After a come-from-behind 3-2 victory against Portland on the 4th of July, the Peter Luccin era is now five games old.

Let’s look at three players who stood out and took their chance under the interim manager in these five games.

Tsiki Ntsabeleng

Despite missing the FC Cincinnati match due to illness, Ntsabeleng is probably the biggest early winner under Luccin. He was a second-half substitute in Luccin’s first game in charge, coming on for 27 minutes to help close out St Louis. In the post-game press conference, Luccin clearly liked what he saw from Ntsabeleng, who mentioned him with praise multiple times.

He started the following two games against Minnesota and Seattle and then came straight back into the starting eleven following his absence against the Timbers, in which he picked up his first assist of 2024 on a lovely pass slipped into Petar Musa.

Other than a short spell prior to injury in 2023, this is the most consistent time in the lineup since the South African was drafted before the 2022 season.

Under Estevez, Ntsabeleng was often used in deeper positions, with the goal seemingly to develop him into a linking 8. But his best moments, including this recent run, have come higher up the pitch, playing in more of an attacking midfield role. He’s not a perfect player at all; he sometimes holds on to the ball too long and can be a bit sloppy with his passing, but he’s a tremendous dribbler and has a knack for finding space in dangerous areas.

If he really wants to make a claim for being a locked-in starter, he needs to offer a bit more end product, but it certainly looks like he’ll continue to get opportunities under Peter Luccin.

Sebastian Lletget

Lletget’s role in the team under Nico Estevez was also significant, so this is not a case of someone taking advantage of a new opportunity, but Lletget has stepped up his play on both sides of the ball in recent weeks. Overall, Lletget has been one of the strongest performers in 2024 under each manager. Still, his play as both a linking 8 next to Illarramendi or as a more attacking midfield, as seen against FC Cincinnati, has been strong, with Lletget being a big reason for Dallas’ recent offensive success.

He had an assist in Luccin’s first game in charge and followed that up with a 2 assist performance off the bench against Minnesota. He was solid against both Seattle and Cincinnati and had another excellent outing against Timbers, where he added another assist on Nkosi Tafari’s goal from a corner.

With Jesus Ferreira out of the lineup, he has taken over most set-piece duties. Dallas has scored two goals from his corner deliveries in the last five games. It would be great to see him add some goals as well, but Lletget has provided the quality that is asked of a player with his experience, and the Burn, and especially Peter Luccin, will need that quality throughout the rest of the season.

Logan Farrington

I thought one of the strangest things about the end of Nico Estevez’s tenure was his unwillingness to stray from a relatively small group of players. Farrington, for his part, scored game-winning goals in the US Open Cup, goals that certainly extended Estevez’s leash in the early part of the season. Still, after his goal against Tampa Bay, Farrington played 6 minutes in the following 4 games and even dropped down to North Texas SC to get some minutes (he picked up an assist in the game). It was a bizarre bit of man management from Estevez at the end of his term, and for all the players he left out in those final few games, Farrington’s omission was undoubtedly the most bizarre.

This has quickly changed under Peter Luccin, with Farrington playing in all 5 games, earning a start in one of them. Farrington picked up his first MLS goal and assisted in the big 5-3 win over Minnesota, then was the catalyst for the lead taken in Seattle, earning an assist. That led to a start against FC Cincinnati, where he played the full 90 minutes and then featured for another 30-minute appearance against Portland. Interestingly, Luccin seems more willing to replace Petar Musa directly with Farrington instead of using both players together to this point. Farrington has shown some promise on the wing. Still, he is clearly most comfortable as a high number 9, so it is good to see him playing there and maintaining a good level to avoid burning Musa out and keeping him fresh for the busy second half of the season.

The Burn’s first-round draft pick has been one of the few bright spots of a rough season thus far; it is great to seem to be more involved and take advantage of the opportunities being provided to him.

Has anyone stood out and impressed you since the Luccin Era began at FC Dallas?

PHOTO: FC Dallas

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