With the turn of the new year comes yet another MLS season for all to enjoy.
In year two of the Luchi Gonzalez era and after coming off a heartbreaking 2019 playoff loss, what are the new expectations for Coach Gonzalez and his team?

Does his team make it to the playoffs? Do fans and media see new players emerge to greatness? Is the 25th MLS season the season FC Dallas obtains the elusive MLS Cup?

Let’s look at 3 events that could unfold in the 2020 season.

Making the Playoffs

Why it Will Happen

Luchi Gonzalez and his staff now have a full season’s experience under their belt which they now can go back and refer on. With incoming players (Fafa Picault, Thiago Santos, and Eddie Munjoma) looking to make an impact in the squad, Coach Gonzalez is looking to fine-tune his style of play with new pieces. 2019 showed that this FC Dallas team knows how to fight and that they should not be taken lightly. They rose to the occasion when required to (2019 MLS decision day) and showed that they can fight and come back in any match (@ Montreal Impact). The foundation has been laid in year-one and Coach Gonzalez will build upon that.

FC Dallas will look to be not only competitive but earn results and return to being one of the best teams in the Western Conference. 2019 FC Dallas showed that they are one of the exciting teams featuring youth from their award-winning academy supplemented with veteran players coming together to become a threatening team in front of goal and defensively difficult to break. As a result of the foundation being built upon, new players, experience, and the expectation within the club being set higher, FC Dallas will return to the playoffs and look to make a run that leads them to MLS Cup success.

Why it Won’t Happen

One of the biggest inhibiting factors that cost FC Dallas points in 2019 was consistency in results and play. It isn’t reasonable to expect the season to go perfect for any team over the course of a 34-game season as problems will arise. Some of the lost points were not necessarily a result of being outplayed but mistakes that lead to opportunities that opposing teams capitalized on. Similarly, FC Dallas had opportunities that weren’t fully taken advantage upon. FC Dallas is a competitive team and 2019 showed that regardless of the opponent, FC Dallas was there to earn points.

Luchi Gonzalez will look to have a more consistent run of form throughout the season that will see them remain above the playoff line with some comfort. If the team has a more variable runoff form, then a playoff spot may become harder to come by than desired

Consistent Goalscoring

Why it Will Happen

One of the biggest grievances of fans is the consistency in goalscoring or the lack thereof. It’s no secret that being a constant goalscoring team is something that fans and the club want and expects of this team given the talent of players. Zdenek Ondrasek suggested, towards the end of the season, that he may be the answer after scoring 7 goals in his last 8 games for FC Dallas. FC Dallas also recruited Pachuca striker Franco Jara who looks to be the much-needed goal scorer for FC Dallas.

Towards the end of the 2019 season, the attack appeared to have found their rhythm. FC Dallas scored 18 goals in the final 7 games of their season. More importantly, the passing combinations, off-ball movement, and scoring opportunities were all present and, again, the foundation was laid with the attack. 2019 suggested that it could be the year that the offense will be a threatening team in front of the goal.

With Ondrasek or Jara being a focal point of the attack while having service from Michael Barrios and (likely starter) Fafa Picault, the frontline looks to be threatening. Having service from Jesus Ferreira, Paxton Pomykal, and Brandon Servania will only add to the possible threat of the attack.

Why it Won’t Happen

FC Dallas for some time hasn’t gotten a consistent goal scorer that could break the 10-goal mark. The most recent was in Maxi Urruti with 12 goals in the 2017 MLS season. The previous player to break 10 goals was Blas Perez in 2014 with 11 goals. FC Dallas as a team is not known for its strikers. The goals come from a collection of players all on the field. With it being year-two for Luchi Gonzalez, he is refining his game plan and it isn’t unreasonable to imagine the attack has growing pains with new attacking players coming in.

Tactical Success

Why it Will Happen

Luchi Gonzalez brought a change to FC Dallas after the departure of Oscar Pareja and his counter-attacking style soccer. Coach Gonzalez emphasizes control over the ball and every facet of the game. It has affectionately been called “Luchi Ball” while others have described it as total football. Coach Gonzalez will look to fine-tune his team this coming season and with the FC Dallas youth along with the combination of veteran players. “Luchi Ball” has demonstrated that it is able to compete in MLS against any other team in the league.

With the addition of a player like Franco Jara, FC Dallas is a team that will be competitive and can make a serious run in the playoffs while finishing high in the Western Conference standings. All will be looking to see how the style of soccer coming from the young coach will develop throughout the season.

Why it Won’t Happen

Each year, each team in MLS gets better and the level of play rises. Teams are forced to spend more on players and find any competitive edge that is available. In terms of spending, there appears to be a polarity within MLS. FC Dallas is not known for making big-name signings but that hasn’t stopped the team from being competitive. Player departures, injuries, and national team callups are examples of what can throw a wrench in the success that FC Dallas can have in 2020.

The new players may take longer or not mesh well with the style that Luchi Gonzalez has set which can inhibit success. The growth of the team is not something that anyone should be concerned with when it comes to FC Dallas and Luchi Gonzalez but rather, how fast does FC Dallas grow?

2020 has the potential to be a great year for FC Dallas with new players who will look to be impactful. Luchi Gonzalez has demonstrated that he is a more than capable coach and is one of the most exciting coaches in MLS. Year-two is shaping to be a memorable one.

Featured Image: Nico Mendez
Comments are closed.

Check Also

PREVIEW – Playoffs: Three Keys to Dallas-Vegas Round One

Let’s break down the three keys for the Stars in their 1st Round matchup against the…