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Scratching the Chalkboard: Dallas Needs to Play Fast

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FCD is at their best when there’s an element of chaos

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-FC Dallas vs San Antonio Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

FC Dallas took care of business in a rather dull affair, and knocked off in state opponent, San Antonio to advance to the Round of 16 in the US Open Cup. Thanks to Tesho Akindele for burying his chance, Dallas escaped out of San Antonio with a 1-0 victory in a match that featured a lot of the team’s young talents.

Took the Bait

Despite the 1-0 victory, Dallas didn’t do well tonight in terms of game management as they walked right into San Antonio’s game plan. SAFC set their blocks really deep, invited Dallas forward and hit FCD on the counter far too easily.

San Antonio’s passing chart in the 1st half

SAFC’s main weapon was winger Omar Gordon who set up shop on the right wing and proved to be a very difficult match up against Maynor Figueroa.

SAFC’s shot chart in 1st half. Gordon is #91

Thankfully Jimmy Maurer, Matt Hedges, and Homegrown making his FCD debut, Jordan Cano were up to the task and kept things scoreless for FCD.

Thrives On Chaos

With San Antonio sitting so deep, Dallas had to methodically try to break down the defense by playing between the lines, out wide and with some precise passing. Dallas had some moments, but it didn’t all work out. In fact, this very much looked like a team that hadn’t played much together at all.

The lone goal from Dallas came from Michael Barrios, when he won the ball back deep inside the San Antonio half and Dallas moved quickly to turn it into a goal scoring opportunity.

This team does well when the game is open and fast, and they can just react instead of think. Once Dallas took the lead, things opened up for them. Look at how compact SAFC were in the first half and how it forced Dallas to play wide, compared to the second half where Dallas finally got some space to play through the middle.

FC Dallas first half passing
FC Dallas second half passing

There aren’t that many teams in this league that can match Dallas when the game is fast, open and loose. (Maybe Atlanta and NYRB.) Dallas will need to figure out how to avoid playing into the tactics of the opposition and draw them out of their shell to speed up the game to their advantage.

It certainly wasn’t pretty, and Dallas picked up a couple of unfortunate injuries to Paxton Pomykal and Cristian Colman. But the job was done and that’s all that matters.