After a brilliant away performance against an impressive New England team, Dallas now faces Philly at home. Our formation and tactics will probably change a little from the 4-4-2 we used against the Revolution, but the key area of importance is our right flank. Reggie Cannon will face his biggest test this season against one of the best wingers in the league: David Accam. If Cannon can stop Accam, I don’t see Philly breaking their 13-game winless run on the road.
That said, our attack and midfield are not as polished as our defense. We might bring back Diaz as the number 10 in a 4-2-3-1 or drop him for the 4-4-2. Hayes deserves to be kept in the lineup after another man-of-the-match performance (and his first goal in the MLS!). Ulloa put in a solid performance, and there’s an argument that the partnership between Ulloa and Hayes looks better than Gruezo and Hayes. Colman should keep his spot up front; although he didn’t score on Saturday, he kept the New England center backs honest and had a few decent efforts on frame. Urruti ran his socks off but still didn’t seem to create anything; it’s been a frustrating season for him so far.
In my opinion, here is the best starting eleven in two possible formations, based on current form:
Formations aside, it’s on the players to get out there and earn their spots, as Hayes has done. My biggest takeaway from the New England game is that Oscar isn’t afraid to drop big names like Diaz and Gruezo to make the team work. Players like Pomkyal, Servania, and Ferreira will be waiting for their chances when they all return from injury, and Oscar isn’t afraid to give them chances, when it makes the most sense.
In other news….
I recently asked my good friend Antony, a Yorkshireman, why he doesn’t follow MLS. He gave me three key reasons for his disinterest in the league, and I plan to discuss one point per week. The first of his reasons is:
The quality of the players isn’t there.
To which my short response is: You’re right, but it will get there.
Given that Antony supports a frontrunner Premier League team, there is no doubt that MLS players aren’t on the same level overall. That said, I firmly believe MLS has potential to grow to rival the Premier League. My two supporting arguments are: 1) compare MLS to the Chinese Super League and 2) compare MLS academies to the successful academies of Europe. The Chinese league has been spending big and making people notice. Does this mean that the quality of the Chinese league is better or as good as MLS? Absolutely not. Meanwhile, is MLS matching Europe as far as quality of youth academies? Yes.
There is a large drop from top players to average players in China, ruining the quality of overall play. The U.S. already experienced that with the NASL in the late 70s. Inevitably, the bubble burst with the NASL (I encourage everyone to watch “Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos”). The same story is playing out with the Chinese league, with many teams facing bankruptcy.
To my second point: MLS put salary cap and limited transfer spending policies in place to ensure teams don’t overspend on individual players and thereby make the same mistakes as the NASL (and now CSL). Such policies push owners to invest in youth academies in order to produce talent instead of strictly buying talent (homegrown players don’t add to the salary cap). The importance of well-nurtured youth academies cannot be overstated; the best clubs in the world tend to have the best youth academies in the world. Furthermore, most of those teams didn’t become successful and then build youth academies; they built their youth academies and then became successful. Just to name a few American youth facilities that rival the best in the world:
FC Dallas: Toyota Soccer Center
Sporting Kansas City: Swope Soccer Village
Atlanta United FC: Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground
Youth academies are massive investments, but unlike Tevez, they are worth the money and time. MLS player quality will come, we just have to be patient (like Manchester United fans had to be with Alex Ferguson’s Fledglings). Fergie’s revamping of Man United’s youth academy made them the most successful Premier League team of the modern era, and it should be noted that Ferguson was all but canned before they realized that success.
In closing: Don’t listen to the MLS haters, and be prepared for MLS to produce plenty of quality in the coming seasons.
I'll be at the game this weekend, so I can't wait to see you all at the tailgate and in the Beer Garden!
Busca La Forma,
Marcus Aurelius Wrightus