FC Dallas pulled off a big win at home on Saturday night to force a decisive third game in Seattle on Friday. This week, let’s look at three stats that tell the story of the big Burn win.
1) 3 shots on target, 3 goals
Going back to 2022, Nico Estevez’s FC Dallas is not a high chance generation team, but, when they’re at their best, they generate very high quality chances and are very efficient in their ability to finish these chances. They were at the extreme end of this against the Sounders, only generating 3 shots on target in the 90 minutes but scoring on all three. They only had 8 shots in the game total but still generated a whopping 1.73 xG, showing the quality of the shots they did end up taking. At least for this season, this is what this team is, they are not going to suddenly morph into a team that is pouring chance after chance after chance on the opposition goalkeeper, so if they have any hope of pulling off a miraculous and unlikely run to MLS Cup in 2023, this trend of hyper efficiency will have to continue.
2) 38% possession and 66% passing accuracy
This edition of FC Dallas, even moreso than the 2022 team, really thrives when playing against the ball. They are capable of maintaining possession but their ability to create dangerous chances from lengthy spells of possession just has not been there over the course of the season. They are at their best when they are absorbing pressure and able to rapidly transition up the field and take advantage of a disorganized defense. This was on full display on Saturday as all three of the Dallas goals were generated off these kinds of moments. Even the first goal, which did have some nice combination play in the build up, was still largely a move in transition with Dallas almost constantly advancing the ball forwards until Kamungo ultimately finds Arriola for the goal.
The low possession and passing accuracy stats show A) how much Dallas was playing against the ball and B) when Dallas did get the ball, they were largely trying to make riskier passes to advance the ball forward quickly instead of playing safe and going backwards and sideways. It isn’t exactly the absolute prettiest way to play, but it is highly effective for this team.
3) Bernard Kamungo’s entire statline
The recent US Olympic team call up had a couple very obvious big stats: one assist and one penalty won, but the young man, who was playing in front of his parents for the first time, had an excellent overall game. Check out this line from the 21 year old:
73 minutes played
76% passing accuracy
1 penalty won
3 passes into final third
6/8 ground duels
3 fouls drawn
That is an absolutely massive performance, another big performance in a big game from Kamungo, who has made a real habit of showing up when it matters the most. He did show his age and inexperience on Seattle’s goal, when his back pass that looked to be intended for Maarten Paes was badly mishit, allowing Jordan Morris to run in on goal and score, but when Kamungo is contributing like he did on both sides of the ball, Dallas will live with that kind of mistake.
Kamungo continues to be a huge difference maker for Dallas, not only because of his ability to come up big in big moments but because of what he can offer Dallas in tactical flexibility. Kamungo lining up on the right with Arriola on the left allows both players to cut inside onto their stronger foot and create opportunities for themselves and others. This is not a team whose strong suit is launching crosses in from the end line, so the kind of cutback crosses that Kamungo delivered to Arriola are far more effective. Starting Kamungo also allows Jader Obrian to come off the bench and be a livewire and disrupt defenses, by far his best trait, and that was on display in Dallas’ third goal that ultimately sealed the game. If the Burn come up with the big win on Friday, Kamungo will undoubtedly play a major role.
What are your thoughts on FCD’s big game 2 win? Will they pull off another win in game 3? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Featured Image: AP Photo/Julio Cortez