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After starting the season with a 3-points, FC Dallas hosted Montreal Impact for the second game of the 2020 season.

Fans saw the return of Maxi Urruti dressed up in opposition colors as he looked to spoil the fun for the North Texas crowd. The Impact would come away with only 1-point after a 2-goal comeback which saw Maxi Urruti put two goals past his old club.


The Game

Luchi Gonzalez started the same lineup that saw him earn a win in week one.

FCDvMTL       

The opening minutes saw FC Dallas with plenty of ball possession and buildup play along the back. It was a slower-paced half than what many are familiar with from a Luchi Gonzalez side. It became more evident that FC Dallas was playing in a mid-block. While it wasn’t and firey first-half, Dallas did have the advantage in the shooting department: 7 shots, 2 on-target to Montreal’s 2 shots and 0 on-target. Both sides when into the half-time break scoreless.

FC Dallas came out in the second half with much more energy. While Dallas had the shooting advantage in the first half, it was Montreal that obtained the scoring advantage as former FC Dallas player Maxi Urruti scored on his return to Toyota Stadium giving the Impact the one-goal lead.

Luchi Gonzalez made changes with the addition of Paxton Pomykal and Santiago Mosquera for Tanner Tessmann and Fafa Picault. It didn’t take long for Maxi Urruti to score his second goal of the game after patiently waiting near the penalty area to give the Canadian side the two-goal lead.

Luchi Gonzalez brought in homegrown striker Ricardo Pepi for Jesus Ferreira as the final sub as the home-side aimed to secure some points. Zdenek Ondrasek provided some hope for the home fans with a well-placed header into the far corner to reduce the goal-deficit to one goal.

The players and fans willed their team on throughout the match and it was the young homegrown that was the hero after scoring the game-winning goal.

The game would end on a happy 2-2 draw.


Thoughts & Takeaways

Starting Patient

Luchi Gonzalez didn’t have his team start with the same intensity and vigor that was on display for the first match of the 2020 season. FC Dallas opted for a much more patient gameplan that featured the familiar buildup play along the backline and progressing up the wings. This patient gameplan really gave the midfield players time on the ball to develop attacking sequences.

The patience in the development of play allowed FC Dallas to have threatening chances.

Montreal Impact head coach Thierry Henry shared the same views saying, “We could have kept the score at two-nil but we did improve because it could have been 2 or 3-0 for Dallas in the first half…Respecting the opposition on and off the ball, it became more difficult for Dallas to play.”

Is patient build-up play something that viewers could expect out of Luchi Gonzalez? That question has yet to be answered with it only being two games into the new season. It was a combination of Montreal coming out and defending and waiting to capitalize on Dallas’ mistakes and playing a simple game and FC Dallas struggling to break down the high numbers in the Montreal box which made the game comes off as a slower-paced match.

Second Half Response

As many would’ve hoped, FC Dallas came out in the second half with more intensity and playing a more direct game. While the energy was the right response, the Impact did well to patiently wait and capitalize on the Dallas errors. As Dallas committed number forward, this gave Montreal space to work with as they moved the ball up-field and played the ball into space. The Okwonkwo substitution was a good change by Montreal Impact head-coach Thierry Henry as some maybe remember Okwonkwo giving FC Dallas some trouble in the 3-3 comeback draw during the 2019 season.

“Montreal took care of the ball well and we were kinda sitting in that defensive block” midfielder Tanner Tessmann said regarding the first half. “The second half we started a little slow and they scored two on us but at the end of the game, we ended really strong. We kinda want to find that consistency of being really solid and having those moments of really highness but we don’t want to have much low moments. I thought we had some [low moments] in the first half and there in the second half.”

FC Dallas was able to recover a goal and the momentum swing was helpful in giving Dallas the needed energy to push on for the draw. Ricardo Pepi was the hero of the game in the final moments of the game which demonstrates that the team can respond when needed.

“Consistency is what makes a team win a championship,” defender Reggie Cannon said after the match. “Being consistent in every match, home or away, I think that’s the biggest thing. When you have a team that goes high and low, high and low it’s tough to find a rhythm to the game and eventually, teams like Montreal capitalize on it. I think its really important that we find that consistency because this team, especially those last 6 minutes, you saw a consistent press a consistent winning the ball in the box, getting balls in the box and scoring. It was consistent and I think that is what this team is capable of and we just have to find that rhythm.”

Consistency is something that every team strives for throughout the season and it a hard attribute to develop over the course of the season. Teams are going to have high moments and low moments. What defines those teams is how long and how high or low they are in those consistency swings. Cannon nailed the trouble that FC Dallas had in this game. Despite Dallas being a young team, they are a smart team and they know that this is not their standard of performance and they will look to recover and respond in their next game.

Final Third

FC Dallas was already out-performing their opposition when it came to the shooting department. FC Dallas registered 17 shots, 5 on-target off-target, and 7 blocked, in comparison to Montreal’s 7 shots, 2 on-target, 2 off-target, and 3 blocked.

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                                                   FC Dallas and Montreal Impact shot map.                                               Photo: mlssoccer.com

In the first game, Luchi Gonzalez mentioned that he wants his team to have more shots on target and generate a higher volume of shots. While not all of the shots were considered on target, the majority of them were blocked and would’ve been considered on target.

“We created more volume in the shots,” Luchi Gonzalez said about the increased number of shots. “We created more volume in the cross. It was double from the last game. Believe it or not, most of it was in the last twenty minutes or in the first half. A lot of it wasn’t in those twenty minutes in the second half [where Montreal scored]. That’s soccer. For sixty or seventy percent of the game we generate this volume but this game and this sport you can have five minutes, you can have ten percent or five percent and you can concede and lose. That would’ve been disappointed to not come back into this game. We have a lot of work to do but what a response.”


With the more central build-up play in the first half, the majority of FC Dallas’ shots came from the center of the box. This allows players more flexibility in the direction of their shot and allows them to play the ball to either side.


FC Dallas heads up north for the first road trip of the season.
FC Dallas will play against New York City FC on Saturday, March 14th, at 11:30 AM. The game can be viewed on TXA 21 (DFW) and ESPN+ (outside of DFW).

Featured Image: FC Dallas

 

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