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What we learned from FC Dallas’ preseason win over the Philadelphia Union

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FC Dallas came out in a 3-5-2 look again and did pretty well.

Philadelphia Union UK Twitter

FC Dallas began their preseason camp in Florida on Wednesday morning with a solid 3-2 win over next weekend’s season opening opponent, the Philadelphia Union.

Dallas had a three goal lead thanks to two goals from Zdenek Ondrasek and one from former Union winger Fafa Picault. The Union were able to pull back two goals late in the game but the Dallas defense held on to pick up the preseason win.

Here are a couple of things that stood out to me as I took in the preseason game.

The 3-5-2 is certainly a work in progress...

Due to some absences (congrats Michael Barrios on the new baby!) and probably a decision to hold some cards close to the chest for next weekend’s home opener against the same team, Luchi Gonzalez went back to a 3-5-2 look that we’ve seen him use a few times this preseason.

Early on it was clear that the way forward was likely going through the wing play of Reggie Cannon and Ryan Hollingshead. What I liked most about this was how it pushes both up the field more, especially Cannon. We saw a very active right side of the pitch with Cannon in the first half as he and Ricardo Pepi, Jesus Ferreira and Picault were causing a lot of issues for the Union defense.

It was hard to tell on the angle of that shot but it was Picault that put away the chance. It was this of ball movement that we have learned to love from a Luchi-coached squad.

But on the flip side of all this is the lack of speed on the back line. I love what Matt Hedges, Reto Ziegler and Bressan bring to the table as a group but a team with a lot of pace and ability to get in behind a defense will absolutely shred this group if they aren’t careful.

Cobra is already a monster up top

Ondrasek didn’t start this game but he was a monster in the second half scoring two goals.

This is the kind of form you want out of your top striker going into the new season. So far Cobra has found a way to rack up plenty of good chances this preseason and look rather comfortably doing so. The MLS season is a long haul but if he can keep this kind of pace up, we could finally see someone crack the 15 goal mark here with FC Dallas.

Santos is the real deal in the midfield

I think one thing was very clear, okay maybe two things, but Thiago Santos may very well be the best signing this club has made in a long while. I know it is early to say that but I absolutely love his ability to lock down an attacker and win the ball. He also does a great job linking the defensive group with the attacking group.

Today, he was everywhere in space and his partnership with John Nelson in the first half wasn’t too bad either.

The other thing that may be clear to me is that Santos may be our team leader in yellow cards this year. He didn’t pick one up today from what I saw but we know how MLS refs are these days about aggressive defending players like this. As long as he doesn’t pick up enough over time to get those yellow card accumulation suspensions, he’ll be fine. But it is something worth watching out for here as he gets adjusted to a new league.