Having watched two games, most fans have a pretty accurate idea of the ability and quality of the new signings.
Here, we will look at how they’ve assimilated into the group and their role in Luchi’s system

Thiago Santos

Arguably the best player in an FC Dallas jersey this season, Santos has shown time and time again his value. Over the past two games, we have seen Santos play an integral part in the defensive shape of the team, and yet has at times also been the most threatening player offensively.

With the team being at risk of counterattacks from both sides they’ve faced so far this season, It has been Santos and Homegrown rookie Tanner Tessmann that have been given the role of putting out all of those fires. Santos uses is speed and strength to be able to cover the entire width of the field at times, and has been able to stifle most of the possession from the opposing team that has run through the middle of the field.


On the left is Santos’ Defensive plays against Philadelphia, and on the right are his defensive plays against Montreal. It’s shown in the field map against Montreal that Santos was forced to play higher up the field to support the attack that was lackluster for the first 75 minutes of the match, but his distribution of defensive plays in both matches is extensive. Many will compare his play to a 2018 Gruezo, which is accurate due to the similarities of their playstyles.

As I said before, Santos was forced to push forward during the Montreal game to account for a poor offensive performance from Ferreira. Luchi needs to find a way to relieve him of playing such a role. Santos’ strongest aspect is his defensive ability, being able to read the game and cover for the five players that play ahead of him. If he’s asked to play a more intense role in the attack, then counterattacks like the ones seen against Montreal occur. Hopefully, as time progresses and Paxton begins to start, Santos will be allowed to do what he does best: put out fires.

He will have to do so with regularly in the coming weeks, as FC Dallas will play 5 of their upcoming 6 matches at home, with 5 of their games being against 2019 playoff teams.  How many points do you think the team will get during this difficult stretch?

FC Dallas came into 2020 with the 8th best odds to win the MLS Cup at +1900, with expectations high and rightfully so to start the season.

Learn how to bet on MLS with this strategy guide, and watch your money rise as quick as Dallas in the standings, and hopefully not like Tessmann in his first game of 2020.

Tanner Tessmann

FC Dallas started the season off with a multitude of injuries to 2019 starters Brandon Servania, Bryan Acosta, and Paxton Pomykal. The roles that Santos and Ferreira have in Luchiball mimic the roles that Brandon Servania and Paxton Pomykal have, but there was a massive question as to who would link the defense to the attack.

Bryan Acosta’s main talent is his passing accuracy, as he is able to push play forward with his distribution. Many thought he was the only player on the squad who had such abilities, but now there are two players that fit that mold: Acosta and Tanner Tessmann.

Granted, Tessmann’s performance against Montreal wasn’t the best, but we’ve seen his potential in the Philadelphia match. He was the joint-best player on the field, according to whoscored.com, and can become a contender for Rookie of the Year if he continues to play an important role in the squad.

At the end of the day, Acosta and Servania will probably be the first-choice linking midfielders, due to their experience in the system. But Tessmann has proven in two games that he has the ability to link the attack and defense.

Fafa Picault

Fafa has proved that he fits the system that we have all named Luchiball, and it’s been a long time coming.

Last year, there were a couple of different players that ended up playing on the opposite side of Barrios: Santiago Mosquera, Pablo Aranguiz and Dominique Badji all played that left-wing role at some point during the 2019 season, but all of them failed to make much of an impact on a game to game basis. None of them had the speed or technical quality that Barrios has. Mosquera and Aranguiz played the role of an inverted winger, causing crowding of Zone 14 and leaving Hollingshead all alone on the wing. Badji was simply unable to do anything in the attack, as he was simply just the new version of Roland Lamah.

Fafa Picault doesn’t play like Barrios. He doesn’t have the speed, and he doesn’t run through channels. However, his talents fit the system perfectly. Picault is a pressing forward and now becomes the second presser in the attack, joining Paxton Pomykal. His press allows for Cobra not to cover the entire field, but rather, save most of his energy towards what he does best: holding up play and possession with the offense. Picault is also able to take on defenders one-on-one with his technical quality. All of this has made him into a good weapon for Luchi. So far, Picault is tied for third in tackles per 90 in the squad, trailing the two defensive midfielders mentioned earlier. He is also tied for second in dribbles per 90, with 2.

It remains to be seen if Picault can keep this up for the rest of the season; he was subbed out of both games so far, presumably for tactical reasons, but maybe it could be because of exhaustion. His performances in the next couple of weeks will be critical to the team’s success in this difficult upcoming stretch of games.

In the coming weeks, FC Dallas will play 5 of their upcoming 6 matches at home, with 5 of their games being against 2019 playoff teams.
How many points do you think the team will get during this difficult stretch?

Featured Image: FC Dallas
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