Another rough week for FC Dallas but your podcast hosts Peter Welpton, Dan Crooke, and Buzz Carrick are gonna talk about it anyway. FCD vs Vancouver and FCD vs LA Galaxy. Neither was much count. So how hot is Luchi’s seat? What about Zanotta? Plus it’s the summer window, who goes, and is anyone coming in? Plus the things in soccer we hate more than any other.
I think part of the reason they moved from the single-six formation is the re-introduction of Jesus after his injury. He’s a single-point ten when he plays in midfield, so you need to pair him with more defensively responsible players. Is Jesus worth breaking the formation? Open for discussion.
Your rant on the 5 sub rule deserves some pushback because of the weakness of your arguments. From what i can tell there were two main reasons you guys were opposed to the rule. 1) the rule gives advantage to the better teams like Seattle who have better bench players. 2) the rule allows coaches who screw up their tactics or personnel decisions at the beginning of a match to rectify their situation through the use of so many subs. I find both of these arguments to be incredibly weak, so i’ll address the first one in this comment and the second one in a followup comment.
In 2020 Seattle was one of the teams that used its subs for the fewest minutes in the league. Only 16 of their players played at least 20% of the available minutes. By comparison, Dallas had 19 players play at least 20% and Dallas was much more representative of the league as a whole. Additionally, Seattle’s top eleven players by minutes played accounted for 79% of their total minutes played. Dallas’ top eleven accounted for only 71%. So Seattle leaned on its starters not its bench to collect points. In fact Seattle’s success over the last few years has not been built on the depth of their bench and Schmetzer really only relies typically on 4-5 guys to supplement his starters. Seattle, like all the recent MLS champions, relies on its starting eleven because the salary cap and designated player rule make it so that teams are incentivized to put their roster value into the top of the roster and basically have replacement level players for the bottom half of the team.
Comparing the 2017 Toronto team and 2018 Toronto team are a great example of this. In 2017, Toronto’s three designated players were able to play consistently throughout the year and miss very little time. During that year their bench was repeatedly lauded as being one of the best in the league, but that was very deceptive since they didn’t really play that many minutes and were not exposed repeatedly without the benefit of the DP’s presence. They were the best team in the league winning the CUp and the Shield. But in 2018, their DPs (and some of their other starters, too, like Vazquez) missed a lot of time and the bench was forced to play a lot more. It was practically the same bench as the year before, but they failed repeatedly and the team didn’t even make the playoffs. Those two seasons point out that success in MLS is driven by your starting 11, not your bench.
So the idea that the 5 sub rule will somehow benefit the better teams in MLS simply has no support in past experience. As a final note, Seattle hasn’t used 5 subs once this year through 13 matches. Its because they’ve had several starters out due to injury and Schmetzer knows he doesn’t have enough quality in his remaining bench to justify using 5 subs.
As for the argument that the five sub rule “bails out” coaches who get their personnel decisions or tactical decisions initially wrong, all I can say is …. Good! Every sport league should promote rules that make games more competitive instead of less competitive. If the five sub rule gives coaches the ability to rectify situations to make their team more competitive in a match then that’s something that should be encouraged not discouraged. As a fan foremost, I want to see competitive matches where the result is in doubt, not a bunch of blowouts.
The five sub rule allows for greater influence by the coach on the outcome of a game which in turn places greater emphasis on the quality of coach that you hire. It gives smaller market teams a relatively inexpensive way to counteract the financial muscle of bigger market teams who can simply afford to pay more money for better quality players. Coaches like Klopp, Tuchel and Nagelsmann all cut their teeth as coaches at lower division/smaller market teams in Germany where they did not have the luxury of top-class players to simply bulldoze their opposition. Those coaches were able to bring success to their teams because of their innovation and analysis of the game. I think the five sub rule will actually help promote more coaching innovation if it becomes the standard rule.
As far as other reasons to support the five sub rule:
1. The players like it. Not only does it protect players from overwork, it also ensures more players get actual playing time instead of just training time. Serious consideration should be given to any rule that has the support of the players of that sport.
2. For a developing/selling team like FC Dallas it increases the opportunity to play young players and evaluate them in live competition settings.
3. Players don’t have to pace themselves for a whole 90 minutes. Certain players can be told to go all out for 60 minutes because the coach is going to bring them off. In return you get more sustained effort/energy from a player because they know they don’t have to save themselves for the full match. Overall, I think the rule lends itself to a higher pace of play which is typically more attractive for fans to watch.