DALSportsNation

After getting to experience all 4 seasons in the span of 2 and a half hours, FC Dallas was able to guide its way back onto the winning path. On top of the seconds longest weather delay in FCD history, three more milestones were reached: Papi’s 100th MLS win, Matt Hedges’ 200 MLS appearance, and FCD’s 200th home win. While it as flashy on the field as it was in the sky, it was a simple game that allowed the Huntsmen to gain their confidence back after facing two tough losses as they defeated the loons 2-0. Heres how it went.

Tactics

Óscar Pareja brought in some new faces for this game. Jimmy Maurer was the man between the sticks for tonight’s game and Kyle Zobek made his first 18 for the season. Maynor Figueroa made the starting 11 for the suspended Reto Zeigler. Pablo Aránguiz made his first FC Dallas start out on the left. I wouldn’t say, false winger, as he has had experience playing on the wings and can play the winger role. More on that in the “Thoughts”. Moises Hernadez made his first 18, Pomykal continues to make the 18 at home, and Santi is back!

 

FC Dallas Starting XI vs. Minnesota United                                                       Photo: FC Dallas

 

I kinda like this look as it works as a multitude of formations. First, it can work as a 4-2-3-1, 4-2-1-3, or a 4-2-4 in the attack. On the defensive, it can look like a 4-4-2 or a 4-5-1. It was a nice game that allowed Papi to experiment a bit and give some players a rest. Most importantly though, it allowed the team to find its rhythm and get into the winning mode again.

Events

44′ – In the dying moments of the first half, Maynor Figueroa slots in his 3rd goal in the month of August to make it 1-0. Of course, it wouldn’t be an MLS game without some VAR drama which took some time to undo the late offsides call on the far official. A Minnesota player heads the ball back to his keeper where it bounces for Figueroa to knock in.

Halftime: FC Dallas 1-0 Minnesota United

57′ – Micheal Barrios earns himself his 4th goal of the season and 1st at home off of a beautiful curler from the left side of the box and makes it 2-0.

58′ – Dominique Badji makes way for Santiago Mosquera. When you’re 2-0 up, no need to push Badji any further with a possible toe injury. Nice to see that Santi got some time back in as well.

76′ – Pablo Aránguiz had himself the night and made way for Roland Lamah. El Principito is making a name for himself. This sub was a head scratcher for me, I would’ve liked to have seen Jacori come in.

90+2′ – Maxi Urruti comes off for Paxton Pomykal. Jacori Hayes was set to come in but I guess the homegrown got the chance instead. Kinda sad that Paxton got less than a minute.

Final: FC Dallas 2-0 Minnesota United

Thoughts

Overall, I think that FCD did well. It wasn’t head-turning stuff but it got the job done which is important. The Huntsmen got the three points and maintained their 3 point gap ahead of Sporting Kansas City. I think the rain dampened the mood a bit for the fans and players (sorry for all the puns and rain references) but the team still pulled it out as well as for the fans that stayed.

FCD outperformed Minnesota in metric metrics. 16 to 7 on shots, 58.9% of possession, and 90% pass success. Whats cool is that 50% of our shots were on target which is great, 4 blocked, and 4 off target. 9 Key passes were made which is a nice high number.

The number of times that FCD was able to dispossess Minnesota was also a nice change to see. The finishing in tonight’s game was better than usual but there’s always room for improvement. The Huntsmen also favored short passing in this game and the ball and resulted in the ball to be played up the field more. Take a look at player positioning.

FCD MIN Player positioning
FC Dallas Right & Minnesota United Left                                                            Photo: whoscored.com

The backline did great this game and some of the highest passing I have seen for Reggie (93.5%), Hedges (92.9%), Figueroa (92.7%), and Pedroso (94.2%). Reggie and Pedroso both got up the field nicely. I think with Pedroso we get more solid defending than we did Nedyalkov as Reto would have to come back and cover for him at times. Defensive abilities are what you want from a defender anyways. I think with more time Pedroso will get up the field more and more but all the signs are pointing in the positive direction.

The Victor and Gruezo partnership is growing and continues to amaze me. This time they worked on moving the ball out wide this time and got many more passes in this time in the game.

Midfield Passing
Victor Ulloa Right & Carlos Gruezo Left Green-Successful Pass, Red-Unsuccessful Pass, Yellow-Key Pass, Blue-Assist                                                                                                                                                                         Photo: mlssoccer.com

They both worked as a release for when the backline and attack got pressured and helped make sure that the ball was moving around allowing Aránguiz to do his thing.

Badji looked frustrated in tonight’s game. You could see him making runs, getting into position, and asking for the ball. You could also see him get back into the midfield to try to win the ball and move up. The Badji being a target forward the play of moving the ball around and passing short didn’t play to Badji’s strengths of headers and being a big counter-attack threat. It’s going to take time get the tactics down with Badji in the team but it does make some think the trade considering how well Kellyn is doing in Colorado. Maxi was his usual Maxi self-running around and trying to win the ball back. He looked a little poor to me and considering that he hasn’t scored in some time, since Toronto back in May which was 13 games ago, is a concern for some.

Barrios got a goal and that can only help his confidence. Since the Kansas City game, Barrios really has been stepping up his performance by getting into space and really running up and down the field now as well as getting into the center which is different. I wonder if the coaching staff is trying to add to his arsenal by also playing up top as well.

Santi made his return and that’s what is most important. He had a shot, made a key pass, and got 28 touches which aren’t bad for 34 minutes and coming back from injury. Let’s just try to ease him in and work his way back but he did show signs of promise. The goal is to get him hot in time for playoffs. Lamah was Lamah and this sub was interesting to me as by then we were winning 2-0 and Lamah proves to be a defensive liability and is used for scoring rather than holding the lead. I would’ve thought Paxton would have gotten play time and Paxton is more of a threat going forward and knows how to hold the ball.

Aránguiz put in another great performance and put onto display all that he has to offer. 3 shots, 2 on target, 2 key passes, 75 touches, 2 interceptions, a clearance, and a 77.4% passing rate that is low due to the number of creative passes that he goes for.
He really does have an excellent vision for the game exploiting the spaces that Minnesota offered and trying to make something out of nothing. He isn’t afraid to take a shot when he see’s an opening which is great and I feel that on top of all the assists that he will provide, he will add quite a few goals to his name as well. If you can’t tell, I quite excited for this kid.

Minnesota was the right team for the Huntsmen to play against for the team to get back on the winning path. Minnesota offered a lot of space and time for FCD to play and move the ball around. They weren’t a terribly difficult team but it was a good match for the guys. It’s a good win as they head into the second fo three games in the Texas Derby. This game showed a lot of promise for the positive things to come and that is all that you could ask for.

Not even the storm could hold out of FC Dallas doing some cool things.

There was a trio of milestones set for this team tonight which was great and Clark Hunt was here to present commemorative balls. Papi earned his 100th MLS win as half of those were shutouts. Matt Hedges made his 200th MLS appearance and is going to be a father. FC Dallas won its 200th game at home.

FC Dallas will play game 2 of the Texas Derby this Thursday, August 23 at 8:00pm and can be viewed on Univision Deportes and on the Univision Twitter.

 

 

Featured Image: Toyota Stadium Twitter
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