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FC Dallas has played half of their schedule as they took on Toronto FC at home. Rain threatened to dampen the mood but the sun was out and shining. FC Dallas won 3-0 with a solid performance to make it to the halfway point of the season.

The Game

There was a slower tempo to this game as FC Dallas was looking to make a statement after their disappointing elimination from the US Open Cup. The three homegrowns who featured for the USYNT at the U-20 World Cup (Paxton Pomykal, Brandon Servania, and Edwin Cerrillo) featured in the midfield for this match.

Luchi Gonzalez shared, “Those were the three center-mids we felt were ready to do it. They had a really synchronized performance, not perfect but very coordinated, very synchronized not perfect but very coordinated, very synchronized, defensively and offensively. That’s great for now and in the future.”

FC Dallas opened the scoring in the 41st minute from a Dominique Badji tap-in.

In the second half, Toronto FC came out looking for a goal of their own and this opened up the game and space for the home side. Bressan earned his first goal in FCD colors from a header thanks to a Michael Barrios corner kick.

7 minutes later Dominique Badji earned his first FCD and third career brace on a counterattack.

Santiago Mosquera made his return to the pitch after going down with a knee injury as he came on to replace Dominique Badji. Ricardo Pepi made his appearance on the field in MLS and at Toyota stadium in the 84th minute as he replaced Michael Barrios.

“It felt great,” Pepi shared with the media. “It was a lot of excitement; it means a lot for me to keep on working. I was a little nervous, I’ve been more nervous before when I played in the U.S. Open Cup, but like today I got more confidence and it was great.”

Bryan Reynolds picked up another position as he played in the attack coming in for Jesus Ferreira. FC Dallas came away with the 3-0 win, 3 more points, 4th place, and have made it to the halfway mark of the season.


Thoughts & Takeaways

Response

When it comes to FC Dallas, there is a feeling of a family. A feeling where you fight for and defend your family. This family consists of fans, players, club officials, the club’s history, and what the club stands for. Luchi Gonzalez has made this very clear to his team that they are all a family. As a result, the Lamar Hunt USOC has a special meaning for FC Dallas.

“You know, we never want to lose, and I think that tournament means a lot for us because it’s part of our family,” Cerrillo stated. “Just coming out here I think we owe it to everyone, to ourselves, and to our fans to get the three points today and that was our mentality from the start. From Thursday, the day after training, we are going to channel all those emotions onto today and I think that it’s a big relief getting those three points today. Like I said, a good team and tough conditions but we got the job done.”

FC Dallas came out not only wanting to prove to the fans and other teams that they are still a good team that is going to compete, but they wanted to prove it to themselves. The feeling in the locker room was still jovial as after any win but there was a sense of composure and restrained celebrations. The players still knew that they were the better team in the cup game but they now have to focus on the season and they still have to compete.

Fluidity

Building off of responding well, the attack was fluid and that was very evident in the second half of the game.

“The game decides so although we have a proactive plan and idea that we train sometimes the opposition will do things that will change that, and we have to adapt,” Gonzalez stated “… It was a natural thing that happened I think because of how the game went, and we took advantage of it tonight.”

A thing that helped with the development of the game was how impactful the midfield trio was and the chemistry that Pomykal, Servania, and Cerrillo have. Having Paxton back did make an impact through the quality of chances and how threatening the attack was. He was able to draw players which created space. His situational awareness and game intelligence allowed him to dictate the tempo of the match and set up attacking chances. Brandon Servania served a linking piece (similar to how Oscar Pareja called Jacori Hayes the “glue” of his team). Cerrillo did well to disrupt the Toronto attacking from having any success through the middle of the field which forced TFC to attack down the flanks.

This game hints at what could become the norm once again for the attack. Badji shared, “The attack at times has been good this season, but not consistently and I think this is a turning point for us. I think we can use this game going forward to really cement ourselves and be aggressive attacking.”

Individual Players

Dominique Badji is finding the form that fans hoped from him and what he hinted at during preseason. It is not easy changing positions and it does take time for a player to adjust and get acclimated it the changes and the responsibilities with each position.

“Badji has been open since preseason,” Gonzalez said with a nod of his head. “He started as a nine and we’ve shifted around, on the wing late in preseason. He continues to challenge himself to pick up little things and be open and try things. Today was an example of being a player that can develop, that has a higher ceiling that maybe myself and he even though in the preseason. He can score at the wing, at the nine, (it) makes him more versatile, increases his value, makes him more complete. Because of his attitude, I’m enjoying the process to keep adding those tools.”

One can only hope that he continues to improve and make the necessary adjustments to continue to find his form and be a constant goal scorer for this team.

Bressan had quite the night. Bressan has the capabilities to play along the backline and he showed that he could play right back. He was a dominant force along the backline and shut down the attack that Toronto had on the right-side which Toronto favored. He also had a fair amount of touches, 98 which is the most out of the team, and was able to get into the attack as well.

Bressan Touches
Bressan Touches / Photo: whoscored.com

Luchi Gonzalez praised his defender saying, “He’s had his experience with us at the center back. He’s done well. It was a moment we wanted to get Reto (Ziegler) back in the lineup and not move Ryan (Hollingshead) again, keep Ryan on the left, give him some consistency. We knew Bressan, defensively, is a player that really prides himself to shut things down his line. The goal is a bonus. For him to score on that, that’s a plus. Having an extra player that’s good in the air, and on set piece. Great night for him.”


Overall, it wasn’t a bad night for FC Dallas and it’s a game that shows things to come. If FC Dallas can continue the momentum built in this match and carry it throughout the season, then they will be in a good spot when it comes to forming and being a competitive team.


FC Dallas plays their next match on Wednesday, June at 8:00 PM at Toyota Stadium against the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Featured Image: Toronto FC
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