Changes to the game plan allowed Jesus Ferreira to focus more on his role as a striker. A first half hat-trick and second half assist were exactly what he needed after a quiet first few games.
Ferreira capitalizing on space meant Alan Velasco and Paul Arriola had the freedom to experiment up top. It’s clear the team had full confidence in Velasco in his first start with the team. After allowing him to create his own chances on the left side, he snagged an early assist. The team even trusted him with a free-kick near goal in the 6th minute.
After Alan Velasco’s debut against Nashville SC, he moved right into the starting lineup. A matchup on the left side against a struggling Josecarlos Van Rankin seemed like the perfect way to let him show off his skills. Arriola and Velasco’s dominance early helped Ferreira find space, as goals came pouring in.
Up and down the field, everyone was solid in their roles. Matt Hedges held his position well throughout the game, he looks as comfortable as ever. The midfield did well to stop Portland in transition. Even Maarten Paes looked sharp when tested, making two incredible saves in the second half.
It was in the second half, near the 60th minute, that Dallas took their foot off the gas allowing an easy goal. Even though communication looks good all around, the team will need to work on their focus for a full 90 minutes.
FC Dallas has become a program famous for its player development. I wholly believe the journey to becoming a better team lies in being able to both develop players and use them. On this path comes Estévez, who’s system aligns with that of the U.S. National Team.
Developing American soccer players who know a system similar to that of their national team is a massive plus. Estévez has his own unique style, but not without a bigger purpose.
Arriola and Ferreira will be joining the national team for the next few weeks, in a crucial battle for World Cup Qualification. There, they’ll continue to work side-by-side, for a team that’s riddled with injuries.
To me, the chemistry between the two of them has improved their level of play. Along with Velasco, the three of them will be able to get creative up top. The first goal, a pass from Velasco that Arriola let go through his legs for Ferreira to finish, perfectly sums up what this trio is capable of.
This game also built on an aspect we saw during the game last week against Nashville. If Dallas is one their A-game, they can dominate the tempo, and from there deplete the other team.