Nico Estevez out at FC Dallas

FC Dallas has today announced the departure of Nico Estevez as Head Coach.

“It is always a difficult decision to part ways with your head coach. A great deal of thought and deliberation went into this move as it is still early in the season. We believe a coaching change is in the best interest of the club,” said FC Dallas President Dan Hunt. “I want to thank Nico for everything he has done for the club, including some great playoff memories.”

Estevez was named to his first top flight head coaching role in December 2021, joining from an assistant coaching role with the US Men’s National Team. Estevez had previous MLS experience with another of Gregg Berhalter’s stops in Columbus.

The Valencia native oversaw the biggest year-on-year improvement in franchise history in his first season in charge. FC Dallas finished on 53 points, some 20 points and 16 places higher than in 2021. Another playoff campaign followed in 2023, but the Burn currently sits 27th overall following a point against a Minnesota United team missing twelve players.

Peter Luccin has been appointed as interim coach. The former Paris Saint-Germain midfielder joined FC Dallas ahead of the 2013 season. A torn ACL cut short the Frenchman’s FC Dallas career as the team declined his contract option at the end of 2014.

Luccin began his coaching career in the FC Dallas Academy, taking charge initially with the under-12s in 2016. Hired by then-Academy Director Luchi Gonzalez, Luccin was named to Gonzalez’s first team staff in 2019.

“Peter Luccin has been a part of this club at all levels – a player, an Academy coach and a first team assistant,” said Hunt. “He knows our players and understands the culture of our club, and we appreciate his willingness to step up and lead during this transition.”

The coaching change comes as FC Dallas looks to avoid an unwanted record. Through 16 games, FCD has 14 points, one more than the 2003 and 2012 seasons saw at the same point.


  1. I know he just got an extension and all, but is there any kind of pressure on Zanotta? I mean I’m in the camp of thinking Nico was a problem rather than a solution, but coaching aside the roster is still flawed and thin. The shaky roster construction and handling of the academy kids makes it seem like his seat would be starting to heat up if being competitive is the main goal for the Hunts. But maybe they’re fine with mediocrity as long is it’s profitable.

    1. It should, but that doesn’t mean it is. Ultimately the fact that he’s turned some really good profits sits on his side, and that’s what his reputation was when the Hunts hired him. Logically that’s now two coaches fired on his watch, both in the middle of a coaching cycle on the back of historically bad seasons with massive holes in the roster.

  2. Luccin can improve the team by putting players in the best position to succeed. Scrap the 3 CB formation. This team is built to play 4 in the back. But if they are to win, the FO needs to improve the roster. Where is Paxton’s replacement? The midfield needs help. There are high priced players not performing up to salary. How about a buyout? Los Blancos just had a German #6 retire. Give him a call. Maybe he likes it really hot and dry in the summer…Just an idea…

    1. I agree 100% on every point you made. You saved me the time of typing these observations. Why did it take so long to fire him? The formation never worked and the GA shows this. A good coach’s adapts and is willing to change. Nico is just like his mentor which is bad company to associate with.

    2. The roster is going to be difficult, there aren’t too many contracts up this year that you’d want to drop. That may have a knock-on effect with Paxton since you need to find space long term or a six-month loan to fit in a tight salary range…Or use the buyout on Paxton.

      They would need to convince Kroos to take less than $1.6m since the three DPs make too much to be bought down with TAM. He currently makes about $24m, and Dallas isn’t a destination market.

  3. Any sense that the club will bring anyone at all in the fill the Pomykal spot (or a CB)? Also, you mention that this is coach No. 2 that Zanotta has hired only to see fairly rapidly fired. The Hunts can’t see Zanotta as a success.

  4. Here is what I would love to see:
    -Make the playoffs
    -Have a + goal differential
    -Develop young players again
    Even with the roster as currently constructed, it seems that its possible with a better formation. Am I wrong?

    One of the things I love about the club is rooting for players before they make it big. I love seeing Tessmann in Italy, all the guys on the USMNT, and even Cerillo in LA. I want to see us give very young players time. We don’t have to be a full Academy 11, just a player or two to start and some sub minutes where appropriate.

    1. To play devil’s advocate, is it better to recover the season or miss the playoffs and force Zanotta to be aggressive with trades in the offseason?

      1. I don’t know how to answer your question. But I think the roster is in better shape now than when Luchi got fired. I’m not sure blowing up the roster is the way to go. I’m not convinced it is a roster of dudes. I think there is enough quality to be 8th or 9th in the West.

        I meant that those are my goals for every year. I think they are doable every year in this league. I’ve been a fan for 17 years. I know that there are ups and downs, but it seems that it is the coach’s fault we got this far down.

        I’m not sure Zanotta will build a team out of trades anyway. The only chips FCD can have means bringing young players up that are valuable to other teams. No one wants our older players.

        Thanks for responding. I enjoy the articles and podcast every week.

        1. Thanks for interacting and consuming content.
          I think you’re right about it being a better roster than when Luchi left, my concern is that the defense really got left behind compared the other positional groups. The last couple of years have really been if everything goes well they could finish top 4 but they could also miss the playoffs easily. I’d like to see a roster build that has more depth so you can afford to lose a player and not tank the season.

  5. The way the roster is currently constructed I feel like the 4-4-2 would be the best formation moving forward this year. We’re probably going to lose Llara and Paes after this season though. Our two best performers this season

    1. 4-4-2, 4-4-1-1, 4-2-3-1 – Really any back four where, up top, Musa and Ferreira get to mix with each other as much as possible.

      As an exercise, who on the team naturally benefited from their position in the 3-4-3? I think the only answer is Sam Junqua. I don’t get why Nico insisted on that formation, and he deserved the sacking.

      Also, the Apple TV broadcast was ripping FC Dallas to shreds with their commentary (called us boring, said our possession number were meaningless, criticized the lack of touches to Musa and Ferreira) – and rightfully so.

      1. I’ve thought that Junqua and Farfan should have been switched. Without knowing how Farfan is as a CB, he certainly doesn’t appear to get forward enough, but we have seen Junqua get forward decently and even play wing last year, so feels like he’s much more of a wingback than Farfan, and Farfan is pretty good defensively so feels like he could probably figure out CB with enough time.

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