Welcome back to the Workhorse of the Week after a long pandemic-induced layoff.
First, how are you? Are you safe? Are you doing what the health professionals say to do like wearing a mask, staying home as much as possible, and being a good neighbor? Please do it. Too many of us have spouses and family members who have serious health complications - getting sick from COVID-19 could mean life or death. Do your part, and I will do my part to care for you.
Second, I don’t think I need to reintroduce the Workhorse series, but this is a simple column and poll where I invite you to vote for the hardest working player from FC Dallas’ recent action. Maybe not the goal scorer. Maybe not the flashy star. Maybe someone who got down and dirty to get the job done. So, read my words, vote below, and share your thoughts.
Two Home Matches, One Point
This was not how the season was supposed to kick back off for FC Dallas.
After getting yanked from the MLS Is Back tournament because of positive tests for COVID-19, FC Dallas looked fortunate to welcome expansion side Nashville SC to Frisco for two home matches. This was supposed to be about as easy as they come, a solid 6 points to get their season going again. And yet, FC Dallas did everything they could to look like they were the expansion side.
I give credit to Nashville SC for coming out in both games clear about what they wanted to do - defend well, stay compact, disrupt FCD, and strike on the counter. They earned their singular goal from both matches and generally had the better of all scoring opportunities. Meanwhile, FC Dallas didn’t look clear or interested in what they were doing. They seemed excited to give their CBs some excellent passing stats. The players looked disconnected, and while they generated a few decent chances, it didn’t ever quite come together.
Now, FC Dallas has to sit with major questions about this campaign. Is this just an issue of time, integrating some new bodies into the play style and getting guys match fit? Is it about a change in team leadership that is needed? Is the coach really communicating and teaching what he wants to have happen? What is going on?
These questions will linger over this team for the coming weeks, as the roster will continue to go through some change.
Luchi, what are you doing?
The 5-3-2 seems to be the siren song for FC Dallas. Oscar Pareja was fascinated with the formation and would try it out on occasion to disastrous effect. Likewise, Coach Luchi Gonzalez seems to have picked up the bug as well. What do these coaches see in this formation? Ideally, by bringing on an extra defender and utilizing attacking fullbacks, you can wreck havoc and stay defensively solid. It may create opportunities to stretch your opponents - but if your defenders can’t defend or end up so far up the field that a turnover leads to a 3-on-2 attack, you have to question it. And if you get outshot by your opponent, you need to head back to the drawing board.
Luchi is a brilliant, awesome guy. He did quite well in his inaugural season at the helm, but along with young players taking next steps, he needs to take the next step too in motivating and coaching up this team. The 5-3-2 looked listless and unimaginative - it didn’t solve any problems for FC Dallas. So, what did Luchi see?
Luckily, he switched back to a more comfortable 4-3-3 in the following match Sunday night, and maybe FC Dallas’ inability to generate a lot in that formation revealed something that he is struggling with. He has a bevy of talented players, maybe one of the more talented rosters FC Dallas has ever assembled, but the pieces don’t all fit together. Figuring out the right lineup is going to take time. No wonder FC Dallas is bringing in a chance creator, someone they desperately need.
Reggie Deserves to Be Heard
Reggie Cannon is a remarkable player, and he deserves an opportunity to head to Europe and develop his skills in a good situation. I’ve been very proud of his clarity and wisdom and passion as he and other players around the league have called for transformation for a more safer, flourishing society where all, especially black neighbors, are safe. Death threats and “but what about”-isms take away from the beauty and strength we gain by listening deeply to those who are hurting and experience injustice. Let’s start by listening, setting aside our own defensiveness, and being open to what we might learn.
Was there someone worthy of your vote?
I don’t know. Jimmy Maurer was better on Sunday night and did enough to secure a point for FC Dallas, but I wasn’t super impressed with him on Wednesday night. I’m not sure any player looked on, though Thiago Santos did a bunch of dirty work this week, fouling at the right time, providing some bite, and looking lively. Maybe he should get a vote? What do you think? Let me know below.
Remember, I am only picking players who went the full 90 in either match.
Cast your vote for the Workhorse of the Week.
This poll is closed