After a huge win in LA last weekend, FCD stumbled a bit this week, losing to Vancouver and then picking up their first home loss of the 2022 season against Minnesota United. This week, we’ll look at three takeaways from the loss against Minnesota.
1) Can’t hit the target
In the early parts of the season, FCD were remarkably efficient with their shots. Dallas has rarely gotten significant numbers of shots off this season, but they have largely been very efficient in terms of getting those shots on target and testing opposing keepers. Just some highlights:
- 4-1 win vs Portland: 14 shots, 8 on target
- 3-1 win vs Colorado: 7 shots, 6 on target
- 2-1 win vs Houston: 14 shots, 7 on target
- 3-1 win @ LA Galaxy: 9 shots, 4 on target
However, that was not the case at all against Minnesota as FCD racked up 19 shots, one of their highest tallies on the season, but only managed to get 3 on target. FCD had similar struggles against Vancouver in the previous game, putting up 12 shots (actually outshooting their hosts) but again only getting 3 shots on target.
In some ways, this was always bound to happen. To be honest, FCD outperformed the advanced metrics in this early part of the season and they were bound to come crashing back down to earth sooner or later but it is something that Nico Estevez and his staff will need to look at and address to ensure that FCD are continuing to generate quality chances and ensuring that they are testing opposing goalkeepers with regularity, particularly at home.
I’d like to shout out Buzz Carrick with 3rd Degree as well, he mentioned the same issue against Minnesota and identified a lack of Jesus Ferreira in the starting line up as a culprit in his Instant Reaction. As usual, Buzz is right on the money with his analysis, Jesus has been hyper efficient this season and advanced stats like him a lot too, but Dallas needs to figure out how to put quality chances on frame when Jesus is not on the field. It is hard to imagine what this team could look like if Jesus was to pick up an injury at some point during the season that keeps him out for any extended period of time.
2) Midfield conundrum
What is FCD’s first choice midfield at this point? Early in the season, this answer seemed clear: a homegrown trio of Edwin Cerrillo, Brandon Servania and Paxton Pomykal. That persisted for a while, at least at home, but a strong run of performances from Facundo Quignon on the road led to his inclusion in some home games as well, and now Facu seems to be the preferred starter at defensive midfield. Brandon Servania seemed locked in alongside Paxton Pomykal at the 8, but his horror show of a performance against Sporting KC that saw him sent off within 6 minutes of coming onto the field clearly put him, at least partly, in the dog house. This has paved the way for FCD’s breakout performer of 2022: Tsiki Ntsabeleng. Tsiki started the season as a late game substitute, often for Paxton Pomykal. But as Paxton has proven to be a 90 minute player in recent weeks, Tsiki has come in to play alongside him, taking the spot that seemed to be locked in for Servania. This has led to a recent seemingly preferred midfield trio of Facu, Tsiki and Paxton, something I don’t think anyone could have predicted two months ago.
Long term, I think Nico and his staff are still looking at Cerrillo/Servania/Pomykal as the preferred midfield trio, but Cerrillo and Servania have some work to do to get back to being the clear cut first choice at their respective positions.
3) Schon not in the picture
If Tsiki Ntsabeleng has been the biggest positive surprise of 2022, Szabolcs Schon has been the biggest surprise on the opposite side of the spectrum. After an exciting, if inconsistent, 2021 season, Schon looked poised to take a step forward in 2022 but the Hungarian has barely even seen the field and, in a lot of games, hasn’t even gotten a spot on the bench. Minnesota may have been a new low for him as homegrown Beni Redzic was apparently favored ahead of him and ended up getting subbed in as FCD chased the lead late.
It seems to be a combination of things that have caused the issue for Schon. Certainly, his frequent time away with call ups to the Hungarian national team have not helped matters. These call ups are especially frustrating when Schon barely seems to get any game time for his national team either. Schon has also not helped himself with the opportunities he has been given. He had a solid performance in the first USOC game against FC Tulsa but was largely anonymous in the next round against SKC and had a terrible giveaway that led to a goal conceded. He hasn’t seen the field since.
If Schon has completely lost the trust of Nico and his staff, it may be best to move on from him. A loan destination may be a good option, just to get him some much needed minutes, but if FCD can find a suitor willing to buy his contract, now may be the time to go ahead and cut ties with Schon. If that happens, it will be a disappointing end to such a promising start to his FC Dallas career but sometimes things just don’t work out. Keep an eye out for news regarding Schon this summer.
How are you feeling following FCD’s first home loss of the season? Will Nico Estevez’s team bounce back next week in Orlando? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Featured Image: Eric Guzman/prostamerika.com