FC Dallas returned home to take on a hot San Jose Earthquakes. San Jose is finding their rhythm under Almeyda and it showed in the 0-0 draw for both teams.
The first half was a weird one. Both FC Dallas and San Jose looked like they were trying to figure each other out as well as figuring out how they were going to play. Both teams had chances to score though they were not serious threatening chances. FC Dallas looked late on transitions and making runs into space to connect passes.
The second half had the same frustration as each side made different attempts to try to win the match. Pomykal was taken out at halftime with an injury as Badji made his return to the field. Santiago Mosquera came on for Bryan Acosta. Pablo Aranguiz was the last sub, coming in for Jesus Ferreira, as he tried to spark the attack.
Thoughts and Takeaways
It was a weird game for FC Dallas, to say the least. With that being said, it looks like there will be one section in this recap and the section title says it all.
Edwin Cerrillo said, “It was a tough team, tough tactics, it is something that we haven’t faced before… It is a learning experience and keep us grounded for the next game…It’s something different that a lot of us have not faced before. It’s a tactic that Almeyda brings from Mexico. Overall, we didn’t create the chances, the space for others and I think that’s what we lacked on our part.”
I would have to agree with Edwin Cerrillo. Watching this game was difficult. There wasn’t a clear idea that FC Dallas was playing with. San Jose was trying to frustrate FC Dallas and attack on the counter. FC Dallas looked confused as to how to go about moving the ball around the field. San Jose’s man marking was the cause of the frustration for FC Dallas.
Ryan Hollingshead stated, “They play a different style than a lot of other teams in the league with their man-to-man style. We couldn’t figure it out, I don’t know whether it was the heat or their style, but we just couldn’t put it together or figure it out. We struggled playing out of that. We feel disappointed, feel like we lost some points at our home field.”
Something that stood out was the tempo that FC Dallas played with. The Earthquakes man marking did not help FCDs’ situation as FCD was slow on their speed of play. While options were not available, the movement of the ball along the back line was slower than normal. Similarly, the transitions and the off the ball movement was slow. The slow movement was prevalent on the counter attacks. There were passes and quick interchanges that we have seen so far in the season that were not being made. FC Dallas had success with long balls down the field. The downside was the lack of numbers moving up the field with the ball. There was a large gap between the front line and the rest of the team. As the attacking 3 made there wap up the field, the midfield was slow to follow up and close the gap between them and the attack. This limited the options that the attacking front could have.
Paxton Pomykal was tried as a false winger as he drifted inward. This creates a lopsided right-side of the team. We have seen Pomykal play on the winger before but it is not his best position. When asked about the Pomykal switch, Luchi explained, “Paxton we tried during the week on him being a full winger…It looked good during training and Paxton was giving us that extra midfield player, so in the man-marking we wanted Paxton to give us that extra player in the midfield to break that.” It’s not that Pomykal can’t play the role, it’s not his usual and if it does become an additional role he takes, it’s going to take some time for him to learn to play the spot.
Even more interesting is the average positioning.
The midfield is clumped and lopsided on the right and it isolates Ferreira and Barrios which is what we say during the game on the counter attacks.
A small note on the weather (courtesy to Peter Welpton for the idea). Both teams are playing in the hot weather and traditionally, the Texas heat is considered an FC Dallas advantage. Not that FCD looked exhausted, but the Earthquakes did not look tired in comparison.
Almeyda (San Jose head coach) said, “I think physically we finished better than our rivals even though they were well rested heading into this game. Overall, I think the weather affected both teams at the end of the day.”
Almeyda did note, at the beginning of the season, that he felt that his team was not physically fit to play his system. Now that we are 9 games into the season, San Jose looks fit and is figuring out how to play Almeyda’s system. It could be a larger concern if teams like San Jose are not impacted by the Texas heat or that FC Dallas is not comfortable playing in the heat yet.
It was a tough game overall but the team and coaching staff will learn and move onto the next game.
Featured Image: FC Dallas