FC Dallas began the challenging run of five road games from the next six with a collapse in Southern California.
There were a pair of surprises in Luchi Gonzalez’s team selection as Ema Twumasi and Edwin Cerrillo were thrust into the lineup at the expense of Jader Obrian and Facundo Quignon. Bryan Acosta had been listed as out by Major League Soccer, but played with FC Dallas a final time before heading to prepare for Honduras’ Gold Cup Campaign.
Beyond that, the 4-4-1-1 remained as FC Dallas sought to consolidate the positives from the past two home games, and turn those into the first road points of the season.
The LA Galaxy were without MLS’ leading goalscorer, Chicharito, but did retain the services of Sebastian Lletget with the midfielder granted a late start with the USMNT camp.
Jimmy Maurer had a few spectacular saves against LA’s other team, and kept that record up in the eighth minute after Kevin Cabral got his head to a Victor Vazquez ball from deep. Maurer did well to not only palm the ball away, but keep the ball in play in a non-threatening area.
Vazquez was provider again in the 17th minute as Dallas conceded a second goal from a corner in a week. The former Toronto midfielder played the dead ball from the FCD left, with Rayan Revoloson easily beating Johnny Nelson to head the ball beyond Maurer’s reach.
The Galaxy doubled the advantage just ten minutes later off the back of a 20-pass sequence starting back at the goalkeeper. The five-time MLS Cup winners brought the ball down the Dallas left with Sebastian Lletget cutting the ball back from the end line for the late run of an unmarked Kevin Cabral and a first time finish low into Maurer’s goal.
Samuel Grandsir rattled Maurer’s crossbar moment later as Dallas struggled to show any resistance towards the LA attack.
FC Dallas struggled to find any energy in the half, frequently sitting players behind the ball and experiencing great difficulty in possession. What had previously worked with the 4-4-1-1 no longer did. Jesus Ferreira and Ricardo Pepi’s link-up play was non-existent with the pair only exchanging six passes in the first half. The early press replaced by a mid block, letting the hosts dictate the tempo. Nkosi Tafari’s passes out of the back minimized without the lateral movement of Facundo Quignon creating openings.
Luchi Gonzalez used the break to modify his lineup changes, with Quignon replacing Bryan Acosta, and Jader Obrian subbing in for Johnny Nelson to force Ryan Hollingshead to slide back to left back.
Despite the changes, it would only take six minutes for Ethan Zubak to add to the Galaxy score,- and in the most baffling of ways. An innocuous ball came over the top with Ryan Hollingshead comfortably in position to clear or shepherd the ball back to Jimmy Maurer. Hollingshead attempted a diving header that only served to slow the ball up and give Zubak a run on goal. All the while, Jimmy Maurer was caught far enough of his line to allow Zubak to round the Dallas stopper, after failing to step further out and attempt to smother the ball.
Dallas’ first hour lacked a single positive, until the team’s first real opportunity to score – albeit from some comedic defending from Greg Vanney’s side. Dallas worked the ball around the edge of the LA area, stumbling through with Jesus Ferreira able to get a shot off after taking a touch around a weak attempt from Jonathan Bond to claim the ball. Nick DePuy held firm to comfortably deny Ferreira and deflect the ball back to the waiting hands of Bond.
Gonzalez felt that Franco Jara replacing Ema Twumasi was the solution to kick start the offense, making that switch in the 65th minute, and it took just five minutes to show some effect as the Argentine got FCD on the board.
Jesus Ferreira spotted the run of Jara, playing a neat ball over the top that Raveloson tried and failed to clear. The former Pachuca man knocked the ball past Bond and slipped the ball into the empty net for only Dallas’ second goal on the road in 2021.
The goal was Jara’s first from open play since October 2020, ending a run of 710 minutes.
Jara had a good chance to turn provider just minutes later, feeding a ball through for Ferreira, but Bond was able to rush out and claim the ball ahead of the Homegrown.
That would be Ferreira’s last involvement, being pulled for Paxton Pomykal while Szabolbcs Schon replaced Ricardo Pepi in the off-striker role. The Hungarian came closest to turning offense with a shot blocked as Los Angeles comfortably held off Dallas to leave the Hoops without a point on the road.
The defeat leaves Dallas still only two points ahead of its franchise-worst 2003 season, and as the only team in the Western Conference yet to claim points on its travels.
Our players’ soccer skills seem to vanish once they go on the road. Repeatedly last night the passes were too short or long, too hard for the receiver to control or put too far away for effective control. Or the receiver’s touch was awful and nobody could seem to be able to dribble. Pepi couldn’t shield the ball and was repeatedly stripped – not just him though, everyone seemed to have the same problem.
Yet these same players don’t seem to struggle with these things at home (at least not to the same degree). It’s obviously a mental/attitude thing but i have no idea how you fix this besides getting rid of the players and finding ones that play more consistently regardless of the location.
oh – and on Ryan playing as the starting LW.
