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Luchi’s Choice: Potential Lineups Against RSL

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FC Dallas Head Coach Luchi Gonzalez will have to make some big decisions if his squad is going to get results against Real Salt Lake today.

MLS: FC Dallas at Houston Dynamo Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Whatever way you look at it, FC Dallas needs points this weekend.

Salt Lake City is a tough place to play, at altitude, in Mormon country.

Real Salt Lake may be in a state of flux without a head coach, but they are in a playoff position and have a squad with talent.

Meanwhile, FC Dallas is missing key players due to international call ups and injuries.

Head Coach Luchi Gonzalez reiterated his stance on formations in the most recent media call this week, suggesting that the formation is less important than the idea of how to use the ball.

In other words, FC Dallas has freedom to lineup how they want for the match against RSL, but their focus is to use attack and possess in a certain way. With options limited, what do they do? What will be effective in Salt Lake?

Here are a couple of ideas for how FC Dallas can lineup against Real Salt Lake.

Stay True

The 4-3-3 has been FC Dallas’ bread and butter for success this season, but without Ricardo Pepi, Luchi faces tough choices. Do you slot in Franco Jara, recognizing that the team has rarely won when he starts? Or do you push Jesus Ferreira higher? Who serves as your Pepi stand in?

It’s a tough choice to make, especially as Jara appears to be a consummate professional in practice. The players rave about him. Jesus mentioned in this past week’s call how Jara works so hard in practice, scoring goals in small sided games frequently. It seems a difficult task for Luchi to go to the team’s DP and highest paid player and ask him not to start on the road.

But it’s possible.

Jesus just scored two goals last week. He’s hot. And the way this game is setup, Jara can be the boost of energy to either lock down a result or push for a late equalizer.

Pomykal is getting back from injury, so maybe you don’t start him and use his energy off the bench as well. Obrian scored, and El Medkhar starts on the left to play the Schon role. Ricaurte is given a chance to be an attacking midfielder for once.

Matt Hedges gets the start again next to Tafari, and Justin Che supplants Twumasi.

This could be a winning combination.

Experiment

If Martinez and Hedges are ready to go, Luchi could opt to roll out a 5-3-2, something we have a sense is going to happen.

In this scenario, a Martinez/Hedges/Tafari back line anchors the attack with Jara and Obrian taking striker duties up top. I don’t have much confidence in Jara and Obrian working well together, but it could be enough for a counter attack goal which is all that FC Dallas may need to get a point.

I would prefer a more offensive midfield with Pomykal, Ricaurte, and Servania causing havoc and serving up delicious balls for Jara and Obrian to feast on.

Still, I’m not confident about a 5-3-2. Maybe a bore draw would be a reasonable result, but FC Dallas needs to push for as many results as possible down the stretch. Real Salt Lake will be a tough match, but 3 points is a possibility. Is this the way to go?

What do you think?

Am I missing out on any potential wrinkles? Who would you start?

Frankly, I am hoping Che starts. I have great respect for what Ema Twumasi has done with his starts, but we have seen the limitations of the guy. Maybe Servania gets the nod at right back in some scenario, which Luchi mentioned this week, or something else. Luchi is facing enormous pressure. The team is too. Can they get a result?