In a game that could’ve helped secure a top 2 finish for FC Dallas, missed chances resulted in a shutout for the Huntsmen. It was not the ideal way to finish at home for this season as Sporting Kansas City put up 3 goals against FCD and played a disciplined game plan. Many are frustrated but it is not all doom and gloom.


Oscar Pareja rolled out what many would call our best 11 and the lineup that we would most likely see in the playoffs.

FC Dallas Starting XI vs Sporting Kansas City (Photo: FC Dallas)

FC Dallas played their normal home tactics of quick passing and valuing the possession of the ball. Sporting Kansas City similarly rolled out their normal high press with a “clogg the middle” tactic to force FCD out wide.


16′event: Sporting Kansas City missed PK. Great save by Jesse.

45′goal: Daniel Salloi finished a lingering ball in the box and gives SKC the lead.

Halftime: FC Dallas 0-1 Sporting Kansas City

47′event: Reto Ziegler has a chance to level the score but Tim Melia comes up and denies Ziegler.

64′goal: SKC gets another goal off of a freekick into the box

69′sub: Reto Ziegler and Dom Badji come off for Roland Lamah and Pablo Aranguiz.

85′sub: Maxi Urruti comes off for Tesho Akindele

87′event: SKC gets another penalty attempt and puts the game away.

Final: FC Dallas 0-3 Sporting Kansas City


It was not a pretty game is the easiest way to put it. It’s not entirely that the team as a whole was bad (parts of the team was bad) but Sporting was better. The metrics show that FC Dallas was in its normal range: 12 shots with 6 on target, 57.8% possession, 77% pass success, 74 duels won, 27 tackles, 7 corners, and 21 clearances. These are all the normal stats for FC Dallas and they outperformed their opponents excepts in fouls, yellow cards, shots blocked, saves and clearances.

Finishing, on the other hand, is what cost this team. To be honest, before doing my research for this article, I thought the whole team was a having a bad night but after taking a second glance at things, it isn’t as bad as it was made to be. Let’s work our way from the back to the front.

Jesse Gonzalez was my man of the match as he came up huge with the PK save and he had 3 big saves. None of the goals I would say is his fault and were a result of his defense failing him. His distribution still needs work with only a 52% pass success rate. I’ve never been a fan of the long passing as you leave too much to chance and it doesn’t guarantee possession of the ball. A goalkeeper should be able to distribute the ball at a high rate and keep the possession of the ball.

The defense was called upon more in this game than normally and for good reason. SKC went at the backline with their own high press and did a great job on their own creating and finishing their attacking opportunities. Reggie Cannon did a good job in holding his own and the same for Pedroso. Reto had an okay game and it was unfortunate that his missed his PK chance. Matt Hedges seemed to have a bit of an off game and he just didn’t seem like the normal Hedges that we are familiar with. Matt and Reto had lower pass complete percentages coming in at 73.2% and 72.7% respectivley with Reggie at 91.9% and Pedroso at 90%. The defense was caught out of position more times than usual from the runs and wide play that SKC had which open up gaps in the middle which lead to all the goals that SKC had.

Victor had an amazing first half as he was dictating the play and tempo of the team and attack. He was getting all over the field and giving an outlet for the defense and providing as a source of creativity for the offense. Second half, Victor was forced to play more on his defensive abilities as the SKC pressure was mounting. Carlos Gruezo was doing great as well and was having a great defensive night.

Barrios was too lateral and selfish for my liking in the game. He kept moving forward to the endline which made his play and movements very predictable for the SKC defense. There were times when a simple pass was better versus blasting it into the box hoping someone would be on the end of it. Santi tried to work some magic of his own but there is only so much one can do when facing 2 or 3 defenders and not having a solid passing option. In a game where a high press is being played against you, I wouldn’t play Maxi and the 9.5 role. He drifts too much and when against the high press, you need formation stability and be an option for your teammates if they get overloaded. Maxi was also too selfish and missed some simple passes that he could’ve played into space. Granted he did most of the creative work with creating 6 opportunities and 4 shots.

Dom Badji really struggled with offsides and looks like he is still adjusting with the team dynamic. I think Badji and Maxi are too similar of players with wanting the ball played in space and using their speed to beat the defense. Additionally, there were times with Badji was justified in his frustration when not receiving the ball in a good position. The FCD twitter world seems to now have a competition between Colman and Badji for the most frustrating striker now.

Papi made all offensive substitutions with Aranguiz, Tesho, and Lamah coming in and I think they all did well. Aranguiz drew fouls and held onto the ball and looked to create some opportunities. Lamah looked good and previously, I was not a fan of Lamah but post-injury Lamah is looking like a very complete player and was threatening. Tesho was there but wasn’t given much of a chance to do much.

Some more general things. Papi is a great coach, don’t get me wrong but I feel like as a coach he is missing one piece of his coaching ability and that is preparing the players for big games. Good coaches get you 60 point seasons. Great coaches get you that and titles as well, which he did in 2016. The great flaw is big games and Papi’s team in the past struggle to play in the big games. The team mentality is there but also kinda not there. The team looked surprised by being pressed so high up the field and frustrated by the defensive soundness of SKC in the attacking 3rd. Though the team was fighting the entire 90 minutes even when they were down 3 goals and that is an admirable trait. The team and the coaching are just missing that one final piece.

FC Dallas will take on Kellyn Acosta and the Colorado Rapids on MLS Decision Day on Sunday, October 28th @ 3:00 PM. This game can be viewed on TXA-21 or ESPN+. This is definitely a must-win game and if FCD wins, they get a playoff bye.

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