With a draw in Houston and a win in Tampa, FC Dallas is now on a 4 game-unbeaten streak.

Let’s look at a few standout performers who have driven FCD’s recent upturn in form.

Maarten Paes

Dallas’ Indonesian sensation is the clear player of the season so far, but his recent form has perhaps been the most impressive run he has had since he arrived in Dallas before the 2022 season. In this span, Paes has made the MLS Team of the Week on two separate occasions and tied his career high of saves with 8 against Tampa Bay, following up a 7 save performance in Houston. Put simply, without Paes’ immense performances, we are not talking about any sort of good run of form for the Burn.

None of this is particularly sustainable, of course. If Dallas wants to actually level up in the league, they need to stop relying on Paes to keep them in games and earn results game in and game out. However, Paes’ performances have helped lift the team off the mat, and his reliability, shot-stopping abilities, and command of his penalty area will keep Dallas alive in just about any game they play.

Paes will undoubtedly continue to be tested heavily in upcoming games. FCD’s next four games are against RSL, LA Galaxy, LAFC, and Minnesota, four of the top five teams in the Western Conference and all among the highest-scoring teams in the league. For Dallas to have any real chance of getting results in these games, Paes will need to continue his ludicrously high level of play. At this point, it would be a shock if he didn’t.

Sam Junqua

FCD’s utility man from 2023 has become the locked-in starter at left center back in Nico Estevez’s new 3-4-2-1 formation, playing all but 27 minutes so far in 2024. In preseason and the early part of the season, his LCB spot was probably the one most often picked on for needing improvement and a new player in place. Very little of this discussion was criticism directed at Junqua, who has endeared himself to the Dallas faithful in the last year and a half with his effort and endeavor on the field and his actions and personality off the field. Still, the feeling was that, though Junqua is a solid MLS player, he probably is not at the level a real “contender” wants at center back.

To Junqua’s immense credit, he has done just about everything possible lately to dissuade that notion. Junqua started the season a bit rocky, often looking a bit out of sync defensively, not always knowing when best to step up or when to drop, and not being at his best in possession. But as the season has gone on and Junqua has spent more time in the role (and Marco Farfan has returned to the left wingback spot), he has looked better and better. Junqua doesn’t necessarily do anything flashy or obvious but has provided a calm and steady presence in the spot and put in a fantastic performance away in Houston. It was Junqua’s aggressive step-up pressing that forced a turnover that resulted in FCD’s tying goal, securing El Capitan for another season in Frisco.

Centerback is still a position of need for Dallas, especially if they want to continue to play this 3-4-2-1 formation, but Junqua no longer looks like the player that should be replaced. With the upcoming run of games coming against a number of top Western Conference opponents, Junqua’s strong run of form will need to continue for Dallas to continue to pick up positive results.

Logan Farrington

The rookie forward has been FCD’s Open Cup hero, striking the winning goals against Memphis 901 and the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Farrington’s opportunities in the league have been limited to mostly late-game sub appearances, and with Petar Musa in strong form, that looks likely to continue. However, Farrington has done well with his limited minutes thus far, and the goals he has scored in the Open Cup will give him more confidence going forward.

Farrington may also be looking at more minutes with Jesus Ferreira going down with an injury in Tampa Bay. There is no word yet on the severity of Ferreira’s injury, but Dallas could look to play Farrington and Musa together to get both of their in-form forwards on the field together and play even more directly with the midfield injury situation continuing to be an issue. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Farrington notch his first MLS goal in the next few games.

Who else has stood out to you during FCD’s recent good run of form?

PHOTO: FC Dallas

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