FC Dallas faced their first foreign test of the preseason on Wednesday, falling 1-0 to Ecuadorian giants Barcelona SC. Let’s look at three takeaways from the scrimmage
1) Edwin Cerrillo outperforms Facundo Quignon
Homegrown Edwin Cerrillo got the start for the scrimmage, though considering the make up of the starting lineup compared to the new eleven in the second half, it is clear each lineup was a mix of starters and reserve players. With that in mind, it is hard to have any major takeaways from the Cerrillo vs Quignon position battle based on the starting lineup. However, their individual performances in the game certainly lead us to a takeaway. Cerrillo was very sharp in his defensive midfield role. He did a great job of breaking up dangerous BSC attacks and was neat and tidy with his short passing while also displaying a strong range of passing in switching the play in opportune moments. He did not have any kind of egregious errors or bad turnovers in tough spots that put the team in a dangerous position, basically playing exactly how you want your 6 to play. Quignon, on the other hand, struggled in his second half performance, turning the ball over on numerous occasions and generally showing a lackluster and mediocre performance, not ideal for a player on his salary. This is only the first real preseason game though, so we should be hesitant in making any sweeping judgments here, but Cerrillo certainly seems to have the clear path to being first choice for 2023.
2) Wing depth, Kamungo vs Obrian
With Paul Arriola on national team duty and Alan Velasco held back to play in the second half, the back up wingers Bernard Kamungo and Jader Obrian got the start in this scrimmage. To be frank, it was clear to see why the pair of them are currently depth pieces. Obrian was his usual self that FCD fans have come to know, not offering a lot in possession and taking some sloppy touches and poor passes. Obrian is good for a few goals throughout a season just due to his sheer persistence and ability to find himself in good positions in front of goal, but his game is so limited beyond that and it has a clearly negative effect on FCD’s attack. Kamungo, on the other hand, was more promising, though there was a lack of end product against this quality of opposition. Unlike Obrian, Kamungo looked solid in possession and looked dangerous in the final third, but will need to develop his end product further as he continues to develop. Based on this scrimmage, I would personally rather see Kamungo be the first winger off the bench moving forward as opposed to Obrian, who occupied that position in 2022.
3) Starting center back pairing questions continue
In the intra-squad scrimmage last week, one of the teams featured a pairing of Jose Martinez and Nkosi Tafari while the other team featured Sebastien Ibeagha and Nolan Norris. This was modified for the BSC scrimmage with Martinez and Ibeagha starting the game and Tafari and Norris (who was subbed out for Amet Korca part way through the second half) starting the second half. Any major takeaways here are tough to come by after just two games, Nico Estevez and his staff will surely continue with different combinations of Martinez, Tafari and Ibeagha throughout the preseason to determine their preferred starting pair ahead of the season. One thing does seem clear though: the trust in Jose Martinez that was shown in 2022 looks set to continue into 2023, at least at the start of the season. Estevez seems to like to lean on veterans at center back, so don’t be surprised if he gives the pairing of Martinez and Ibeagha every opportunity to establish themselves throughout preseason. Regardless of the way this ends up, this will be one of the most interesting positions to watch throughout preseason and into the beginning of the regular season.
What were your thoughts on the first preseason friendly of 2023? Let me know in the comments below!
Featured Image: LM Otero/Associated Press