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FC Dallas headed up north to take on a struggling Minnesota United that are missing many key players. Unfortunately, FC Dallas did not catch a break from the heat as the temperature at kickoff was 98°F. It was evident that the heat did have an impact on the players and playing on turf most certainly did not help. While it wasn’t entirely roses and sunshine, the Huntsmen did walk away with a valuable 3 points after losing in a less than stellar action to the New York Red Bulls. How did it all unfold though?

Tactics

The 4-3-3 has returned and has proved to be the most successful formation that Oscar Pareja has used this season. FC Dallas started the game with five homegrown (Pomykal, Ulloa, Reaves, Cannon, Gonzalez) tying the franchise record for most homegrown started (5 vs. Columbus in 2015). Nice to see the #playyourkids motto still strong.

06-29-1820Starting20XI20-20Social
FC Dallas Starting XI vs. Minnesota United “Photo: FC Dallas”

Pomykal quickly turned into a false winger just like we have seen Mauro Diaz do before. One of the great things about Paxton is his versatility. While he played as a central midfield in the academy and in naturally a 10, we have seen him play on the wings and that is just what he did this game. Paxton roamed all over the front line and midfield really pulling the strings for Dallas. Dallas looked to hit on the counter and valued the possession they had by making smart movements and threatening passing.

Events

The game was rather slow throughout the game. Heat+turf=hot and not pretty but both team tried to do their best with the conditions.

57′ – Santiago Mosquera came in for Paxton Pomykal who had a very good game.

59′ – Just two minutes after Santi cam in the deadlock was broken with a Roland Lamah header from Santiago Mosquera corner making it 1-0 FCD.

69′ – Kellyn Acosta comes in to replace Michael Barrios which is the opposite substitution from the Red Bulls game that notably saw Acosta walk straight to the tunnel. At this point in the game, Dallas was playing with 6 homegrowns (an MLS record).

78′ – Ryan Hollingshead is brought in for Kris Reaves who also had an amazing professional debut.

Thoughts

The best way to summarize the match is that while it wasn’t pretty, but the job got done and the 3-points are coming home.

In the first 30 minutes of the game, Dallas really tried to exploit the left side of the field with Figueroa trying to build it out the back or switch the play and have Pomykal as an outlet to create chances by passing to Maxi or Lamah who would cross/cut in. Dallas was able to create a majority of their chances like this on both sides of the field.

I will say that Minnesota was doing a good job on their own with missing many key players and doing well on the counter. The FCD defense took care of the Minnesota counter and was only trouble with balls that went over the top.

In comparison to last week, Jesse had a much better and was the Jesse that we all know that he can be. He 5 saves with each one helping FCD stay in the game.

Kris Reaves. What else to say but excellent job on your debut. He took care of the defense excellently and made sure the Darwin Quintero was not a problem for Dallas.

Kris Reaves Defensive Actions
Yellow-recoveries, Blue-interceptions, Purple-clearances, Green-tackles, Red-tackles lost “Photo: MLSsoccer.com”

It is really comforting to know that we have a quality defender in Reaves whenever we need him and it looks like the future of FC Dallas is in good hands with the homegrown. Kudos to Papi as well for giving Reaves the start, its not always easy to come in as a homegrown and game and timing has to be right for the player to foster.

The concern I had was the defense gave up quite a few corner kicks in the first half (7) and they became very leaky in the second half. Minnesota had many close scoring opportunities that they could have capitalized on.

The attack was limited with 8 shots being fired, 4 on target, 3 blocked, and 1 missed. Maxi seems to have run into a wall as there was some decision making that confounded me a bit. There were times when players had an open teammate that was in a better position but no play was made. Papi opted to be more direct with the attack in the second half and that led to more quality chances.

It was a good game in terms of the conditions that both teams had to play in. Dallas made the most of their chances and walk away with a big three points. At the time of writing, they are tied for first with Kansas City on 32 points and tied for second in the supports shield. This was FCD’s first game of 3 in 9 days. FC Dallas will be back in action against Atlanta United at home for the 4th of July this coming Wednesday at 7:00 pm. Tickets are still available as this will be a very good game for both teams. Additionally, stay after the match for the best firework display for the 4th of July.

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