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Quick Burns: Which attacking group makes the most sense for FC Dallas right now?

Badji and Urruti? Urruti and Colman? Who makes the most sense up top for FCD at the moment?

MLS: FC Dallas at Vancouver Whitecaps Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

It has been no secret that Oscar Pareja has been happy mixing up his lineups in 2018. FC Dallas has used several attacking groups in their starting eleven, but lately Pareja seems to have settled in on several guys as his regular starters.

Our staff has been debating who should be starting up top for weeks, but now we give everyone a chance to say their piece on the matter.

Jason Poon - Gotta keep Urruti, no matter what

Striker Stats

Name Minutes Goals xG Asssists xA xG + xA xG + xA (per 96)
Name Minutes Goals xG Asssists xA xG + xA xG + xA (per 96)
Urruti 2564 7 10.1 6 3.7 13.8 0.52
Badji 1819 9 7.8 1 0.8 8.7 0.46
Colman 667 2 2.7 0 0.4 3.2 0.46

Strictly looking at numbers, it doesn’t matter too much which player is out there. Urruti has more goals and assists, but has also played more minutes than Badji and Colman combined. When you look at their per 96 xG + xA (expected goals and expected assists), they’re pretty close overall. The assist count edges more in Urruti’s favor given his increased minutes as a #10.

At this stage, get the one that’s confident out there and make sure the others are pushing strong for contention. At some point, it’ll tactically make sense for one to start over the other. I’d rather see them all playing at a high level, with a high degree of confidence going into the playoffs.

Scott Hiney – Maxi & Badji

Because of the plethora of combinations and lack of a larger sample size, it’s really hard for me to provide statistical evidence, but I think we can assume these lineup variations all feature Maxi and then it’s just whether Badji or Colman starts (with the other likely splitting the late-game sub role with Tesho).

Urruti and Badji have started five games together, with FC Dallas going 2-2-1, scoring 10 goals — including the excellent 4-2 El Capitan-clinching win over Houston in August. I just think Badji’s finishing style (and the fact that he can actually finish to begin with) suits FCD’s playing style better.

A side note: I’d personally rather see Maxi go back up top, letting Aránguiz run the attack in something like a 4-2-3-1. Then, Badji could see time as a hybrid winger and Colman gets to come in late as an arial presence. But that’s for another conversation on another day.

Nathan Hill - Urruti & Barrios & ...

There has been an ongoing debate in various parts of the inter web about Cristian Colman’s late season run in the starting lineup and Badji’s future or present role. It’s an interesting conversation only because there are question marks everywhere. Right now, Colman knows the team. He’s been around for a while, and so he probably does have a familiarity and comfort level that is higher than Badji. He can do some things well, like being an aerial outlet and holding up the ball.

But he doesn’t score.

Badji on the other hand is new, may still be getting to know the rhythm of this team, and doing some work acclimating to the expectations of the coaching staff. Who fits the best as the team fights to lock up home field advantage? I don’t know.

My gut is that Badji presents the long term option. He and Urruti should offer a lot of athleticism, energy, and scrappiness if they can find ways to work together and trust each other. Maybe a slight formation tweak would help too. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be ready right now at this point in the season, pointing to Badji having more of a late game role.

At this point too, despite the presence of Aranguiz and his promise, this team runs through Urruti and Barrios. That’s a bit frustrating, because teams know Urruti and Barrios. They know what FC Dallas is going to try to do, so it’s up to Santiago, Colman, Badji, Aranguiz, or even Akindele to offer something else. I don’t think any single player has answered who that is going to be, so it may come down to Oscar Pareja and company. Which player looks good in practice and presents the best matchup against our opponent? Is this a good place to be this late in the season? Could it be FC Dallas’ wildcard? Or is it going to spell the doom for this squad’s playoff hopes?

I would like to see the Urruti, Barrios, Mosquera, and Badji experiment get more time - but we may be out of time.

Ben Lyon – Matchup dependent.

Jose Carmona - Santi, Maxi, Barrios, & Colman.

Mosquera has 4 goals in his last 5 starts, Barrios has averaged a goal or assist in his last 10 starts, Urruti is a must start, so that leaves just 1 spot open. At this time, that spot has to go to Colman. FCD is 4-1-1 when Colman starts, and even though he only has 1 goal in that span, Pareja has finally figured out how to use Colman.

In the last 2 matches Colman started, he has a combined 24 aerials won, after never having more than 6 aerials won in any appearances this season. This is a level of aerial dominance that has not been seen around here in a long time, and something that FCD can build around as we enter the home stretch.

Tesho is not the answer, as he is just more suited to coming off the bench. Badji may be the best forward on the team not named Urruti, but he simply has yet to mesh with the team, and may not find his groove til next season. Lamah deserves to start if healthy, but he likely relegates one of the other wingers to the bench, or becomes a super sub. Aranguiz is on the same boat as Badji, and may not find his team form til next season.