It’s a complete failure of the FO that Ryan is considered the best option for the starting LW. Are you telling me he is better than Pomykal, Schon, Vargas, ElMedkahr or Sealy? If so, then you’ve failed to provide quality at a position of need that has been identified for years now – despite bringing in 3 new players that can all play that position. Pick one and give him a run of games regardless of the results – Ryan is not the long term answer and the team isn’t going anywhere anyway.
Although I agree with you that Ryan isn’t the answer, I think the rationale is twofold. First is that Ryan offers more defensively than those guys. Particularly if you want Jesus to play higher and play with two pivots, the outside mids need to pinch defensively to prevent getting outmanned in midfield (this is a side-effect of losing the single pivot Santos a week before the season). Of the guys you listed, Pomykal is really the only one that does that to any effect. Second, Luchi tends to rely on vets over youth (even though I think it’s misguided). Witness that when Luchi brings on a wing sub he takes off Nelson and moves Ryan back. I personally think Nelson has out-performed Ryan this season, but Luchi clearly prefers Ryan over Nelson.
I also agree that the team isn’t going anywhere, so I say play a younger player at every position that you don’t have a veteran performing well (which right now means basically Maurer). But I’m sure Luchi feels pressure to get results. This is year 3 of his tenure so the team should be rounding into form, not cratering. So he’s probably going to continue to rely on veterans, thinking that he’ll get some consistency from them. Unfortunately, this seasons the veterans as a group have been consistently poor. But it’s hard to blame a guy like Luchi that probably doesn’t feel like he can reboot the whole project in year 3 and also keep his job.
You list a couple of reasons why i think Luchi needs to be fired now. 1) He has not shown the capability to teach, motivate or improve the squad he has, so it is merely wishful thinking that he will somehow discover something that magically improves them for the rest of the season. 2) As long as he remains in charge he will prioritize making the playoffs (and his job security) over the development of the younger players to the detriment of the team long term.
They need to let him go now so they can either bring in a proven manager that might be able to do something with the squad they have now, or promote a caretaker manager who’s given the clear directive to prioritize player development and evaluation for the rest of the season.
Personally, i have nothing against Luchi and he may well develop into a fine manager one day. But he’s lost this team and keeping him on just wastes the rest of the season.
I don’t disagree. In too many games under Luchi FCD has just been flat. Think back to last year against Nashville after the MLS is back tourney. Two home games against an expansion team and FCD wasn’t up for it. This year FCD has been lackluster for long stretches in a lot of games. Last night from about minute 5 until minute 60, FCD just let the Gals play.
Re letting him go and getting a new manager, that all presumes that the Hunts have a clear direction for the senior team. I’m not sure they do. If FCD ends up with the wooden spoon, they probably have to let Luchi go. But short of that, I can see the Hunts bringing Luchi back. I’m sure Luchi is one of the lowest paid managers in MLS (if not the lowest). As long as the senior team performance doesn’t impact the ability of the club to develop and sell players, the Hunts might elect to put up with a senior team in the bottom half of MLS. They have clearly demonstrated over the years that they don’t care about developing life-long fans or providing a good game day experience (as a season ticket holder for 15 years before I moved away from DFW, I can attest).
I honestly believe that the Hunts would like to win MLS Cup, but I’m also convinced they have smartest-guy-in-the-room-itis. They want to win MLS Cup in a way that they think is novel and different from what others have done. And they’re also not dying to win the Cup. They certainly aren’t willing to risk big money to win the Cup. And that will be a problem whether it’s Luchi managing the team or someone else.
Its been a while since the Galaxy have actually used the huge playing surface at the Digity. Part of the problem for Dallas was the way the Galaxy spaced themselves, moved and passed quickly. I hope Dallas will get it together soon.
I’m predicting that Luchi will be axed by the end of the road trip. Not all his fault but wrong coach from the start. How do we continue to miss on a majority of our signings? That issue goes back to the OP days. OP just knew how to get the most out of an average MLS roster. He didn’t in Colorado, Dallas, TJ, and now Orlando City.
In fairness, Papi had more coaching experience than Luchi. He had been an assistant at the pro level for some time. He was also in the US setup for a while. Luchi came straight from the academy. He didn’t have any adult- or pro-coaching experience. He was supposed to be at NTX. As Buzz has noted, the Hunts didn’t put Luchi in a position to succeed.
And some guys just seem to be able to make chicken salad out of chicken sh*t. As much as I hate to admit it, Dom Kinnear did it for years with the orangesicles. Some coaches are able to help the team play as sum greater than the total of its parts. Luchi doesn’t look like he’s one of those guys, but it’s also hard to tell since most coaches (outside of a few savants) take a couple of stops before they really figure things out or hit their stride.