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Big D After Dark: Play the Damn Kids

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Dallas take a short road trip and trounce Austin FC. The kids are alright. Of course, there is much to work on, so Ben, Jose, and Nathan invite you to join the conversation tonight.

MLS: FC Dallas at Austin FC Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

On a warm Sunday evening, FC Dallas rolled down the interstate to Austin FC’s new digs and promptly showcased their stellar youth academy prowess.

Ricardo Pepi and Jesus Ferreira had the team rolling early in the first half, jumping out to a 4-1 lead behind braces from each. Jader Obrian added a “better safe than sorry” insurance goal as well.

All in all, this was a game where the youth carried the day as FC Dallas continues to endure an injury-plagued season that tests the roster’s depth and tactical acumen of Head Coach Luchi Gonzalez.

In other words, we have much to talk about tonight on our live soccer show at 9 PM Central on Facebook and Youtube. Join us and share in the conversation as we discuss Pepi’s call up to the USMNT, All-Star week action (snore), and Dallas’ win over Austin.

Seeking That Balance

One mystery that troubles FC Dallas fans is the balance between defense and offense. In the past couple of years, the defense offered much stability even when the attacking third action looked lackluster and out of ideas. This year, the offense has roared to life (though it still has room to grow), and the back line has looked shambolic.

Most of that is due to injuries. Centerbacks Matt Hedges, Jose Martinez, and Bressan, all veterans, have missed action due to significant injuries. John Nelson is shut down for the year. Justin Che is working himself back into fitness. This has placed pressure on young Nkosi Burgess to carry the load, and the kid has done admirably in that role and likely locked down a starting spot for the foreseeable future.

Who partners with him? Will we see the defense get healthy before the end of this season is done?

If there was a downside against Austin FC, FC Dallas gave up three goals, two of which were disappointing mistakes due to mental and fitness issues. They will need to be far better in the future.

Play the Kids; Win Games

FC Dallas isn’t in the playoff picture yet, but they can see it just up the road if they can continue to gut out some performances. The veterans have mostly not been great for this team, but the kids have come through. It’s a fascinating thing because most MLS coaches interested in giving opportunities to homegrowns still preach balance. Veterans bring stability and poise in tough moments.

But the vets for FC Dallas have underperformed.

On our show last week, the After Dark crew rated the recent signings for FC Dallas on whether or not they were a bust or someone worth keeping. Of the recent signings, Quignon and Jader Obrian received interest for long-term stays with the squad. Obrian hasn’t been tearing up the league, but it’s good to have a speedy guy off the bench. It’s clear he is still adjusting to the physicality of the league, while Quignon has brought much stability to the midfield.

But in the end, the youth are the stars of this team. Ricardo Pepi is an assassin in front of goal and was unlucky not to get a delicious hat trick off of a backheel shot. Jesus Ferreira has regained the form we hoped to see at the beginning of the season before injury set him back and menaces opposing teams. Schon dishes up assists like jalapeño kolaches at the local Korean-run donut shop. Against Austin, Edwin Cerrillo showed some moxy to get in the heads of the opposing team, and Brandon Servania is… well, he’s back.

Who do you bench? Does a veteran on this team bring something these youth are not doing? At this point, I don’t think so.

The playoff picture runs through the legs of the youth movement in Frisco.

They’re old enough to drive, so let them drive, coach.

Links to the Live Show

Catch us tonight in the following places at 9 PM CST. We’ll take your comments and questions live.