Now that the dust has settled a bit on the latest win, here are some thoughts I jotted down on the night that saw Jesus Ferreria pass his father on the club’s all-time scoring list.
Nico’s in-game adjustments
The first thing I asked Nico Estevez after the game on Saturday was about how his group has really turned into a second half team this season. Estevez explained well as to how they’re able to do that so far here:
“For the second half, it was pretty clear how we had to attack them,” said Estevez. “We had a good start to the second half by creating chances and taking more shots at goal. It was a matter of time. This is why we brought Franco Jara into the match so he could pull defenders and create that space that we were needing. In Jesús’ goal, you can see the perfect example of why we brought Jara into the game. This is something we were missing going forward in the second half. We generated crosses but would not have enough numbers in the box so they would always clear those away.”
Ah yes, Jara. The most expensive super-sub in MLS right now. I know we all rag on him and the club for spending that much to have him on the roster but in a way, he’s starting to show his worth to me both on and off the field. (real quick: off the field, he’s becoming a mentor to Alan Velasco, something that cannot be understated)
As Estevez said, Jara brings a different look to the team when he is on the pitch. The same can be said for Jader Obiran, who is now also turning into a great late-game sub with his speed and ability to frustrate an already tried defense. Dallas brought those guys on late and switch to what looked like a 4-4-1-1 with Ferreira dropping a little deeper into a free role that we saw him in last season.
Champagne Football— FC Dallas :) (@FCDallas) May 8, 2022
Jesús Ferreira scores his 25th MLS goal for FC Dallas, passing his father, David’s, goal-scoring tally. pic.twitter.com/JzHHkib5gD
And it freakin’ worked.
Paxton still showing his importance
The expectations on Paxton Pomykal this season were pretty damn high to say the least. We know he’d be shifted back into a playmaking role in the midfield under Estevez instead of playing on the wings. While he hasn’t gotten a ton of marks on the stat sheet (just two assists so far this season), we are seeing his game take the proper steps to the next level.
A big example of this in my mind is how he was involved in the second goal against Seattle. Thanks to those aforementioned second half adjustments, Pomykal was shifted into a role in the midfield that allowed his passing abilities to be on full display.
First of all, look at that move to beat a defender to start the play, that is something you absolutely love to see, especially in a late-game situation like that. Then the pass to Obrian was picture perfect.
Case and point, Dallas needs Pomykal’s ability to pick up the ball centrally and drive the ball forward more though. It is great to have it in small doses but I’m hopeful that as he continues to click with Velasco and Paul Arriola that we’ll be seeing even more of these types of passes that lead to goals.
Home crowd improvements
I know every seat wasn’t exactly filled for this one but it was on the books, another sellout. The second of the season now and for a club like FC Dallas, that is something. I think the more impressive part is that it came on a weekend with stupidly high temperatures, a playoff home game for the Dallas Stars, a big local festival in Frisco and Mother’s Day weekend. All of that didn’t keep the place from being considered a sellout.
Sure, the drone show and fireworks helped that matter but it was a sellout. They can’t claim too many non-Forth of July games as sellouts in recent years (the covid pandemic is not included in that line of thinking by the way).
I know we pick on the ‘new era’ motto that the club has been marketing to the masses this season but there is something to be said about it. Maybe it has a little something to do with watching a team that has one loss in ten games and is currently on an eight-game unbeaten run. Or maybe it has to do with actual legit marketing efforts to drive butts to the seats for a change. Or...all of the above.
Either way, the stadium improvements are and have to be next. I know the club gets this and understands it. The fact that both Dan and Clark Hunt are more visible at home games this season says a lot to me as to where things could be going. I know the giant shield in the North End stage is a tad hokey to some but it is at least something to occupy that space. From the sounds of things though when you are at the games, the front office is looking to make those proper changes to the East Stand and the North End as soon as they can here. What those changes will ultimately be will go a long way in my book in getting more of these sellouts as a regular thing.
For now, they’re getting there. And I think that is good. Progress is something, more than we’re used to.