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What we learned against Toronto FC: Jesse is back

Gonzalez and Pareja combine for a great result

MLS: FC Dallas at Toronto FC Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

It’s always nice to get an unexpected result and picking up three points on the road against Toronto FC was certainly not expected. An immense performance from Jesse Gonzalez helped secure the result for FC Dallas.

Pareja shakes things up

Remember when Dallas only played in a 4-2-3-1 with the same players whether they were playing well or not? Well that has not been the case this year. Oscar Pareja has been much more willing to tweak the lineup and experiment.

Maybe Pareja has always wanted to be able to do that, but hasn’t felt like he had the depth or versatile players for it. Either way, I love that he used a difficult road game as a chance to experiment. As a fan you have so many theories about “what would happen if you played these guys together” or “what if we tried a 4-3-3” and it’s exciting to see some of those scenarios come to life this season.

Jesse comes up big

(credit Reddit user LaddZilla)

In a bit of a surprise, after a poor outing last week Pareja decided to bench Jimmy Maurer for Jesse Gonzalez. Jesse made the most of his opportunity and ended the game with nine saves. One of which was a Sebastian Giovinco penalty.

I’ve always been a fan of Jesse because of his ceiling, but when Maurer was playing so well it’s hard to justify benching him because of another player’s ceiling. But Gonzalez’s performance is going to make it hard to give Jimmy back the reins.

As the Gonzalez to Chivas rumors heat up, you have to wonder if Pareja started him to show him off to interested teams, or if it was to give him a chance to win the positions back. Either way, I think Jesse has successfully shown that he is more than a back up keeper and I expected Pareja to pick his keeper on a week to week basis.

Back line slide

Against NYCFC- Reto Ziegler penalty

Against LAFC- Nothing

Against LA Galaxy- Ziegler red card

Against Vancouver- Maynor Figueroa own goal, Maurer penalty

Against TFC- Matt Hedges penalty

It has not been a good run of games for Dallas’ defense and individual errors. While the team performance has been satisfactory, Dallas must cut down on the sloppy defending errors. While there are a few freak accidents and iffy VAR calls in that run of errors, the back line isn’t completely without blame.

FCD could try fielding a more conservative midfield to take the pressure off of the back line. When Gruezo has been playing he’s been dropping to be the deepest defender at times and that helps with distribution and having numbers in the back. The defenders would likely lose the ball out of the back less and have more support on counters so they won’t feel the need to make risky, last-ditch tackles.


What did you think of the line up and Jesse? Are you worried about the back line’s trend of errors? Let me know in the comments.