The 2020 MLS Season has fallen upon DFW as FC Dallas conducted its first training in year-two of the Luchi Gonzalez era. The 2020 season will feature new and old faces after some departures such as Dominique Badji and Jacori Hayes. While there hasn’t been a full week of training, Gonzalez already has his eye on the season.
Last season, Gonzalez laid the tactical foundation of how he wants his team to play under his reign. Over the course of the 2019 season, the term “Luchi-Ball” was used to describe his game plan that emphasized not only having ball possession but making the possession meaningful. With the foundation having been laid, the expectations of the players and staff have risen.
“There are expectations of them [the players] to be open and to change and to adopt newer things that are adding to the foundation that we have built,” Coach Gonzalez told the media. “We worked really hard to build a foundation of our game concepts and now its sprinkling and adding ingredients and little things that we think will make a big difference in the postseason.”
Some of the “added ingredients” are likely to come in the form of new players who will complete Luchi Gonzalez’s tactical vision.
Fafa Picault has the skill set to serve as a complement to Michael Barrios on the left-wing while giving players like Santiago Mosquera some competition. Thiago Santos has the experience and pedigree to anchor down the midfield allowing Bryan Acosta to return to his eight-role and Argentine striker Franco Jara will look to be the impact striker that will allow FC Dallas to make a deep run in the playoffs.
With these “added ingredients” comes fine-tuning that Coach Gonzalez and his staff will make in the preseason and throughout the season to make FC Dallas a consistent and competitive team in the western conference. There aren’t many changes that need to be made as the foundation has already been laid.
Luchi Gonzalez was pleased with how his team grew throughout 2019 as he saw his players become more comfortable with his style of soccer.
“There were a lot of second nature, naturally, automatic behaviors that became conditioned over the season, Coach Gonzalez explained. “I think we’re starting ahead with a good foundation but there are some clear areas that we want to improve that we can take the foundation to another level and win more games.”
If the MLS Players Association and MLS can come to a deal before the first ball is kicked, FC Dallas will have its earliest start to an MLS season with their first game kicking off on February 29th at Toyota Stadium against the Philadelphia Union. How does this early start impact the club’s preparations?
“It’s about a six-week preseason and I think MLS before was eight weeks, but I think six weeks is perfect,” Luchi Gonzalez stated. “I don’t need more or less. We got some MLS games in there, some inter-squads, some travel.”
“With Dallas, we’re pretty lucky with the weather here,” Gonzalez continues. “Look at our field and its January. I’m not sure fields all over the league are looking like this so we’re lucky to have this facility. I think that we have a good schedule and I look forward to it challenging the boys and that we’re ready for game one against Philly.”
Luchi Gonzalez and his players are all ready to start 2020 while having one of the youngest teams, young coach, and new impactful players. FC Dallas is looking to pick up right where the 2019 season ended and continue to build upon the foundation that has been laid.