FCD falls to Cade Cowell-inspired Quakes

FC Dallas made its first regular season trip to the west coast in almost two years to take on the San Jose Earthquakes. Matias Almeyda’s side were fresh off the back of a troubling 2-1 defeat in Houston, while the emphasis in Dallas was improving on last year’s dismal away record of only nine points from ten games.

Luchi Gonzalez opted for a 3-4-3, much like the opening day draw with Colorado. There was one change with Tanner Tessmann coming in for Andres Ricaurte, as Buzz had spoken about during the week.

“The game is about moments. So, capitalizing on mistakes I thought we pressed really well, the first 10 minutes to tough situations, We created chances we didn’t put them away.”

Luchi Gonzalez’s thoughts on the early moments in the game.

A lot was made of how FC Dallas would deal with the high press in San Jose’s man-marking system, but it was the visitors pushing into the Quakes’ box with a press of their own in the opening seconds. Firstly with Franco Jara pressured J.T. Marcinkowski into coughing up the ball and, but the San Jose keeper was able to push Jader Obrian’s follow-up effort out of play. Bressan’s looping header off the resulting corner hit the crossbar.

Obrian forced a similar mistake from Oswaldo Alanis 90 seconds later but could only find a defender when looking to play in Jara, while the shot looked a better option.

Dallas weren’t the only ones forging chances out of nothing in the opening stages as San Jose won a corner from a deflection off of Ryan Hollingshead close to 20 yards out on FCD’s right side. Eduardo “Chofis” Lopez floated a corner deep to the edge of the area that his fellow former Chiva, Alanis, powered goalwards forcing a stop on the line by Jose Martinez.

The hosts should have had the lead in the 19th minute. Tim Ford awarded his third penalty against FC Dallas in his third time officiating the Hoops. Jader Obrian rushed in and caught Cristian Espinoza while Tanner Tessman stood up the San Jose number 10. Obrian saw a yellow card, and Espinoza saw Jimmy Maurer produce a save on his low spot kick.

Dallas gladly ceded possession to the hosts, with San Jose not able to force much. Dallas may have started to rue some poor decision making in those early moments.

Death, taxes, and Ford pointing to the spot. The Quakes got a second chance from 12 yards shortly after the 30 minute mark as a wild shot from Eric Remedi clipped Tanner Tessmann’s hand. After a long look at the freeze frame, Tessmann became the third Dallas name in the book with Obrian and Bryan Acosta. Alanis did not make the mistake Espinoza had before, tucking the ball neatly to Maurer’s left.

If a shot going over brushing off Tessmann’s hand was unlucky, Luchi Gonzalez may have been wondering who he wronged moments later. Freddy Vargas played a deft chipped pass into the feet of Jader Obrian on the edge of the Earthquakes’ box. The Colombian fed Ryan Hollingshead out wide on the right. The full back cut inside Florian Jungwirth and on to his left foot, sliding the ball past Marcinkowski only to see Carlos Fierro slide into block the ball on the line.

Despite starting the game with a lot of gusto, Dallas couldn’t say the same of the second half with passes missing their mark early on. After seeing a 49th minute corner cleared, the team failed to track back as Cade Cowell pushed the ball down field towards Espinoza. Johnny Nelson misread the pass leaving Espinoza with a simple chip over Jimmy Maurer to double the lead.

“It was a gift. A gift a goal and a really important moment for us to change the momentum. So we have to learn that lesson. We have to be flawless and perfect. How we deal with transitions, recovery runs, and especially in our own attacks or on certain pieces going forward.”

Luchi Gonzalez on San Jose’s second goal.

If it was a game of individual moments, San Jose’s third goal produce both moments of brilliance and utter regret.

Bressan had seemingly headed a long ball out of the San Jose defense towards the touch line in the 59th minute. Carlos Fierro looked over his shoulder, noticing Matt Hedges and Jose Martinez slowing down as the ball looked to be heading out for a thrown with Cade Cowell moving into the gap behind Bressan with his fellow center backs failing to pick up the run. Fierro kept the ball in play, feeding Cowell down the right side of the Dallas box. The 17-year-old cut inside Martinez and dummied Hedges before slotting the ball under Maurer, with the Dallas keeper sustaining an injury for his efforts.

Coach Gonzalez immediately pulled Hedges and Tessmann for Paxton Pomykal and Andres Ricaurte. Phelipe replaced Maurer, who held his arm awkwardly on the way to the bench in what Coach Gonzalez described as feeling ‘something in his shoulder’.

The changes moved FCD back into the more familiar 4-3-3 with Bryan Acosta the holding midfielder and the two substitutes as dual 8s.

Without seeing enough of a spark, Gonzalez went back to the bench in the 74th minute. Ricardo Pepi and Eddie Munjoma replaced Franco Jara and Johnny Nelson, adding pace to try and break down the San Jose pressing game.

Four minutes later FC Dallas finally began to play. Bryan Acosta and Ryan Hollingshead combined to bring the ball out of the back. Hollingshead played a through ball for Ricardo Pepi. The young striker benefited from a kind bounce off a Quakes defender that placed the ball at the feet of Andres Ricaurte at the top of the box. Ricaurte saw his shot saved, but Pepi followed up to put Dallas on the scoreboard.

The Video Assistant Referee came into play for a second time in the 89th minute, with FC Dallas the beneficiary this time. Chris Wondolowski chased down Jose Martinez and caught the Spaniard clumsily up the back of the leg. Ford originally raised a yellow card, but sent off MLS’ all-time leading scorer on review.

Dallas tried to create something, with Ryan Hollingshead, Freddy Vargas, and Paxton Pomykal all trying to play passes into the San Jose box in injury time, but each of those efforts could only find a blue shirt as Dallas remains on one point from the opening pair of games.

“They’re as important as ever. Obviously, we have to capitalize. We didn’t get full points last week, we just dropped the game now away, so we have to have to compensate. Have an added motivation. I’m excited about that new fan section next to us. It’s amazing having their energy. We need them next week against Portland.”

Luchi Gonzalez on the added importance of the next two games at home.


  1. Different players same results for the last three seasons . We do not have the players to run a 3 man back line. Not enough depth at CB , Ryan is the only wingback on the roster, and lack of communication from the midfield. In MLS I think you’re lucky if you have 2 solid CB’s that are comfortable with the ball at their feet. This team needs at least 5 for it to be their go to formation. Not sure what to think of this performance. The first 10 minutes looked good but 80+ minutes of the same play I’ve seen for 3 seasons. Not enough combinations or crosses into the box and a complete lack of quality in front of the goal. I can see every team playing a mid to low block for the rest of the season and daring us to try and break them down.

  2. Are we sure Luchi is the right guy? He does too much tinkering with formations for my liking. You’re not playing Fifa. Stick to something so your guys can get comfortable first.

  3. FCD has the personnel to play a 3-4-3, although they don’t necessarily have depth if one of the 3 main CBs goes down. Eddie Munjoma could the better wingback as he naturally goes forward. He’s got some great pace. I hope to see him more this season. Jara isn’t a good fit for a 3-4-3 because he simply isn’t very mobile and his combination play hasn’t been sharp. I’ve been very disappointed with Vargas over the two games so far. Jader has been okay. I’d rather have 1 really good DP than either Acosta or Jara. Acosta is not a bad player, he’s probably slightly better than what FCD has in that position, but he’s not hugely important to whether we win or lose. Is there a way forward without Ricaurte on the field? I don’t see one. Maybe if/when PomyKal returns to 100%. Would firing Luchi fix these issues? Not sure who you’d replace him with. One must recognize that this team is not built for MLS domination. But it is definitely underperforming its ability right now.

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