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FC Dallas was looking to have a change of form against the Seattle Sounders after losing to San Jose though playing against Seattle in Seattle is no easy task for any team. In a high tempo and intensity game where you saw players give it their all, and with many scuffles, drama, and cards, FCD fell 1-2 is what honestly a very good game. Let’s see how it went down and why it’s not time to hit the panic button or think about the “summer swoon” or “the collapse.”

Tactics

The 4-2-3-1 made its return again but this time with a new face of Dominique Badji. Maxi seems to be embracing his new “false 10” role and I like the positioning the role that he plays. A better way to look at this formation is as a 4-4-1-1.

FC Dallas Starting XI vs. Seattle Sounders                                              Photo: FC Dallas

Oscar Pareja wanted the team to come out strong and attacking and that is exactly what the team did. Be defensively sound and come out strong on the counter-attack and press high and hard. I really liked the way that the team played and I’ll explain why later in the “Thoughts” section.

Events

41′ – Chad Marshall nods in a glancing header off of Seattle’s 10th corner of the game giving the Sounders the 0-1 lead.

Halftime: FC Dallas 0 – 1 Seattle Sounders

52′ – Maxi Urruti receives the ball off a nice cross from Pedroso and lays it up to Michael Barrios who gets past his defender to cross/pass it to Badji who kinda pushes the ball into the goal. That’s the way that you want to start your debut. 1-1.

63′ – Badji comes off with what looks like a foot injury and Pablo Aranguiz gets his debut with FC Dallas. Lodeiro scores off of his freekick that goes past a whiffed Lamah header and bounces into the goal. 1-2.

87′ – Victor Ulloa comes off for Tesho Akindele and Papi is really pushing to try to get a point at Century Link Field.

90′ – Colman comes in for Reggie Cannon and Papi is all in.

91′ – Reto Ziegler gets sent off after getting headbutted in the head. While Ziegler does react and kinda swats at Ruidiaz it’s beyond me why Ruidiaz didn’t get sent off let alone VAR wasn’t used. Ask Zidane and he’ll tell you that headbutting a player is a red card. Also if that’s a red card, that why wasn’t the kick to Reggie’s head, not a red card nor VAR being used? Here’s the closest I could find of the whole play.

Final: FC Dallas 1 – 2 Seattle Sounders

Thoughts

I really liked the way that the team played despite the result. The Huntsmen played with a lot of passion and intensity which I would say is the most that we have seen this season. It was high tempo and intensity from the first to final whistle which made for an entertaining match. IT was evident on how much the players wanted that tying goal and how frustrated they were with the Seattle Neymar impressions and the officiating.

It’s important to note that playing on the road in MLS is a hard thing to do for any team despite this year’s success that FCD has had on the road. I really do think that FCD played a good game and they were a good team and that it was just two little things that lead to the goals and therefore the match. I’m not going to hit the panic button and, no, “The Collapse” is not coming. It was just two small things and they were off of set pieces as well, not open play. In reality, if you take a step back, I and many would say that playing in Seattle is a loss regardless but this was a really good performance by the team in comparison to other times that we played Seattle in Seattle.

What made this game hard for Dallas was the high press that Seattle played with. I will hand it to Brian Schmetzer as this is the first team that pressed FCD the high, hard, and consistent throughout the game. San Jose did that to FCD in the early part of the game which made it hard for FCD to come back. What was different though is that the Huntsmen were able to hold off the high press and do the same on their own. Obviously, 11 corners conceded in the first half isn’t ideal for any team and one was bound to go in. Lamah should have done better than to whiff the ball and that’s hard for Jesse to do much as he though Lamah would get it but at the same time, a ball played into your box, you should be ready for anything.

Something that caught my eye was the team positioning as well. Maxi, Barrios, Lamah, all seemed to occupy too much of the same space.

FCD vs Seattle Player Positioning
Seattle Sounders (Left) & FC Dallas (Right)                                                Photo: whoscored.com

Take a look at how well spaced Seattle is compared to our middle. That’s something we have seen a lot as of late. Though, it might show that Lamah and Barrios are closer to the middle than they really were because they did switch wings multiple times throughout the game.

I think the backline was good and here’s why. Yes, Seattle had 13 shots and that’s a high number. 4 were on target and the other that weren’t goals resulted in that really nice double save that Jesse made. 6 were off target and that was the way that the defense (with the help of Victor and Gruezo) forced the opposition around. 3 shots were blocked. Those are good numbers against an attack with the likes of Lodeiro, Roldan, Ruidiaz, and Shipp. Also, Pedroso looked really good. His one-on-one abilities looked really good this game and he got forward as well. His individual play is looking really good and as he gets more used to this team and coming out of preseason mode, it thinks we got ourselves a really good left-back.

