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What we learned against Sporting Kansas City

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Youngsters carried a Ricaurte-less attack to victory.

MLS: FC Dallas at Sporting Kansas City Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

FC Dallas stepped away victorious from their Saturday scrap with Sporting Kansas City. Despite holding a 2-0 lead in the second half, the result wasn’t certain until the final whistle. Equal parts grit and luck were necessary to walk away with three points, so let’s talk about how the boys did it.

No Ricaurte, no problem

It’s no secret that Andres Ricaurte is responsible for Dallas’ offensive surge. So when Luchi Gonzalez chose to rest him for this game, you had to be a bit concerned that Dallas weren’t going to be able to generate chances. Ah, how quickly we become accustomed to a nice thing like a great #10.

But Dallas didn’t need Ricaurte to score goals. They adapted.

FCD’s key passes and assists vs SKC
MLSsoccer.com

Santiago Mosquera didn’t carry his form over from last Wednesday and fill in for Ricaurte, so FCD went long. They recognized the mismatch in athleticism between their wide players and SKC’s defenders and went all out. Behind the pace of Michael Barrios, Fafa Picault, and Bryan Reynolds, Dallas was able to pull execute on the counter.

Dallas has been trying this for years. Bunker down, have Maynor Figueroa hit a cross-field ball to Barrios and see if he can do anything. But now with Franco Jara, Dallas finally has a striker who is not only in the right place at the right time (Maxi Urruti couldn’t always be trusted for this) and can put away the chances (you know who I’m talking about).

Even without Ricaurte, the Dallas attack is actually functioning systematically. For years it felt like the stars had to align for Dallas to get a goal. Not only did someone have to provide good service, but the striker had to convert—and there were a lot of games where neither of those happened.

Nelson is having a solid season

I’m excited about John Nelson. Not that Ryan Hollingshead hasn’t been an unanticipated star at left back, but getting a solid player from the Super Draft is a nice surprise.

This is more than a nice surprise.

That is confident, nasty stuff from the 22-year old who can add that to his highlight reel this season along with this goal saving block.

Congrats to Reynolds on his new contract, but sign this kid up quick before he blows up. I’m thinking we see him in an FCD jersey for a long time, if nothing else I hope FCD keep him around just as a SKC killer.

Tessman turned up

Bryan Acosta and Thiago Santos did not provide veteran leadership this week. Acosta’s bone-headed red card felt far too predictable and Santos picked up a suspension he didn’t need. Tanner Tessman looked like the most mature player in the midfield. If he turns in a strong performance against Atlanta, he might force out Santos or Acosta. His size, familiarity with the system, and ceiling make him a high-reward player to give minutes to. That being said, there are minutes to go around with FCD playing Atlanta on Wednesday.


  • Will teams adjust to Dallas’ direct play without Ricaurte or can they keep it up?
  • Has your John Nelson jersey been delivered yet or is it still in the mail?
  • What are you midfield power rankings?