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What we learned in FC Dallas’ preseason openers

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Let’s break down FC Dallas’ pair of friendlies as much as we can here.

FC Dallas wrapped up their first part of the preseason camp in North Texas on Wednesday afternoon with a pair of friendlies. They first downed USL-Championship side Oklahoma City Energy FC 3-2 and then in the second match they defeated NTX Rayados 3-0.

Now, we’re only really able to go on some reports and tweets that were given by the club during these matches as the first game was begin closed doors and not open to the public. A lot of this is going to be just examining the lineups and talking through all of that.

Let’s talk formations/lineups

To open things up, FC Dallas manager Luchi Gonzalez went with a slightly different look and feel to his lineup. Part of this was due to some injuries, the other part thanks to players being out on international duty at the moment.

The first lineup included Jesse Gonzalez, Callum Montgomery, Matt Hedges, first-round draft pick Nkosi Burgess, Bryan Acosta, Edwin Cerrillo, John Nelson, Ryan Hollingshead, Santiago Mosquera, Michael Barrios and Zdenek Ondrasek. My best guess is that it likely looked like this:

Both Cobra and Mosquera scored early goals to help lead the way. It is certainly positive to see both of them scoring early on this preseason. You definitely want both of them in form as the season begins at the end of next month.

The formation is something new out of Luchi here too. No Reto Ziegler or Bressan meant that rookie Burgess is getting some important minutes in preseason with the first team. We have to remember that he and the other rookies have yet to be given first team contracts with FC Dallas. So his showing well by the accounts given yesterday suggest that they’ll like sign him and let him develop more in the USL-1 this season.

Second half changes

As you might expect with preseason games, the lineup shifted a lot in the second half. This may have allowed OKC to get back in this one as they scored two goals while giving up an own goal as well thanks to a corner kick from Thomas Roberts.

Here are the changes that Luchi made in the second half:

Again it looks like Luchi went with a bit of a 3-5-2 type look. You also get to see the first looks out of picks Manu Ferriol and Derek Waldeck. North Texas SC’s Imanol Almaguer also got his first chance in FCD’s midfield. Later on FCD’s Garrett Melcer let folks know that NTSC’s Phillip Ponder and U-17 Academy defender Justin Che got a brief spell in place of Montgomery and Burgess.

The big thing to note in my mind here is that Fafa Picault got his first 45 with the team. While you want to see him with the first group more, it makes sense to me that Luchi is running him out with the second group as he earns his spot.

The second friendly against NTX

In the second game that was open to the public, FC Dallas rolled out more draft picks, academy guys and NTSC players to help beat local side NTX Rayados 3-0.

Here is how FCD began the game:

This was certainly an important game for rookies like Cal Jennings, Anders Engebrestsen, Waldeck and Ferriol. All three are certainly gunning for a first team contract but in a small way they’re all also auditioning for North Texas SC.

Jennings certainly looked the part in this one as he scored two goals in the match. He and USL-1 MVP Arturo Rodriguez played well up front together to combine on a pair of the goals scored last night. Jennings pace was a factor at times for NTX and his ability in the box proved why FCD snagged him in the first round of the SuperDraft.

Rodriguez on the other hand continued to impress. I’m still a bit shocked at how FCD has not signed him to a Homegrown deal yet.