player was injured once again. However, post-match, coach Oscar Pareja denied that, saying the move was tactical.
“We had the advantage of one man and we wanted to move forward,” Pareja said. “We decided to go with three midfielders in the middle. When we went one man up, we wanted to add another forward and we wanted to sacrifice one of those midfielders, and in this case, it was Kellyn…Kellyn has been getting back into his rhythm [since his injury]. We are trying to add minutes and to give him a chance to recover and be himself. Today was more tactical, just to add another forward instead of having the three midfielders.”
It has been a very frustrating year for Acosta. He wants to regain that form he had last season, where he had European interest. The World Cup is going on at the moment, which may remind him of the U.S. Men’s National Team failure to reach the grand stage. His injury was frustrating and kept him out for the start of the season. He has gone the distance once, against Montreal in the team’s 2-0 victory on June 9. There’s a lot of frustration built and it showed. Dallas fans hope it’s just a one-game thing or otherwise, it’s going to be interesting.
NYRB 3, FCD 0
Oh, and there was a game this weekend! Dallas came into the matchup second in the West and coming off of a 3-2 Open Cup defeat to Sporting Kansas City. This game was supposed to be a pick me up, a better match. The Red Bulls are a top team in MLS with its high-pressing style and lethal goal scoring, led by Bradley Wright-Phillips, who has 11 goals in 12 matches.
FCD withstood the beginning and gained a leg-up in the 25th minute when Daniel Royer was sent off for an ankle-breaking challenge on Jacori Hayes. A man up, on the road, against a top team. What else can a team ask for?
Credit Jesse Marsch’s men for weathering that storm. Tyler Adams used sheer effort and hustle to beat Kellyn Acosta to the ball on the opening goal. Acosta seems to be just waiting, while Adams sprints by him and plays the ball across. Aaron Long’s effort was very nice and for much of the match, Dallas looked like the team with 10 men. The team just seemed as if it had no energy. It was an embarrassing defeat and it brought back thoughts of last year’s collapse, which happened around the same time in the summer.
Dallas has a very crucial match against Minnesota coming up, on the road. The team’s next match after? Atlanta on July 4. The Loons match will be crucial and Dallas will need to take a positive result out of the match, whether it’s a draw or a victory. If not, there could be some doubt creeping into the team’s heads with the cloud of last year looming above them.
Forget the distractions
There is a lot of distractions going around FCD right now. Nedyalkov’s sudden departure and the potential Diaz transfer is giving plenty of storylines off-the-field. That seemed to be part of the demise of the 2017 squad, where Kellyn Acosta was gaining European interest and Michael Barrios and Maxi Urruti were the subjects of transfer bids.
Pareja needs to rally the troops and focus on the game at hand. Looking at the standings, Minnesota does not look like a good team, sitting ninth in the Western Conference. There are so many circumstances that make this a trap game of sorts: the bad play last match, the transfer rumors, and the looming July 4 matchup against a strong Atlanta United side. TCF Bank Stadium is turf and the weather will be blistering hot, with kickoff around 95 degrees.
This is one of the rallying moments for the team. If there is not a result here, it could be the start of a tough string of matches for Dallas, which include: ATL, @RSL, CHI, @HOU, @SKC.