Three weeks into the season here and FC Dallas manager Luchi Gonzalez has definitely showed us what kind of team he wants to have in MLS. But following the first loss of the season it is always good to reflect on what could be improved and what could change.
Today, our team looks at something they’d like Luchi to change, adapt or learn moving forward here.
Jason Poon - Stay the course
It feels weird telling a head coach what to do from behind a keyboard, so instead I’m opting for more of an affirmation: stay the course. 1-1-1 is a good start to his career. Is this where he wants to be? Nah. Is he learning and making adjustments? Absolutely. Is he on the right trajectory? You bet. Gonzalez has been at the helm for four months now; which is a drop in the bucket in terms of knowledge and experience but he doesn’t look out of ideas or overwhelmed. Stay the course.
Jeff Loftin - Trust the roster
If the substitution pattern thus far is any indication, there is a severe reliance on the starters and a severe lack of trust in the substitutes. Throughout the season there will be ups and downs but the entirety of the roster will be necessary should the team want to make the playoffs (or move beyond that). I am sure there is still some newness and feeling-out going on, but Luchi should rely on his roster, the whole roster, and let his players surprise him.
Nathan Hill - It’s Okay to Tweak
I love a good formation and scheme. Heck, it’s why I’m undefeated as the manager of FC Dallas in my ongoing Football Manager 2016 for over 5 years. But a good scheme scheme cannot make up for talent, as indicated by numerous MLS clubs like DC United who suddenly look darn good with the same coach and similar scheme but an infusion of skill and ability. (Yes, Wayne Rooney’s been good.) FC Dallas clearly has some players that aren’t quite adjusting well to this formation or may not have the right stuff, so how can Luchi keep his long term vision intact and also tweak the scheme to employ their individual gifts? I’m not suggesting that progress isn’t being made this early in the season, but I do hope Luchi isn’t afraid to go back to the drawing board and find ways to get more out of his offensive players even if it means adjusting his vision for how the team players.
Scott Hiney – Go With What You Know
I feel the same way as Jason, but my best advice for him (because he definitely wants and needs mine) would be to continue doing what has got him here. He wouldn’t be in this spot without finding previous success, and a lot of it. He’s doing well to immediately bring the youth that he knows so well into the squad and they have already injected much-needed energy when the team otherwise wasn’t showing it (see Jesus Ferreira and John Nelson’s work after being subbed on last weekend). He’s implemented very specific and progressive tactics that are still very different from what the majority of this roster is used to — but again — have led his teams to juggernaut-level performances. Their weak offensive start isn’t an excuse to give up on the plan. Instead, he needs to continue to preach the same message because it’s far too early to tell whether or not they will work for this team in the long-term.
Fresh starts always guarantee freshness, but they rarely guarantee immediate dominance. Two results from three games to begin a new era is nothing to be ashamed of and another home game upcoming will allow this team to continue to feel itself out within friendly confines. Let Luchi be Luchi and we’ll eventually get a larger picture of what his version of FC Dallas looks like.
Drew Epperley - Go with your gut
Right now, it is hard to pick too many specific things about how Gonzalez has managed this team up to this point. If anything, I would advise him to go with his gut more often if he isn’t already when it comes to game management, subs and rosters. If he feels like the club would be better off with the younger portion of their roster as opposed to the older (and possible more expensive end), then so be it. I’ve said time and time again this year that this season is a marathon and not a sprint. So far, I think the pacing is just fine for Luchi in what he is doing.