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Scratching the Chalkboard: Is the striker a cursed FCD position?

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Dominque Badji looks out of form and out of touch.

MLS: Sporting KC at FC Dallas Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

FC Dallas got battered at home in disappointing fashion. Dallas was mostly in control of the game, during the opening stretches and looked to be in full playoff mode when Jesse Gonzalez made that huge penalty save. But alas, sometimes soccer sucks. Sporting Kansas City took an unexpected 1-0 lead late in the first half, against the run of play and Dallas’ offense continued to misfire for the rest of the afternoon.

The curse of the #9?

There’s something really weird going on with the recent crop of FCD strikers. Blas Perez had his moments, but since then, Dallas has routinely struggled finding an out and out forward that could just bang in goals. Now Dallas had flirted with David Texeira, Tesho Akindele, Cristian Colman, Maximiliano Urruti and now Dominique Badji. With the exception of one lone season from Urruti, none of these players have scored 10 goals for the team. (Yes, Badji has a big exception because he was just brought in mid season.)

But even with that, Badji has shown flashes of fitting in well, then flashes of looking confused out there with this team.

Badji’s passing and shot chart vs SKC

This is not good. No one should be expecting too many touches from Badji. He thrives with the ball placed out in front of him for him to run in behind defenses, so any expectation of Badji doing any combination work with his teammates should be forgotten. And this is not on Badji per se either.

Dallas opted to go wit what worked the last time FCD faced SKC, and went straight to Michael Barrios down the right wing. Now, it did work... kind of. Barrios gave Seth Sinovic a lot of troubles down the right wing. The problem was that it was out wide. Barrios did all his damage for that hat trick when he was placed in the middle of the field and had center backs to out run.

The tactic seemed to be get the ball to Barrios, cross in to Badji. Which... is fine but after a few minutes of this, it gets predictable and Dallas didn’t adjust to go more direct and play to Badji’s strengths.

But, to be fair, Badji was offside quite often. I didn’t have the luxury of a good camera angle, so I couldn’t see whether he was standing off the shoulder or if he had drifted offside and wasn’t an outlet option. Either way, if he were onside, why not play directly to him more often? If he was offside, why wasn’t there a tactical adjustment?

It’s still too soon to draw any conclusions, but after several years of this, you do start to wonder when will Dallas can find a proper striker. Not to discredit Texeira had some bangers in him, or that Urruti doesn’t have an incredible work rate and some golazos either. Dallas has done well to make the playoffs in four of the five years under Pareja’s helm, but it does make you wonder how good this team could be if they had an actual striker who did typical forward things: hold the ball and score goals.

We gave Texeira two years and he was meh. Cristian Colman had two years, and he certainly wasn’t worth his DP price tag. We went with Urruti for two years and now he’s our #10. Are we really in for another two year experiment with another forward in Badji? When is it time to just hand things over to Jesus Ferreira? At some point, the fan base is going to grow impatient with the constant misfiring up top.