Rumors are swirling about FC Dallas picking up Luchi Gonzalez’s option to remain manager for the 2021 season.
When made official by the club, this announcement will come as no surprise for FCD fans; after a stellar start to Luchi’s professional coaching career, he has earned the right to stay with FC Dallas for the foreseeable future.
Keeping with the “play your kids” mantra, FCD signed Luchi Gonzalez to become their head coach in 2019 after the departure of Oscar Pareja. Before the head coach position, Luchi was the academy director. Similar to the academy players he helped coach, FCD has kept its promise to build from within. This promotion has proved to work wonders with FCD. In his first two years with the club, Luchi has made the postseason both years with a combined record of 22-16-18 with a thrilling postseason win against Portland this past year. While not a prolific record, this has been Luchi’s first two years in a professional coaching position, and he still has plenty to learn.
Dubbed from the beginning as “Luchi Ball”, Gonzalez’s playstyle is a mix of high press defense and possession in the attacking third. Luchi’s playstyle was shining in the 2019 season, where many pundits believed Luchi to be an extremely exciting American coach.
While an attractive style of play, this didn’t come without heart attacks for the fans.
Many times in Luchi’s two years at the helm, FCD has been caught trying to play out of the back. Luckily, we have the saint Jimmy Maurer who is surprisingly composed with his feet under pressure. A major contribution to this playstyle is the focus on Rondos. Rondos, a classic game of keep away in a small confined space, forces a high speed of play and quick decision making.
You will hear Luchi yell “Rondos!” every once in a while during a game to encourage his players to play out of tight pressure instead of simply kicking it upfield.
“Those midfield pieces are interchangeable. They are fluid, so at any moment, any player could be a No. 6, any midfielder could drop into the line of No. 3 or No. 4, any midfielder could become a No. 10 or playmaker — we want that fluidity.” – Luchi Gonzalez, 2019
Luchi casually photobombing the rondo. ? pic.twitter.com/stXLHsajVr
— FC Dallas (@FCDallas) April 19, 2019
In 2020, Luchi seemed to lean off of a possession style and rely more on counter-pressing. While still building from the back, we did not see the fluidity of the dual 8s that were on display in 2019. My thought is that this is due to player selection. You could still see the ideas of the 2019 season come out, but the injury of Paxton Pomykal and the subpar performance of Bryan Acosta seemed to have changed their game plan. In 2020, we saw a more natural 10 in Ricaurte and a revolving door of players in the other midfield position.
Going into the 2021 season, we will see the return of Paxton Pomykal and potentially the revival of the famed Luchi Ball.
During the 2019 campaign, FC Dallas released a video series called “Year One,” which highlighted the behind-the-scenes action within the club centered around Luchi Gonzalez’s first year. In this, you can see his passion for the club and how the players feed off of this passion. With an emphasis on the team being a family and playing for your brothers, Luchi helped usher in not only an attractive playstyle but a culture within the team itself. I highly recommend watching that series on the FCD website.
FCD fans should feel extremely lucky to have a coach like Luchi Gonzalez around for many years to come. While most teams in the league struggle with a revolving door of head coaches, we are building a tight-knit winning team.
He brings a unique coaching style to the game, and we are excited to see how he evolves over the course of his career.
Featured Image: Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports