Another red card, another loss for sliding FC Dallas

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For the second time in three weeks, a match between San Jose and FC Dallas ended 11-on-10, but although the numerical advantage changed hands on Saturday night, advantage on the scoresheet did not. With a first half equalizer from Atiba Harris and a 38-yard bomb from Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi, San Jose overcame Blas Pérez’s early opener, taking advantage of Adam Moffat’s two first half yellow cards to win at Toyota Stadium, 2-1.

The win takes San Jose’s unbeaten run to five, with the team’s 4-4-4 record assuaging the insecurities that surfaced after the team’s slow start. The theory that March’s wane was more tough schedule than reason for pause? It’s proven correct in May. Thanks for a revamped midfield built around Pierazzi and Khari Stephenson, San Jose has recaptured a sliver of last fall’s momentum.

Now those insecurities now rest with FC Dallas, whose league high eight-match winless run leaves the team without a victory since Apr. 20. Even stranger than the team’s slump — a dip that’s coincided with Mauro Díaz’s time on the sidelines – is Dallas’s inability to finish a match 11-on-11. Be it by its own red cards or its opponents’, seven FCD’s last 13 games have seen at least one player red carded. Of the nine red cards that have been shown in that time, Dallas has seen five of them, with six players earning straight dismissals.

The quirk makes it difficult to draw any firm conclusions most many so many of Dallas’s performances. We think there are problems creating chances without Díaz, and the defense seems talented but mistake prone, but with so many minutes played at something other than 11-on-11, it’s difficult to be sure.

The results, however, are always the first clue. They may not always accurately portray a team’s quality, but they always serve as a good starting point.

Whatever’s going on in Dallas, whatever the team’s underlying level of performance might be, the team’s points-per-game rate is now the second-worst in the Western Conference. The standings may say fourth place, but once the rest of the West make up their matches in hand, FCD’s going to be in trouble

At some point, the Toros need to figure out how to play without Mauro Díaz. Step one may be keeping 11 players on the field.