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FC Dallas welcomed the best team in the league(according to the points table), Atlanta United. Not only where their fireworks after the match but there were plenty during the game. In a game that was a very back and forth affair, FC Dallas went for the dramatic finale and had a spectacular 3-2 comeback win in front of large crowd. Here’s how it went down.

Tactics

The 4-4-2 begins the post-Mauro formations that Oscar Pareja will use. Dallas saw much success in CONCACAF Champions League and in MLS last season when Mauro was out with injury.

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FC Dallas Starting XI vs Atlanta United “Photo: FC Dallas”

It is great to see that Jesus Ferreira made the 18 for tonight’s game. That must mean he is doing some great things in practice. With a team that is very threatening on the attack, the use of Victor Ulloa and Carlos Gruezo worked out very well. The first half, looked like each team was trying to test the waters and see what the opposing team would pull out. The second half was much more lively.

Events

22′ – Reto Zeigler takes an amazing freekick to make it 1-0. When Dallas first signed Reto, he mentioned that he had great freekick abilities and it’s nice to see that it’s paying dividends.

41′ – Atlanta United pulls one of a Josef Martínez goal. 1-1

57′ – Santiago Mosquera comes off for Kellyn Acosta. Kellyn looking to link the attack with the defense and vice versa.

73′ – Josef Martínez slips through the defense and slots in another to make it 1-2.

75′ – Tesho Akindele comes into the game for Victor to help spark the attack. Victor had a great game and I’ll touch more on it in a bit.

82′ – Maynor Figueroa makes way for Ryan Hollingshead as Papi aims to get more offensive on the flanks.

86′ – Tesho Akindele scores in the open play from a Maxi Urruti assist to make the game 2-2

88′ – Tesho wasn’t done yet after a scramble in the box from a Dallas corner, he slots it home to make it 3-2. Comeback complete.

Thoughts

To quote Jack Rouse from BigDSoccer, “We are going to enjoy this result. It was a fun game and the team did great. Too often we work hard to find the negative things instead of just enjoying the positives that are right in front of us. This is true in life, and even truer in the soccer blogsphere.”

There were good and bad parts about FC Dallas game but this game really showed exactly was the Huntsmen are. They showed superb individual effort with the Reto freekick, they showed how we invite teams too much on the attack, showed how threatening the attack can be, showed how frustrating the attack can be, showed how the defense pulls off remarkable defensive efforts, showed how the defense can fall asleep at times, but most of all, they showed that this team fights until the final whistle and will leave it on the pitch. I was at the game and I don’t think it gets better than this:

What I thought was interesting is that Roland Lamah played more centrally over Mosquera. Dallas looked more like a 4-2-1-3.

Screenshot-2018-7-5 FC Dallas 3-2 Atlanta United - Major League Soccer 2018 - Match Report
Average player positioning “Photo: Whoscored.com”

Another interesting change was Dallas took as many shots inside the box as outside the box (excluding shots within the 6-yard box) with 47% for both. The game was played with 30% of the game in Atlanta’s third, 41% in the middle third, and 29% in the Dallas third. The big take away is that Dallas is able to keep teams out of their third and is keeping the game in the midfield and the opposing third. For Dallas to do this against a team like Atlanta who is littered with attacking talent and a well-disciplined defense speaks volumes (Stats pulled from whoscored.com).

The defense was good but they just fell asleep and look sloppy at times which lead to the goals. It’s the attention to details that could use improvement. I know that they gave up two goals but it was a good showing from this backline who has faced the attack of Atlanta and Toronto this season.

With Diaz gone, it looked like the team could play more open this time and Victor stepped up. Ulloa has been criticized for either playing to horizontal or just playing back passes all the time. In this game, Victor kept the ball moving the entire time, cycling the ball around the backline and midfield in the defensive half and moving the ball up and around in the attacking half. His movement on the ball is what kept Atlanta on their toes and helped open up space which is what his passing chart does not show.

Screenshot-2018-7-5 FC Dallas 3, Atlanta United 2 2018 MLS Match Recap(2)
Green-successful pass, Red-failed pass, Yellow-key pass “Photo: Mlssoccer.com”

It was a great game and they really gave the crowd a show to watch. Hopefully, they have won over more fans to come out to the games. FC Dallas will play their last match in 9 days on July 9th (this Saturday) at 9:00pm. They will face Real Salt Lake who have had a stellar season at home. The game can be viewed on TXA 21.

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