I can’t give enough praise for Victor and Gruezo. I really liked how those two are working out. You can see that they have learned from each other and its complimented each others game rather nicely. Gruezo is more willing to go forward and he is applying his “destroyer” mentality further up the field as well. Likewise, Victor’s defense was improved. Ulloa passing range and abilities are opening up as well and he’s going more for those long balls and is coming close to completing them as well.

Victor's Passing
Green-successful pass, Yellow-key pass, Red- Unsuccessful Pass Photo: mlssoccer.com

The same can be said for Gruezo

Gruezo passing
Green-successful pass, Yellow-key pass, Red- Unsuccessful Pass Photo: mlssoccer.com

Look at that, he had a key pass! I don’t think these two get enough praise for the work that they bring to the team. While we are talking about the midfield, I would have liked to have seen Jacori brought into the game around the 60th or even earlier. Hayes is so calm on the ball and does so well holding onto it would have been a nice help on the defense and the offense. He would have slowed things down nicely in what at times was a too fast of a game for FC Dallas.

Barrios did fine and he’s starting to find his footing against with the type of runs he makes and the off the ball movements. It looks like he is reading the game better and I think this is great news. If he continues this upward trend, he looks like he will be nice and hot for the playoffs. Now, I’m not a big fan of Lamah but I was actually thoroughly impressed and please which is ball movement, runs, and vision and even defensive ability in this game. In the first half. The second half was a different story and was the Lamah that made me scratch my head. He looked like a complete player in the first half and that is the stuff that I would like to see more off. Going at players with a nice touch and control of the ball, making nice runs on and off the ball, applying pressure and playing rather nice defense.

I liked what the Badji and Maxi partnership are going to bring. Badji makes nice off the ball movements and runs and can push the opposition defense and keep the honest allowing Maxi to do his thing a little deeper. Badji gets in the right place and is that target player.

El Principito gets a paragraph all to his own. In the 31 minutes that Pablo Aranguiz got to play, it was a game changer for FC Dallas. HE. WAS. EVERYWHERE. He played defense, he played midfield, he played as a winger, he played as 10. He really kept the ball moving and you can see the excellent vision that he has. Reminds me of a certain player…

I think he’s going to age nicely with this team and I’m in no hurry to rush him into the starting lineup. I trust in Papi and Aranguiz will be a really big difference maker. Again, let’s look at El Principito as his own player and not as the Diaz replacement. “But Nico, you just quoted a tweet comparing him to Diaz.” Well, yes but Aranguiz and Diaz are two different people and while he has the traits of Diaz, I think Aranguiz will bring more in his versatility, physically, technical ability, and skill. Only time will tell though.

There’s is good though. Badji got his FCD debut and there are many promising signs. Aranguiz gives many fans a reason to be excited. This team can attack. This team can play with a high press. This team knows how to fend off a high press. This team played well despite the result. Lamah looked good! Victor and Carlos is the real deal. Reggie. Reggie. Also Reggie. Pedroso impressed greatly. This team knows how to play against crap officiating. Angry Papi is a cool thing. Also this…

The irony. I mean, it takes one to know one, right?
giphy

There are many positives from this match and no need to worry or panic. What’s playing into peoples issues is that we lost to San Jose and now its two losses in a row. You don’t always win all of them and that why we love the game. It keeps us on edge, always throwing at us what we don’t expect. Papi gets fueled by this and he’s going to work with this team and the team knows it as well. This team has great chemistry in contrast to last year. Last year it was the chemistry that leads to the collapse and chemistry is a hard thing to control. The tactics is an easy fix in comparison and the coaching staff and players know that. This team is still special and I do think they have a shot at MLS Cup and Supports Shield. They don’t the media or me to remind that or tell them that we sit in first place in the west with a 3 point cushion and that we are 4th in the Supporters Shield standing. They know that and its not like they don’t care. You saw how frustrated they were at the end of the game and even after the game. Papi went up to Unkel and put him in his place. As our parents tell us, “It’s going to be okay.”

 

 

FC Dallas looked to get Oscar Pareja’s 100th win against the Loons this Saturday. Come out and watch August 18th at 7:00 pm as FC Dallas plays host to Minnesota United. The new Hall of Fame seating is open and the shade is nice. If you can’t make it out, catch it on TXA-21. As Bobby McFerrin said, “Don’t worry. Be happy!”

 

Featured Image: FC Dallas
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