FRISCO - It’s everyone’s favorite time of the week! Cure your case of the Mondays with this week’s Mailbag.
“How would you grade the set piece performance of opening day?” - Shelby Walston
Defending, we’ve seen several times during preseason and early on that Dallas has had some trouble with set plays and I think they did a pretty decent job on Saturday preventing any real looks for RSL. Dallas conceded only two corners on the night and if you look at the chart of Salt Lake’s fouls won below, they didn’t give up any set pieces in a dangerous position either. To me, that’s a big win.
On the other side of the ball, there is some room to grow. Dallas took 10 corners, but only found someone on the end of the ball in the box on one occasion (not counting results from the three short corners they took). Mauro Diaz did try to catch RSL sleeping on a quick re-start in the 22nd minute, which has worked in preseason, but definitely some room to improve on the attacking front.
“Why was Jesse benched?” - Francisco Serrano
Jesse Gonzalez was not in the 18-man roster on Saturday night, but it was not for performance reasons or a benching. It was a chance to rest the young Homegrown who has picked up several small knocks along the way in preseason and even dealt with the flu ahead of Leg One in CCL play.
“Jesse had some trouble with his knee this week. We tried to wait for him to see if he would be ready for this game. I know he is still trying to recover from those two CONCACAF matches,” head coach Oscar Pareja said of the matter after the match. “Fortunately, we have players who can fit in that goalkeeper spot. Jimmy [Maurer] today showed great character stepping in goal today. It will help in the meantime that Jesse needs to recover.”
At this point in the season, there is absolutely no reason to send out someone who isn’t 100 percent and risking further injury. I believe if it were a playoff game, he would’ve been able to go, but early on in the season, rest is the best way to go to ensure longevity later on.
“Do you see Twumasi and Atuahene staying in OKC for the year unless we have injuries?” - Virgil Ross Green
Lots of questions surrounding the loan of Francis Atuahene and Ema Twumasi this week in the mailbag. First, let me say that it is crucial for these young guys to get playing time with OKC early in their careers, especially when we see how stocked Dallas is on the wings. Particularly for Atuahene, after missing almost all of preseason with a fractured ulna in his left arm suffered during week one it will be important for him to go through the remainder of OKC’s preseason and get back to full fitness.
Now, onto the possibility of either coming back during the year.
A big part of this loan aside from the playing time is the fact that both players take up international slots. Dallas, at the moment, is at the maximum of eight internationals on the first team roster and without trading for one or someone on the current list acquiring a green card, neither will be able to come back until a spot opens up. Fernando Clavijo has said that Michael Barrios is close to getting a green card, so once that happens one of them could make a return. I think it’s likely that Atuahene will come back at some point as one of the most MLS-ready talents in the SuperDraft this year, but I’d wager FCD is ok with giving Twumasi a full year of development in USL as his skill set is a little more raw and could benefit immensely from minutes and confidence at the lower level.