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What we learned against Atlanta United FC

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The kids couldn’t get the result and that’s fine

MLS: FC Dallas at Atlanta United FC Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

FC Dallas saw their three game win streak snapped against Atlanta United. Dallas struggled to get looks on goal and circumvent Atlanta’s press. It was ultimately a Matt Hedges handball that gave Atlanta the penalty they needed to secure the result. While a loss on the road, especially against a struggling Atlanta, isn’t ideal—Dallas are going to continue to look forward with Orlando City coming up this weekend.

Can we win without Andres Ricuarte? Yes, but not with Jesus Ferreira at the 9

It takes more than Ricaurte to carry Dallas’ attack. Especially now that teams are planning around him. Atlanta limited his touches near the top of the box and minimized his impact on the game.

Ricaurte’s passing chart
MLSsoccer.com

We can expect that from now on. Word is out around the league that Ricaurte has got the goods. That’s going to make it tough for Dallas to play the way they want, but that doesn’t mean they can’t find success by playing direct.

That’s largely what Dallas did last night. Michael Barrios and Fafa Picault were fed the ball on the wings and were asked to do the rest themselves. Picault was a non-factor and Barrios hit the end line again and again with nothing to show for it. He’s not always a great crosser and some of his attempts last night were lacking, but the bigger problem is that there wasn’t a target striker to compete in the box.

Franco Jara is that player, Zdenek Ondrasek was that player, Ricardo Pepi will probably be that player, but Jesus Ferreira is not and will not be. Trying to play directly with Ferreira at the #9 was a recipe for disaster. His creative inclinations draw him out of the box too often to make him the right player for that set up.

Nevertheless, Jara has to rest and Kobra is gone, so someone has to start up top. Does Pepi take those minutes up top—pushing Ferreira further into the fringes of the team?

Brandon Servania and Tanner Tessman are not Kellyn Acosta and Victor Ulloa as much as I want them to be

We’ve got two young midfielders that both look like future national teamers, a well dressed coach from the youth program, a South American 10 that’s killing it so far. What year is it?

As much as I want to look back and try to recreate the Oscar Pareja years, that’s not a good idea for a few reasons. First, Servania and Tessman are very different players than Kellyn and Victor and it would be a disservice to either of them to say that Servania is a typical box to box and Tessman is a #6.

With the game against Pareja’s Orlando City this weekend, the comparisons are going to fly. Don’t fall for it! Accept the impermanence of sports spectatorship!

I’ve hopped on the Bryan Reynolds hype train

I’ve been patiently waiting to praise onto Bryan Reynolds and declare him legit, but I think this game convinced me it’s time. Ryan Hollingshead hasn’t been playing RB regularly, nevertheless you expect him to contribute more to the attack than he did. Once Reynolds was subbed on, the absence of his creativity, pace, and confidence were apparent.

I hope that he can learn to combine Barrios better. Maybe we could institute a strict Barrios can’t cross rule or something like that. The thought of Reynolds arriving late making a run inside the left back makes me giddy to see Reynolds continue to get minutes.


  • What’s your striker depth chart? When and where should we use Jesus?
  • Looking back on the Pareja years, what do you miss the most?
  • How can Reynolds get more involved in the attack?