CITY Struggles Continue Against Slumping FC Dallas


By Cole Sutton

Vibes may be at an all-time low after yet another frustrating performance from the Boys in Red this past Saturday in Frisco. FC Dallas has struggled mightily this season, with a record of 4-8-5 (Win-Loss-Draw) sitting 12th in the west after earning the 2-0 victory against St. Louis.

It was the first MLS regular season win for Dallas since May 11th which is also the last time CITY earned all three points dating back to their 3-1 win against Chicago at CITYPARK.

Winless in the last six (!!!) games, frustrations seem to be peaking as we saw some arguments between players and some poor body language in the second half Saturday night. CITY is now 3-5-9 through 17 league matches with their nine draws leading all of MLS. The club is still searching for their first road victory of the season (0-3-5) and is desperately looking for some clinical finishing in their attacking threat, which has been lackluster, to say the least. July 18th can't come soon enough…

That's where the frustration stems for me at least, as St. Louis finished the match with more possession, expected goals (xG), total shots, shots on target, shots inside and outside the box, "big" chances, and accurate passing according to FotMob's numbers. So on paper, it seems CITY was the better side and produced more quality opportunities than their opponents, so how does the match finish 2-0?

Converting chances and putting the ball in the back of the net has been a big point of discussion for CITY supporters as of late. With only 5 goals in their last six matches (three came in the draw against Inter Miami) and now with long-term injuries to both Rasmus Alm and Célio Pompeu, & the AZ Jackson trade rumors, it seems that supporters will be relying heavily on newcomer Cedric Teuchert and possible new addition Marcel Hartel from FC St Pauli (Bundesliga 2) to lift the slumping offensive numbers when they arrive in mid-July.

Manager Bradley Carnell on the lack of critical finishing from his squad:

"The thing is that the industry that we're in you play games to score goals, to win points on the board. And you go through moments, and sometimes the road that's a far traveled road, which is an MLS season. It has ups, its downs, its lefts, its rights. You have to jump over the problems and off you go again," Carnell said. "We have to stop feeling sorry for ourselves. We have to be critical in our evaluation, and we have to share and show where it's not good enough. And then we also have to share and show where it is good enough. And so that I think we've done massive, massive steps forward as a group."

Despite Saturday's defeat, the boys came out of the gates firing with their high work rate pressing the opposition up the field seemingly focusing their attack along the right-hand side with the connection of Tomas Totland and Pompeu looking great early. The match was turned on its head near the 20-minute mark though when Pompeu had to be subbed off due to a gruesome injury. We now know the injury diagnosis was a dislocated ankle and fractured fibula which will keep the Brazilian winger out for the remainder of the 2024 season and possibly beyond.

Shortly after that, Joakim Nilsson was whistled for a penalty around the 25-minute mark due to a shoulder-to-shoulder-looking challenge. The CITY defender was just a step behind Dallas' Paul Arriola which seemed like the reason for the penalty decision. Jesus Ferreria of Dallas buried it from the spot, putting Dallas ahead 1-0. To continue the nightmare of a first half, St. Louis also lost Nilsson to yet another hamstring injury in the 36th minute. Josh Yaro replaced the Swedish international for CITY's second sub in less than 40 minutes of action.

The first half ended with a bit of controversy as a handball was missed in the 12 minutes of stoppage time. Hosei Kijima made a great move to advance the attack through the midfield before slotting the ball out wide towards Totland on the right. Totland's cross deflects off a Dallas defender's knee and pops up to hit his arm before dropping at the feet of Kijima who sends a chance over the bar. Despite CITY players swarming the referee, no stop was made to take a look at VAR and Dallas took their ensuing goal kick quickly to avoid any further discussions.

Midfielder Eduard Löwen recalled the controversial no-call after the match: "I think if you ask Dallas and if they are really honest they are very happy with the win, and they know they shouldn't have won this game. Because they are just sitting in a deep block, they were trying to play out, Edu said. "They get a few chances, not many chances, and at the end of the day, they get a penalty that isn't a penalty. Then they score from a set piece that we get caught sleeping…"

Despite CITY's countless opportunities in the second half, the game remained 1-0 until the 81st minute when a mindless defensive lapse allowed FC Dallas to put the game away on a corner. Nkosi Tafari of Dallas was originally marked by Vassilev on the initial run, but as the attacker cut in closer to the goal, Vassilev left his man unmarked. Substitute CB Josh Yaro made an attempt to close out Tafari's space, but he was too late and gave the opposition an unimpeded chance at goal which he buried.

Despite the announcement of 11 minutes of second-half stoppage time, CITY was unable to score a goal for the second straight match as the battle ended 2-0 in favor of the home club.

Carnell discussed the frustrating loss with the media following the final whistle:

"You know, 100% I felt we had enough chances to dictate and dominate the game. I felt we had enough in their end of the play. We give up two moments and a penalty, of which, not sure it was and a corner kick goal. So unfortunately, we give up two, three moments and we get punished for two, recalled Carnell. "For the 20 minutes that were in the game in the first 20 minutes. Wow. I thought we did an excellent job. The only thing that's lacking now is to create the clear moments or you know, I thought we got a lot of shots on target and, unfortunately, the zero scoreline stays intact for them."

Looking ahead, CITY will be returning to CITYPARK for two games only three days apart with a midweek test against a struggling Colorado Rapids on Wednesday and a clash against Atlanta United on Saturday. With Alm, Pompeu & Nilsson all out with injuries and the yellow card suspension for Tim Parker, it will certainly be a great opportunity for some new faces like Caden Glover, Johnny Klein, and even possibly Michael Wentzel to see some first-team minutes in front of their home supporters.