FC Dallas left Q2 Stadium 1-0 winners after a late Jesus Ferreira goal silenced the home crowd.
This week, let’s look at three things we learned from the Burn’s win over their in-state rivals.
1) Jesus Ferreira Loves Playing at Q2 Stadium
With Ferreira’s goal in the 89th minute to win this particular matchup, he notched his 7th goal in 5 games played at Austin FC’s stadium between MLS and USMNT games.
This goal was especially notable as Ferreira followed up his goal by removing his jersey in front of the Austin supporter’s section and holding it up in front of Austin FC’s biggest fans before throwing up a peace sign and putting his fingers in his ears (no doubt that Ferreira was hearing plenty of heckling throughout the second half as FCD attacked the Austin goal). It was Ferreira’s 6th goal in MLS and broke a 300+ minute scoring drought for FCD, who has found it difficult in 2023 to match some of the offensive firepower they displayed in 2022.
With Paul Arriola pulling up limp in stoppage time (more on that shortly) and post-game comments from Arriola and Nico Estevez not sounding good for Arriola returning in the near future, Ferreira will need to continue his good form for the Burn over the next month leading into the Gold Cup break. Saturday was a great way to get back on track.
2) Jader Obrian Steps Up (and Will Need to Keep Doing So)
Ever since the speedy Colombian winger arrived to the club back in 2021, Jader Obrian’s performances have been heavily scrutinized by the FCD faithful, with his first touch and passing abilities often called into question. Obrian is all too frequently seen wasting good chances and generally frustrating both FCD fans and opposition alike with his…interesting antics on the pitch. So, when Obrian slotted in to start on Saturday evening with Paul Arriola still working back from injury, there was not a lot of optimism from the fanbase that Obrian would contribute in a positive manner.
But by the time the 90 minutes were up, Obrian had proved any of those doubters wrong, at least for this game. Obrian was absolutely everywhere at Q2 Stadium, his energetic pressing constantly causing issues for the Austin defense trying to play out of the back. He smashed a shot off the crossbar in the first half and generally continued to be a huge danger throughout the game, coming close to putting the Burn up 2-0 and killing the game completely in second-half stoppage time.
It is great timing for Obrian to find this kind of form as Paul Arriola, who had to be substituted for an apparently leg injury against St Louis, pulled up lame in second-half stoppage time against Austin. Post-game comments from Arriola and Nico Estevez do not point towards a speedy return (FCD will find out the extent of Arriola’s injury following an MRI on Tuesday) for Arriola, so Obrian looks set to be a regular part of the starting lineup and rotation moving forward. If he can keep up the level of performance, we saw on Saturday, that won’t be a problem at all for Dallas.
3) Time for More Tsiki?
For the second time in recent weeks, Tsiki Ntsabeleng made an impact as a second half substitute and provided an assist for a Dallas goal. The first time, it was for a consolation goal late into the second half against NYCFC. Still, the second time was far more impactful, with the South African midfielder providing an inch-perfect through ball for Jesus Ferreira to run onto and slot home past a helpless Brad Stuver.
Ntsabeleng was one of the big surprises of the 2022 season but has been used sparingly to this point, with his only start of the season thus far coming in the Open Cup against Nashville, where he was awkwardly deployed as a sort of 8/10 hybrid in FCD’s poorly executed 3-4-2-1 look.
Against Austin, he came out in his more familiar 8 role in FCD’s 4-3-3 and looked lively. He is such a different kind of player than the rest of the FCD midfield and always seems to cause opposing defenses issues. With Sebastian Lletget also reportedly set to have an MRI this week (no idea when and where he picked up an injury that requires an MRI) and games coming thick and fast throughout May and early June, Tsiki may be in line for his first league start of 2023.
Keep an eye on what Tsiki is able to do once afforded that opportunity, as he always looks ready to make an impact.
What are your thoughts following FCD’s win over the weekend?
Let me know in the comments below!
Featured Image: FC Dallas Twitter