Dallas have taken 43 shots on the year, 37 of which have come from inside the box, which is an absurdly high percentage — the league as a whole is around 65 percent.
The downside of that incredible stat is that the team has just six goals from that effort.
That’s not good.
I asked FC Dallas Head Coach Luchi Gonzalez about this stat and what the team needs to do to get over the hump.
On one hand, the stat reveals that the team is improving in the areas of movement, vision, and personnel in the attacking third, seeking to take advantage of teams and put them under pressure.
“Yeah, we look at those stats as well. And I think there are certain stats in our philosophy and objectives that we value,” Luchi responded. “One of them is shots on target. One of them is shots in the box. We also like to analyze box crosses, so service or passes to shots from inside the box. We believe those are higher chances to score.”
He noted that Jader Obrian is one of those new additions already paying off in converting those chances.
“We have a player like Jader who is pretty positive already scoring some goals, and I think he is going to score quite a few more,” Luchi added.
But on the other hand, the attacking efforts haven’t clicked yet, and the problem is more difficult to diagnose than just bad luck or a formation or good opposition goalkeepers.
“So, yeah, it’s a challenge. Sometimes, it can be a mystery,” Luchi said. “In our analysis, we are creating some solid chances. I still believe we can create more volume, create higher, more numbers of them. I don’t want to just dump a bunch of balls in the box, just close our eyes and cross without numbers in the box. Some of the services are getting on the end of one of our players but maybe with a mark or a pressure. They are not having the right time or space to finish the play or finish the touch. We need to have more occupation and more movement and more distractions at the front post, the penalty spot, the back post.”
Clearly, the lack of help from the strikers hasn't helped, with only one goal from Ricardo Pepi and one assist from Franco Jara so far this season.
Luchi recognized that challenge.
“Our 9s haven’t been able to be as efficient as we like and they would like,” he said. “They are doing everything in training to improve that.”
He also added that the absence of Jesus Ferreira hasn’t helped. “Look - we are missing Jesus Ferreira too who is an efficient player. When he gets back in that competition, it’s just going to make us better.”
Ultimately, while the work in practice and integration of new players, like Schon who also promises to help the team generate more opportunities, continues, there are no guarantees in the game of soccer. You have to earn it. You have to do the work. And sometimes, even with a great performance, the ball doesn’t bounce your way.
“It’s an important stat, but it doesn’t guarantee you to win,” Luchi responded. “We got to make plays. We got to be efficient. We got to hold ourselves accountable.”
And ultimately, the head coach expressed his belief that this team is capable of turning the corner and making the improvements to be more dangerous and more effective.
“We’ve got the tools. We’ve got the team to do it,” he said.