That sour taste you might have in your mouth like me today is really five weeks in the making. Sure, FC Dallas picked up a nice win a couple of weeks back against Portland but I think we all know now that may have been more of a right-timing situation due to the Timbers’ heavy schedule load than anything else.
Yeah, this FC Dallas bunch in 2021 may not be that good. But is it time to hit the panic button? No, I know it is tempting but there is still plenty of time in this marathon season to get back to where we expect this team to go.
Still, how did they struggle so badly on Saturday in their 1-0 loss to Minnesota United? Here are some takeaways that I came out of that game with.
The attack still looks lost
Sometimes you really want to credit a young coach for making a formation swap to try something out in a venue that he’s never won in. Still, for Luchi Gonzalez, there are things working against him at the moment that either he will need to figure out quickly, or else this season will truly get away from him in a hurry.
Let’s quickly look at this lineup that started for Dallas on Saturday night:
While I think we’re all not huge fans of the 3-5-2 kind of look, this one was truly more of a 3-4-1-2. Freddy Vargas was pulled out of the lineup (a good move in my mind) in place of an extra defender (a move that Minnesota quickly exposed). The Loons put up a ton of shots in this one as they tried to break down this defense. So in a way, it worked until it did not in the final minutes of the game.
My initial reaction on Saturday in seeing this lineup though was that maybe having Franco Jara lined up next to Jader Obrian would unlock his ability to get inside the penalty box and poach shots and eventually goals. Neither happened despite Andres Ricaurte’s best efforts. Some could be said for Obrian being offside more times than we can count (seven in one half is kind of unheard of these days) but really at the end of the day, Jara just does not fit this system. Well, any of Luchi’s systems.
I was a little surprised that Szabolcs Schön or even Paxton Pomykal didn’t get the start on the wings over Vargas. While I’m normally fine with a defensive setup on the road, this game called for one of those two guys to be involved in this one to help muster something more than a shot from distance.
Must-win games approaching
The next two games are going to be pretty important for Luchi and company as they’ll end May with Real Salt Lake this Saturday, followed by a trip to Colorado before being off for nearly three weeks. We don’t get a ton of long breaks like that in the schedule this year and if the trends continue here, we may have more and more questions for this bunch if we have to go into that long layoff with only a single win under our belts.
For now, I’d expect Luchi to continue to try things out as he has so far this season. Either it is another formation switch on Saturday against RSL or save it for the trip to Colorado. Hell, or both. But aside from a formation switch, I believe he has to begin trying guys like Schon or Pomykal in the starting lineup.
One thing we can hope for and get excited about is a potential return to play for Jesus Ferreira. He’s slowly getting more reps in training and if he could some how make his way back by the end of the is month, that would be a massive boost all around to this squad.
Until then, we just have to hope and trust things improve here. Which isn’t easy, I know.