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FC Dallas got themselves a valuable 3 points against a struggling Orlando City with a 2-0 game. In a game that truly was a game of two halves, the Huntsmen give themselves more breathing room as they stay in 1st place with 3 games left in the season. How did it go down?

Tactics

Against a struggling Orlando that now has gone 4 games without scoring, it was anticipated that there would be some changes in the lineup. Badji made his return to the starting lineup and Pablo Aránguiz, to the happiness of many fans, also made the starting 11. Ryan Hollingshead similarly made the 11 in place of Pedroso. Jesus broke into the 18 after having some success on his loan spell. I’m sure that Papi did this to prepare for the DC United game where we won’t have Maynor Figueroa, Carlos Gruezo, and Reggie Cannon.

 

FC Dallas Starting XI versus Orlando City SC (FC Dallas)

 

The first half was more of a hold-and-wait versus the normal high tempo game that we have seen FCD do at home. In the second half, the Huntsmen came out with the urge to score and they were rewarded.

Events

4′event: Reggie gets kicked down in the box but there was no penalty. Disappointing that it didn’t even go to VAR as well

9′event: Dom Badji makes a wonderful effort that hits the crossbar

29′event: Jesse makes an amazing save defecting the OCSC freekick

Halftime: FC Dallas 0-0 Orlando City SC

56′sub: Pablo Aranguiz makes way for Santiago Mosquera. Tough night for him overall but not to worry FCD fans. He still needs time to adjust.

63′goal: Santiago Mosquera shows us that he has much to bring to FCD and shows his composure to put this one away. 1-0. Also, it was wonderful to see that this goal was dedicated to Colman. The camaraderie of this team is amazing.

69′goal: Victor Ulloa gets his first goal in about 2 years and dedicates it to future baby Ulloa. 2-0

75′sub: Roland Lamah comes in for Dominique Badji. Badji seems to still find his role and footing with the club. Not to worry.

79′– Rain Delay because of Texas

83′sub: Abel Aguilar comes in to shut down this game and did just that.

Final: FC Dallas 2-0 Orlando City SC

Thoughts

Something that I’ve noticed lately is the increase in fan attendance at the games. While it isn’t capacity it does seem that the stadium is filling up more from the eye test. After looking at the reported attendance, yup, attendance has slowly crept up (though take those reported attendances with a grain of salt since it’s based on ticket sales). What’s even better, at least to me, is the crowd participation and enthusiasm. Each game looks like that the crowd is getting more and more into the game and with the Viking clap and “Go Dallas Go”, more and more people are participating. While we may not be Atlanta, Portland, Seattle, Kansas City level yet, there has been an improvement. So here’s to all the fans that come out and have been helping this team. Great job everyone.

This was a game of two halves. The first half, FCD was more patient with that ball than what they are normally in the first half and it leads to a slow tempo game which is not normal of FCD at home. In the second half, Papi fired up the team and it was a faster-paced game that we are more familiar with when Huntsmen play at home.

The backline did great for this game. Reggie, Hedges, and Ziegler all did great. Hollingshead did alright to me and I’m glad that he got most of his mistakes out in this game. The one thing that stood out to me is that both Reggie and Hollingshead played rather high up this game in the field. Look at their passing charts and the average positioning of the team.

Backline.png
Right: Average player positioning (whoscored.com)    Left: Reggie and Ryan Passing (mlsssocer.com)

This was interesting to see and Hollingshead seemed to get up the field more as well. Whether this was part of the game plan or just the space that Orlando was able to offer to us, the ability for both Reggie and Ryan to get up the field was nice.

Victor and Gruezo bossed the midfield as usual and it was great to see Victor get a goal for all his hard work. It was his first goal in almost 2 years and the way he got his goal describes everything about him: not always pretty, hardworking, lots of grit and determination. Also what a way to announce future baby Ulloa.

Barrios did his usual running and giving the opposition defense some trouble. Maxi has really embraced his new false 10 roles and is looking amazing on those set pieces. He got himself another assist which makes it being a part in 5 goals in the last 6 games. Pablo Aranguiz had a tough night. He wasn’t up to the level that we saw him play at Seattle but that’s alright. One thing that I did see was that when Hollingshead got forward Aranguiz would play further back to cover for Hollingshead and there was a big space on the left where theoretically, Hollingshead should cover. Again whether or not this was part of the game plan or something that happened will naturally affect the way he plays. It’s alright though as there really should be no rush to get Aranguiz going. I think he will break out fine. Another tough night for Badji as well but with him, I think its more getting used to the way the team plays. He came close with a spectacular side-kick that hit the crossbar.

Santi Mosquera came off the bench and showed us what a threat he is. It only took 6 minutes for him to make an impact on the field. I am very hopeful for what he can provide for this team for years to come. This is only the beginning of what he can provide for this team. Roland Lamah looked rather good as well which means a lot for me as I’ve been critical of his play. He does look rusty but it kinda looks like a new Lamah. Aguilar did his usual thing and he really helped close out the game. He was very vocal in comparison to the last few times we have seen and it really helped organize Victor and Carlos.

Jesse Gonzalez. He had an amazing night and this was the most complete performance we had seen of him in quite some time. The other game he had like this were great but there was something different about this game. He really commanded the box this time and made all those saves look like its something he does on the regular. He showed that he was very mature and it was great to see that. If this is the start, then we as FCD fans are in for a great ride. It’s still weird to say but Jesse is still young and Especially since we have seen the young keeper mistakes from his as well. A very good night for him.

 

 

FC Dallas sit in first place with 57 pts. FC Dallas has been eleminated from the Supporters Shield Race. FCD also has 4 point gap over Sporting Kansas City and the worst they can finish is 5th place in the Western Conference. A win against the DC United would secure a top 4 finish.

FC Dallas heads on the road to take on a hot DC United in what will be a difficult affair for them. You can watch the game on Univision at 3:55 pm.
Featured Image: Nico Mendez/Dallas Sports Nation
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