Slow fade for FC Dallas; depth issues are apparent

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Six weeks ago FC Dallas led the league, was running away with the West, cruising in the U.S. Open Cup and couldn’t be blamed for wondering about a first-ever Supporters Shield.

Today the club is winless in five league matches, has been booted from the Open Cup and couldn’t be blamed for wondering this: is the team even capable of holding serve long enough to remain among the playoff graced?

By building so many points through the season’s first three months, Schellas Hyndman’s team gave itself some wiggle room – which has all but been tossed away now.  A midweek tie at home to Chivas USA and a loss late last night to complete Major League Soccer’s busy 19th Round closed off an awful week for the Red Stripes.

Hyndman said the Galaxy “basically outworked us,” in a fairly dominant performance by the Galaxy at the StubHub Center, one that saw the home team outshoot Dallas, 23-6. But there’s a deeper issue at work here for the team from Texas.

It’s depth. A debilitating lack of it at certain spots, specifically. FC Dallas went into the season stacked at striker and at goalkeeper, and OK at center back, although quite young at the position. That’s about it. A serious lack of quality depth throughout the midfield and at outside back was always the clear and present danger – and it’s affecting the bottom line now.

FCD is OK at those positions for the first 11, but devoid of reasonable options behind them. A certain amount of good fortune with injury allowed Hyndman to keep most of his first-choice men on the field through March, April and May, which is why Dallas built its comfy cushion.

But the wear and tear began taking its toll, and an injury to invaluable center back George John has weakened the back line by a considerable margin.

When Hyndman talks about being outworked, he’s also talking about the inability to give certain players sufficient rest. But what choices does he have, unadorned by squad men capable of answering the call?

The answer: he doesn’t have enough of them – adequate options, that is. And that’s down to a roster that wasn’t developed adequately in the first place.

STREAM LIVE: USMNT looks for 3 more points in Panama

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
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The United States looks to finish the international break in an automatic qualifier spot in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying table when it faces Panama in Panama City at 10:05 p.m. EDT Tuesday.

A lot of the faces are the same from the 6-0 demolition of Honduras in California on Friday, though John Brooks and Sebastian Lletget are out with injury.

Jermaine Jones replaces Lletget while Tim Ream moves into the fray for Brooks. Geoff Cameron played Friday’s match with a minor injury, and moves out of the XI for Graham Zusi.

LINEUP

USMNT: Howard; Villafana, Gonzalez, Ream, Zusi; Bradley, Jones, Nagbe; Pulisic, Dempsey, Altidore

Subs: Bingham, Rimando; Beasley, Besler, Camron, Zimmerman; Acosta, Arriola, Bedoya, Kljestan, McCarty, Pulisic; Wondolowski

Reyes header gives Mexico three points in T&T (video)

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Diego Reyes’ 58th minute header off a corner kick gave Mexico a lead it wouldn’t give up in a 1-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago at Hasely Crawford Stadium in World Cup qualifying on Tuesday.

The win gives Mexico a table-topping 10 points, seven ahead of last-place T&T.

[ MORE: Honduras 1-1 Costa Rica ]

The Soca Warriors were in fine, stingy form early, and looked to have gone ahead on the counterattack when Joevin Jones belted a left-footer into the Mexico goal.

The linesman, however, ruled that Jones was offside. He almost certainly was not, as Mexico’s supreme luck in CONCACAF play continued for at least one night.

Hector Herrera hammered a shot off the far goal post early in the second half as Mexico attempted to grab control.

T&T goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams jammed Miguel Layun’s shot over the bar moments before the breakthrough from Reyes.

Williams then saved Javier Hernandez’s 64th minute offering as Mexico looked to put three points to bed.

Joevin Jones won a free kick in the 76th minute that gave a brief moment of light to T&T’s hopes, but Jones hit the wall and Mexico cleared the ball.

Honduras holds Costa Rica 1-1

AP Photo/Moises Castillo
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Honduras did the United States a favor by taking a point from visiting Costa Rica in Tuesday’s CONCACAF World Cup qualifier in San Pedro Sula.

Anthony Lozano pushed a 35th minute chance past an indecisive Keylor Navas, as Los Catrachos set the stage for a hopeful three points.

[ STREAM: T&T-Mexico, Panama-USMNT ]

Vancouver Whitecaps center back Kendall Waston’s haphazard defending helped allow the goal, but he scored off a late Costa Rica corner kick to ensure Costa Rica will finish the international break in second place.

With four points, Honduras moves ahead of Trinidad and Tobago and the United States before both sides play Tuesday.

Costa Rica beat the U.S. 4-0 in 2016, while the Yanks battered Honduras 6-0 on Friday.

WATCH: Video Assistant calls back Griezmann goal

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France and Spain used the Video Assistant Referee program on Tuesday in a friendly, and the French likely rue that decision.

Antoine Griezmann had an incorrectly allowed goal reverse for offside, while Gerard Deulofeu saw an initially ruled offside goal allowed upon review in Spain’s 2-0 win over France.

[ MORE: Bolivia stuns Messi-less Argentina ]

Here’s an example, as Griezmann’s barely offside goal was overturned in less than a minute (Both calls took less than a minute to decide):

At the risk of sounding like a caveman, I really don’t like these razor thin offside calls being subject to review.

When you consider the improbability of timing the moment of contact with the ball — how many times have you seen a freeze frame conveniently used to make a case? — it just seems to mess with the spirit of sport.

What do you think?