Tonight at 9 PM CST/10 PM EST, Big D After Dark, our official video podcast, is live on Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter to talk about a tough week at home for FC Dallas. Home cooking is supposed to be the best, but mistakes continue to derail this team’s goals and momentum. They are now winless in eight games. In particular, Austin’s late equalizer earned Texas’ newest team their first Copa Tejas.
Here are a few of the topics we will discuss tonight.
Nico’s Growing Pains
Any first year head coach has adjustments to make in Major League Soccer - the travel, the rigor, the parity, the wild results, the byzantine rules.
Head Coach Nico Estevez is learning on the job that Major League Soccer is punishing.
In his post-game comments after the ultimately disappointing home result draw against Austin FC, Nico sounded his optimism:
Estevez: We created chances in this one. It’s amazing we didn’t score two or three today. I think the overall game, we did exactly what we planned. And we delivered. #FCDallas— Big D Soccer (@BigDSoccer) July 17, 2022
Of course, I get it. I like a coach who stays positive, trumpeting data points that can keep a roster in decent spirits, but the team did not deliver on Saturday. Sure, in the first half despite a shaky start, FC Dallas appeared to be in control, but in the second half, the team wilted in the heat, conceding possession and chances. Jesus Ferreira and Alan Velasco missed opportunities to put the game away. The mistakes began to pile up, and Austin knew they just needed to be patient and let the ball bounce their way.
And it did.
When mistakes and poor defending become a theme for a squad, it’s no longer just about the bad luck of soccer. It’s not necessarily about heart and effort. We know this team plays its heart out. Rather, it comes down to tactics or personnel. (Or both.)
FC Dallas is lacking something, and these recent results, while maybe not a five-alarm fire, reinforce the need for the front office to do something to bolster the team’s depth and upgrade the talent. Or for Nico to tinker with some options to get more out of this defense.
We spoke about the summer transfer last week in our live show, and our crew loved the idea of a signing like Carlos Gruezo to come in and significantly boost a midfield that is really good but could be better. Or a veteran center-back who can push Jose Martinez down the depth chart. Or even a striker that provides more than Franco Jara can. Right now, the team could use an outside back with quality.
FC Dallas has needs and the cash to bring them in.
Nico is facing his first big test as FC Dallas head coach. How will he respond?
Is the window closing for some players on this roster?
Earlier this season, FC Dallas fans could feel hopeful about the depth in this squad, but as suspensions and injuries piled up, the roster doesn’t look so good. Several players are simply underperforming. Will the front office be planning a roster clear-out sooner rather than later?
Nanu: The attacking outside back arrived with a nice resume and a good bit of experience, but he has done little to merit a spot on this roster. Could the team end his loan early, creating space to go after someone else during the summer transfer window?
Franco Jara: Franco flashed something during the Open Cup, but since then, he looks like a player that doesn’t fit. Are we officially done with his time with FC Dallas? Can he be bought out? Is there someone else interested in his services? Against Austin, Jara seemed to compound Dallas’ problems as they tried to get another goal.
Jader Obrian: Jader’s energy off the bench is helpful on this team, but has the winger done anything of value as of late? Does he stay with the team after the season?
Jose Martinez: The center back has had a decent year in Frisco, but it doesn’t seem like he can handle the Texas heat. (Few can.) Is this his final year with the squad?
Facundo Quignon: The experienced midfielder has had some solid games for the team, but is there another player who might fit what Nico wants out of this team? Quignon still has a propensity to make game-breaking mistakes, which is something Dallas needs less of.
See you tonight as we discuss these topics, North Texas SC’s wild home draw against Houston, and more.