DALSportsNation
MLS Decision Day has come and gone on the 2019 season and FC Dallas was looking to get into the playoffs for the first time under first time professional manager Luchi Gonzalez. Sporting Kansas City was looking to spoil the fun for the home side on what was warmer than desired October afternoon.
FC Dallas played to a dominant 6-0 thrashing over Sporting Kansas City on the final day of the 2019 MLS Regular Season and have qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs.

The Game

FC Dallas started the game more patiently than they have in previous matches and it allowed Sporting Kansas City to creep forward in the field giving Dallas space to attack. This space was what Zdenek Ondrasek needed to score the first goal of the afternoon after being fed by Bryan Acosta deep in the Dallas defensive third.

FC Dallas wasn’t done with the scoring as Brandon Servania received the ball in the air off an attempted cleared chance as played the ball forward to Santiago Mosquera who crossed the ball to Matt Hedges across the face of the goal from the left side of the field.

FC Dallas played a slower tempo game for the remainder of the first half as they tried to contain the damage that Sporting Kansas City could do.

The second half started with FC Dallas wanting to control the match and FC Dallas scored the third goal thanks to Santiago Mosquera

Michael Barrios scored the fourth goal of the afternoon after receiving the ball from Jesus Ferreira near the right side of the box.

Jacori Hayes came in for Bryan Acosta as Luchi Gonzalez’s first substitute of the evening. Zdenek Ondrasek was not done scoring in this game as he scored his second goal to increase FC Dallas’ lead to five-goal in the game after Reggie Cannon played a ground cross from the right-wing.

Jesus Ferreira has been trying all game long to score and he finally earned his goal after smashing the ball from right outside of the box.

Luchi Gonzalez went for the 5-man backline as he brought in Bressan for Zdenek Ondrasek as his second sub. Santiago Mosquera made way for the third and final sub of the evening, Ricardo Pepi.


Thoughts & Takeaways

Responding

Given the less than desirable run of form that FC Dallas has had, the way that FC Dallas came out in this game was refreshing and the needed response from the players. 6 goals in one game will be meaningful for a team’s confidence and “momentum” needed for a successful playoff run. FC Dallas didn’t show that they are a team that can’t compete but rather a team that knows how to compete given the circumstances. FC Dallas played their game and made their opponent play on the same level rather than letting their opponent forcing them to adapt in-game.

“Today people were just filled with energy, filled with happiness, and filled with joy,” defender Reggie Cannon told reporters after the game. “There was no fear on that field when we went out there to play. Everyone was just happy to be there and happy to have the fighting and killing instinct that we were always wanting to instill. I think Luchi really instilled that this week in training, being a family and having each other’s back. I think that’s been the theme going into the last couple of games. We don’t want our season to end here.”

It goes without saying that FC Dallas must come out controlling the match in the playoffs. FC Dallas has displayed that they can compete with other teams as they demonstrated on the road in Seattle by playing to a draw where Dallas was at times the better team. FC Dallas, these past four games, has arguably played down/up to the level of their opponent than just playing their game. This afternoon, they appeared much more comfortable playing not only their game but breaking down the Kansas City game plan.

Managing In-Game

FC Dallas played a more intricate game against Sporting Kansas City than before. It was one of the most complete games FC Dallas has played. They came out with lots of energy when in possession of the ball. After the second goal, FC Dallas took their foot off the gas pedal which allowed Sporting KC to venture more into the Dallas half of the field. This allowed FC Dallas’ midfielders to play the ball into space for the speedy wingers in Santiago Mosquera and Michael Barrios to feed the late-running Jesus Ferreira and Zdenek Ondrasek.

This resulted in a slower remainder in the first half than what the opening minutes presented. FC Dallas brought the energy again in the second half and exercised their goal-scoring muscles. The 4 goals in the second half are vital to the confidence for the attack going into the playoffs.

“We wanted to make sure we diversified our ways of playing out- wide, interior, behind the last line, and in behind the midfield,” head coach Luchi Gonzalez told the media. “We switched the ball, we were vertically, we played combos, and we wanted to make sure we exposed the boys to a lot of different situations and getting a lot of high pressure and believing in themselves and moving for each other and showing courage to try and play out and if we lost the ball like we did several times we have a monster transition to get behind the ball and get it back and protect the goal.”

The way that FC Dallas was able to change gear during the match is excellent coaching by Luchi Gonzalez to problem solve in-game and to switch up tactics. FC Dallas is going to come across teams who are going to be pressing them and switching their direction during games to put FC Dallas under pressure. While Sporting KC is not the strongest opponent, FC Dallas demonstrated that they can not only change their game-plan but counteract how other teams are going to play them. Maintaining focus, even if the game is going away from them, is going to be key for how FC Dallas will perform on the road and determine how much success Luchi Gonzalez’s team will have in the playoffs.

Momentum

The performance that FC Dallas put on is one that fans who have closely followed the team knew that FC Dallas was capable of. Yes, there were some mistakes when it came to the team finishing chances and a few defensive moments that Sporting KC did not capitalize on. Though, FC Dallas was able to do what they have not been able to do for much of the season: capitalize on opportunities.

“We’re not satisfied with where we’re at right now,” midfielder Brandon Servania explained to reporters.  “Obviously, we are happy with the result and happy that we’re in the playoff, but the job just started. A new season just started, and this is where everything matters. It’s just a few more games and we can be champions so we have to be locked in and I think that we will do that.”

FC Dallas played with confidence and style that displayed the comfort and complete control that they had on the match. The goal-scoring success, the tactical success, and style success is the best way for FC Dallas to have ended the regular season heading into the playoffs. The players feel good knowing that they put in a quality performance that earned them such a one-sided result. It is important to know that FC Dallas did play against a weakened and struggling Sporting KC and the players know that their work has only started. This is the best way to have started their playoff run.


FC Dallas has finished the MLS Regular Season with 48 points and in 7th place in the Western Conference and 13th place in the MLS Supporters’ Shield Standing.
FC Dallas will play in Seattle against the Sounders on Saturday, October 19, at 2:30 PM and can be viewed on Fox Sports 1 (FS1) or Fox Deportes.

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