Following disappointing results against Nashville and Real Salt Lake, FC Dallas put together a huge performance and a statement win in Minnesota, blowing away the Loons 3-0. This week, we’ll look at three stats that tell the story of the game.
1) Sebastian Lletget: 100% pass completion
Since arriving from New England, FCD have not lost when Lletget starts and he was especially effective against Minnesota. The eye-catching stat and the one that landed him on the MLS Team of the Week is obviously the two assists but his 33 completed passes out of 33 attempts are what really tells the story for me. Brandon Servania and Tsiki Ntsabeleng did an admirable job for the majority of the season playing next to Paxton Pomykal but they are at very different points in their respective careers when compared to Lletget. Lletget just looks so comfortable playing for FCD, his ability to find open pockets of space and pick passes is basically unmatched on the team and it is no surprise that his performances have continued to get more impressive as he has become more comfortable with his teammates. Any time a central midfielder goes through a 90 minute performance without misplaying a pass, it is going to be noteworthy. Lletget might just be the piece that is able to take this team from fighting for playoff contention to being an actual threat in the playoffs.
2) 3 shots on target, 3 goals
Early on in the season, FC Dallas was very notable for their extreme efficiency with their shots on target. FCD was not generating a particularly high number of shots or shots on target but the shots on target they were producing were of a very high quality and, more often than not, were turning into goals. In this match, FCD saw a return to that ruthless efficiency that characterized the offense early in the season, scoring 3 goals on just 3 shots on target. Obviously, with one of the 3 goals being an own goal from Minnesota defender Michael Boxall, they received a bit of an assist in this regard, but it was nice to see FCD get back to being so efficient in front of goal, especially as we saw the team’s efficiency drop dramatically over the course of the summer, often racking up double digit shot attempts but scoring very little or not scoring at all. To be clear, it would be better to see FCD put even more shots on target, but if you’re only going to have a handful, it is a huge help to put those few chances in the back of the net.
3) 61% of duels won
Duels are an interesting stat. For anyone who isn’t aware, a duel is basically any time there is a 50/50 opportunity for a player on each team to win the ball, whether that is on the ground or in the air. By their very nature as a “50/50”, you will usually see these stats come out to somewhere around 50% of duels won for each team in a matchup. So to see FCD win 61% of their duels against Minnesota is a telling stat in terms of the mentality, energy and aggression FCD were playing with. They simply went in to Minnesota and fought and clawed just a little bit harder than Minnesota did. FCD were especially dominant aerially, winning 7 out of 10 aerial duels (though the lack of these speaks to how both teams like to play out of the back). Being able to win duels at this kind of rate is always going to lead to success in MLS. Some individual standouts in this regard: Ema Twumasi (7/10), Marco Farfan (7/10), Edwin Cerrillo (4/4), Paxton Pomykal (10/13!) and the aforementioned Sebastian Lletget (3/4). Taking a look at those players tells the story: FCD dominated the midfield and the wide areas in this one and when you can do that in MLS, you’re going to see positive results more often than not. A fantastic team wide performance in this one.
What are your thoughts on FCD following the big win against Minnesota United? Let me know in the comments below!
Featured Image: Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports