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What we learned against the Houston Dynamo

Is the team becoming overly reliant on imports?

MLS: Houston Dynamo at FC Dallas Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

In the 2-1 victory over the Houston Dynamo, we saw signs of life from the FC Dallas attack for the first time in weeks. A spectacular volley from Andres Ricaurte and another smooth finish from Franco Jara gave Dallas the win and gave fans the hope they needed to look forward to the rest of the season.


With news that Zdenek Ondrasek has officially joined Viktoria Plzeň, we have to thank one of FCD’s greatest cameo players of all time. It took less than a year and a half and twenty-two appearances for him to win us over. Although “play the kids” remains the motto, Luchi Gonzalez’ has also preached a warrior mentality that perhaps no player better embodied. A strange transfer from the start, Ondrasek grinded his way into the lineup and provided heart and goals when Dallas needed them most.

While adding Jara made it clear that he wasn’t in FC Dallas’ long-term plans, his departure is nevertheless bittersweet. If his heart is set on representing his country, then he’s made the right decision for himself by returning to the Czech Republic for a better shot at minutes.

With one less body on the depth chart, the team is going to rely on Ricardo Pepi for production. Before it felt like any minutes he recorded were important investments in the development of a young player, he’s now being asked to assume the role of meaningful substitution or a second striker. Can Pepi fill those shoes or will Jesus Ferreira find himself up top once again?

Getting kids in the midfield

Ricaurte is going to start every game from here on out. At this point, he’s as certain a fixture in this team as Thiago. We’re expecting Bryan Acosta back in the next couple games which will trigger a need for new midfield tactics. Frankly, I think Acosta is a cut above any of the kids including Brandon Servania and Tanner Tessman. If he’s healthy, I want him starting. I feel a little weird starting a 26-year old Acosta, 28-year old Ricaurte, and 31-year old Santos—but damn that’s a good midfield.

With five subs per game, Servania and Tessman can still stake out minutes and contribute this season. There are games where Acosta isn’t focused and loses the ball too often, takes too many long shots, and doesn’t factor the way that he needs to as a box to box midfield. Servania can play the box to box role just as well as Acosta on his best days, but we haven’t seen him hit that form yet. Additionally, Tessman can provide solid defensive support alongside Thiago.

Obviously Ricaurte is great for the attack, but adding another indispensable, not homegrown, midfielder is a little antithetical to FCD’s ethos. However, maybe his arrival can be a good thing for the kids in the midfield by making them critical substitutes with clear-cut roles.

Left wingers not named Santiago Mosquera

It’s clear that Santi doesn’t have it. He didn’t touch the ball from the 8th minute to the 23rd minute in the first half.

FCD’s passing chart from the 8th to the 23rd minute

During that period the team didn’t shoot once or make a single successful pass in the box. That’s what happens when Santi disappears. He doesn’t just not make an impact, he sucks the efficacy from the attack.

Once Fafa Picault heals up, this is going to be an entirely new attack. Dante Sealy could also make a move for some minutes. He looks to be an out and out winger with speed and flair—similar to Picault, but twelve years his junior. You could also see Ferreira pop up there. He could give unorganized back lines fits with his positional versatility across the attack. He could drop behind Jara or switch wings with Barrios. That’s to say, this result has me feeling pretty good about our attack. Let’s hope we can carry it into the game against the Rapids.

  • Can Pepi fill Kobra’s shoes?
  • Are we drifting from “play the kids?”
  • Who is your preferred left wing?