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By The Numbers: What’s Up with the FC Dallas Offense

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Second most goals scored in a season? Did we under appreciate this Dallas team?

MLS: Sporting Kansas City at FC Dallas Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Did you know that the 54 goals scored by FC Dallas in 2019 tied them for the second most in franchise history with 2018, 2000 and 1999?

Yeah, I didn’t get it either. But if the adage “numbers don’t lie” holds true, then what gives? Why did this team feel like it was missing a legitimate goal scoring threat? The big complaint for the 2019 team was that it lacked a consistent goal scorer up top and on the left wing. That was the missing piece of the puzzle that would be the difference between crawling over the red line and in to the playoffs or being a legitimate MLS Cup contender. Since 2014, Dallas has only had three double digit goal scorers on the team and 2014 had two of them (Blas Perez - 11, Fabian Castillo - 10).

So what’s the deal here? Did we under appreciate what the 2019 Dallas offense had to offer? Did my eye test fail me? I looked at the numbers a little more closely and came to this conclusion:

The narrative that the 2019 team scored the second most goals in team history is a bit misleading.

Before I dive further into that, let’s first get some historical context. I’ve been covering FC Dallas for BigDSoccer since 2014, so that’s as far as I’ll go with the recent data.

FC Dallas Goals Scored

Year Goals Scored
Year Goals Scored
2014 55
2015 52
2016 50
2017 48
2018 54
2019 54

From recent history, Dallas has been pretty consistent in the goal scoring department. Dallas has averaged ~52 goals or ~1.5 goals per game in the last six seasons. It’s not world beating, but it’s also not paltry either. It is a good and respectable number for any offense in MLS.

So that begged the question; “What’s the deal? Why does it seem like the missing piece for Dallas to get over the MLS Cup championship hump is some kind of goal scoring prowess?”

This chart below sheds light on that.

Last year Dallas was a feast or famine type of team, that binged their scoring on a certain of of games to “pad” their stats.

Games with 3+ goals scored

Year Goals Scored Games with 3+ Goals Scored
Year Goals Scored Games with 3+ Goals Scored
2014 55 2
2015 52 3
2016 50 2
2017 48 3
2018 54 1
2019 54 4

The table above is 3+ goals scored per game, meaning 4 or more. It wasn’t a lot by any stretch, but it was a team high in the past six seasons.

So yes, Dallas did score the second most goals in team history over the course of a season but no, it didn’t exactly mean this offense was as potent as that sounds. The feast or famine type of finishing meant that Dallas was inconsistent in front of the net. Some of that flattened out and became more consistent thanks to Zdenek Ondrasek, but still points to the fact that this is a very young and inexperienced team.

#PlayYourKids is fun and certainly a noble cause, especially as the kids are from your community and metroplex but certainly has some deficiencies when it comes to consistency. Dallas suffered in 2019 when they appeared to be able to beat anybody in the league, but also lose to anybody too.

Some of this will shape itself out over time as the kids get more seasoned with their play over time, but also points to the need for Dallas to bring in some veteran players in key places. One of those was (hopefully) addressed by the signings of Thiago Santos and Fafa Picault. If Thiago Santos can be that consistent lock down defensive midfielder that Dallas needs, then I suspect that the offense will thrive thanks to him as it frees up players to take greater risks and better starting positions.

Dallas is certainly not a bad team on the offensive side of things and has plenty of upside and potential to build on for 2020, but don’t be fooled into thinking that the 2019 team was any kind of offensive juggernaut either.