By the end of this week, FC Dallas will have played two road games: a 0-3 loss to Nashville and a Saturday game against Real Salt Lake.
While MLS’s season is beginning to wind down, FC Dallas is looking to ramp up and find momentum in the final stretch of the season.
Finding Successful Results
In FC Dallas’ last 6 games, they have 1 win, 2 draws, and 3 losses. This run of form was preceded by a 3 game winning streak that suggested FC Dallas was finally clicking together, though the recent results suggest otherwise.
While the result may have not been in Dallas’ favor, Head-Coach Luchi Gonzalez believes that his team has improved their soccer fundamentals in the recent stretch of games but small moments are costing them points.
“I feel like we’ve progressed in our football,” Luchi Gonzalez told the media Thursday afternoon. “I think we’ve shown statistically at Houston and Nashville [that] we can have volume, we create crosses, we create shots, we have more possession, we’re pressing better but there’s moments in a game, in a transition, we concede or we lose a duel in the box or we don’t put away our chances.”
In many ways, soccer is all about winning the small battles: winning 1-v-1 matchups, beating your marking, playing a well-weighted ball into a running attacking, having solid and consistent-defensive concentration for the full game.
Luchi Gonzalez has not been afraid to experiment with his lineup and tactically during the 2020 season which he does deserve credit having tried and finding success throughout the season.
As the season winds down and the possibility of a points-per-game average being used as the determining metric in the standings, FC Dallas will want to gather as many points as they can to increase their PPG average, secure a playoff berth, and possible home field advantage.
Variable Flux of Players
With the condensed schedule that MLS teams have been subjected to, it goes without surprise that teams will suffer injuries and FC Dallas hasn’t been left unscathed.
Valuable players have been sidelined which has forced Luchi Gonzalez and his team to adapt. The additions of players like Andres Ricuarte and Franco Jara have given Gonzalez different pieces to use within his team, leading to increased rotation and experimentation.
The addition of players mid-season leave fans wondering how the new additions will impact the team.
Jara has quickly climbed to being FC Dallas’ leading goalscorer with 5 goals through 15 games. Ricuarte has been a creative force that was missed since the days of Mauro Diaz.
“He’s making a lot of good recovery runs” Luchi Gonzalez said while praising his creative midfielder. “You see him running for the team and sacrificing so he’s been an amazing addition. We have to keep working with him and helping him to get the assist, to get the pass past the last line, get his next goal but it’s a work in progress.”
In true 2020 fashion though, helping integrate these players off the field has been more of a challenge due to the pandemic and locker-room leaders and such as Jimmy Maurer have seen it as a challenge.
“The little things like our team bar-b-ques and team get together, we just can’t do them right now because of the safety protocols,” goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer said of team bonding events. “It’s a challenge to integrate everyone: new players old player. Though we’re trying to do more things within the locker-room while following the protocols. ”
As FC Dallas begins to play, what can possibly be, the last 5 regular season matches of the the 2020 season, there are plenty of off-the-field scenarios still impacting the team from the pandemic, injuries, and results.