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FC Dallas took on the Vancouver Whitecaps for the second and last time in the 2019 season as they looked to continue the momentum they built up from the game against Toronto FC. FC Dallas did not change the lineup and got a disappointing 2-2 draw.
Los Toros then traveled to take on the Portland Timbers where a 0-1 loss didn’t allow then to recover the lost points at home. Despite the disappointing results, there is promise for FC Dallas fans.

The Game – Vancouver Whitecaps

FC Dallas started the first half being patient on the ball while trying to concede little ground on the defense. Vancouver was well drilled when it came to defending and shutting down the Dallas attack. On the Vancouver attack, there was a high commitment of numbers just like there was in the defense. FC Dallas was the more threatening team with 17 shots to Vancouver’s 5 at the half. Neither team was able to go on the scoreboard, but both hoped to change that.

FC Dallas really wanted to assert their dominance in the second half of the match. Assert they did as they were still looking for the right opportunities. Jesus scored his first goal in 6 games off a counterattack that was assisted by Michael Barrios and Brandon Servania.

Moments later, Ryan Hollingshead gave the home side another goal to give FCD “The Most Dangerous Lead in Soccer.” Brandon Servania registered his second assist of the evening.

Vancouver not wanting to be shut out was able to pull a goal back for themselves to make FC Dallas uncomfortable.

Santiago Mosquera came into the game for Michael Barrios as he looked to give FC Dallas more of a cushion when it came to the score. Paxton Pomykal was taken off for precautionary measures after being tackled. Jacori Hayes replaced Pomykal and aimed to shore up the midfield. When things looked like they were wrapped up Vancouver fired a shot to steal the points away.


Thoughts & Takeaways – Vancouver Whitecaps

Reading the Game

Focusing on the positives first, FC Dallas appeared as a very complete team up until around the 75th minute. They were patient on the ball and had a patient press. They weren’t applying the press at every moment as they have in other game but there were little cues that initiated a full-on press. In the first half, FCD tried to play some through balls but Vancouver committed a high amount of numbers on the defense, playing in a 5-3-2 and even a 6-2-2 at moments. Likewise, when Vancouver was attacking, they committed a healthy number of players where the shape was a 3-3-4. Vancouver was disciplined in their transitions and aimed to clog the FCD midfield.

“Transitions were good, prevention shape was better, we pinned them a few times which recreated attacks,” Gonzalez explained in his press conference. “We could create an attack, lose it and recreate an attack because we regain possession. We’ve been trying to work on that in the attacking third. I thought that showed well today but the teams even in that slower block are going to counter (and) be dangerous in the open space. I thought we managed it well most of the game, but we had a draw, so we’ll keep working and getting better.”

The location of where crosses land changed in this match. The wing players aimed to have the ball land on top of the 18-yard box which opened up the field and increased the number of options to attack from. There were more moments when the ball was switched if one side of the field was more congested than others. This led to higher shot numbers at 26 shots which is a season-high for FC Dallas.

What Gave?

In a game where things felt so much was going right, so much came undone and went wrong in the end. So, what gave? FC Dallas looked content with the lead that they had and sat back which invited Vancouver to move up the field and attack.

“We were satisfied,” Gonzalez said with a stern look. “We were satisfied with 15-20 minutes left. In soccer, you can’t be satisfied. It’s a human, it’s an emotion, mental. Yeah, we’re going to look at video and break it down, the tactical things but it was an emotion, mental thing. We felt we did enough, and we didn’t.”

Much of being comfortable with the lead has to do with the mentality of the team. The game is 90 minutes long and concentration throughout the whole game is needed to see out the result and earn the 3 points.

 “I think that we needed everybody to step it up,” Ferreira said with a shake of his head. “I think that everybody needed to get everybody up [and] lift up the team. We can’t really keep going back, keep going back. I think everybody needs to be like ‘let’s go’ and five more minutes and we get three points.”


The Game – Portland Timbers

FC Dallas came out with the intention to pick up the points they lost in their midweek game. The opening minutes favored FC Dallas as they got into Portland’s box and had some attacking opportunities. Though, the momentum swung in Portland’s favor as they attacked Dallas across the field with speed and quick passing. The Timbers opened the scoring thanks to a Brain Fernandez shot outside of the box at appeared to have taken a deflection.

The second half was a more even affair between the two teams. FC Dallas continued to push forward looking for the goal that could get them on the scoreboard. The Timbers likewise continued their attacking across the whole field exploiting the spaces that FC Dallas offered. Bryan Acosta made his return to the field, after playing for Honduras during the Gold Cup, as he came on for Edwin Cerrillo in the 56th minute. Santiago Mosquera came onto the field in the 70th minute for Dominique Badji as Luchi opted for fresh legs on the left side of the field. Ricardo Pepi was the final sub of the evening coming in for Brandon Servania in the 77th minute as FC Dallas looked for a goal of their own. FC Dallas was eventually be shut-out as the match finished 0-1.


Thoughts & Takeaways – Portland Timbers

Responding

Luchi Gonzalez and the team were not pleased with how they let points slip from them against Vancouver and it was evident they had the intention to regain those point at Portland. After stepping back and taking a look at a holistic view of the Timbers game, the intention was there, and it was a good match. FC Dallas, from the first whistle, came out pressing and wanting to win the ball back and had every intention to win the game.

“I thought the first 10 minutes we were good, and then at the end of the first half we were reactive,” Gonzalez explained. “We didn’t press together, we didn’t attack. We had some possession, but we weren’t finishing plays with a pass, so we would lose possession, they would counter and that’s how they scored. We shared some things in the half, and I thought the second half was fantastic. I thought we pushed the game, I thought we went for it. We created much more. I thought we put in the effort to tie this game. The details weren’t there to actually do it, so [we’re] disappointed in the overall result but I’m proud of the group to push it and come here in an environment that’s not easy to play.”

It wasn’t a complete system failure but more of the smaller details that allowed the Timbers to have more control over the match than FC Dallas. When looking at the goal the Portland scored it was a quick sequence of passes that makes it hard for any team to adjust and set up to block. FCD only gave up one goal which isn’t bad and had scoring opportunities themselves. They were competitive and the substitutions that Coach Gonzalez made did make an impact in the match and helped swing the momentum back in Dallas’ favor.

For the Future

When taking a look at the 2019 FC Dallas season so far, the fans and team can be proud of the progress they have made and the position that they are in. At the time of publication, FC Dallas is in 4th place with a point lead over the San Jose Earthquakes and three points behind the Seattle Sounders. Luchi has implemented a style that shows the promise of winning and controlling games when executed well. This style features the “kids” and the “kids” have shown that they can compete at the level required for the MLS.

The biggest takeaway from these two matches is that this team can compete. They are not content with things when they lose, draw, and even when they win. They are all looking for ways to improve and it’s been evident over the season and especially at practice. Everything is not perfect but that is to be expected for a new coach who, along with his young staff, are learning along the way.


FC Dallas takes on DC United for their Fourth of July spectacle match that will feature the return of Marquinhos Pedroso and a visit from Wayne Rooney. The match is scheduled for 8:00 PM at Toyota Stadium.

Featured Image: FC Dallas
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