Takeaways from a tough FCD win over the Rapids

After a forgettable draw in Chicago, Dallas got back to winning ways with a rough and ready 3-1 result over Colorado on Saturday night.

Paul Arriola was on the bench after missing the Chicago game with a groin injury, and Paxton Pomykal started despite something Buzz and I saw in practice (You’ll have to listen to the podcast if you want to know what!).

Michael Barrios set up Diego Rubio for Colorado in a dominant first half for the Rapids. Brandon Servania brought Dallas level with a worldie in first half stoppage time, before a Jesus Ferreira brace gave Dallas the points to finish the day in 4th.

A Little Too Far-fan

Marco Farfan has been a fantastic signing for FC Dallas. The game against Colorado posed his toughest challenge, against a Michael Barrios that the Rapids have pinned their hopes on and someone who wants to prove FCD wrong for giving him his marching orders.

Farfan got caught upfield chasing a loose ball, giving Colorado enough time to play to their own left and switch play for Barrios to assist the opening goal.

Barrios did start to lose a step here, his decision making seemed to be exposed, but Robin Fraser has him back to his old self which is great to see any other week.

My gut feeling was that Farfan struggled, but watching the first half back he coped really well with the ball over the top to Barrios, forcing him to try and find the game further in-field at times.

This is a familiar run and shot, and a great illustration that he only needs one step on you to open that gap.

Inverting the Triangle

Colorado’s 3-4-3 posed a couple of issues that FC Dallas simply didn’t expect. With the wingers playing extra wide and still cutting inside, Paxton Pomykal and Brandon Servania were forced into almost a back six as the two center mids attempted to plug the growing half-spaces between the center backs and full backs. This left precious little for the midfield, one of the team’s real strong points in 2022

FC Dallas’ first half average positions v Colorado

Nico Estevez‘s main half time adjustment was to move Edwin Cerrillo back between the center backs while defending to counter a 3-4-3 with a 3-4-3. This allowed the two 8s some more freedom, even if it looks like only Brandon Servania benefited when you look at the half time and full time average position charts.

A dedicated second half chart (I wish that was a thing!) would show Cerrillo another five yards deep, and Alan Velasco/Jesus Ferreira each 10 yards ahead of their overall positions as FC Dallas released out of that compact shape.

FC Dallas’ average positions v Colorado

It’s in the Family

Motivation comes in many forms, and for Brandon Servania it was some good old fashioned sibling rivalry.

Brandon’s younger brother and briefly member of the FCD Academy, Jaden Servania, scored in North Carolina FC’s US Open Cup loss to RGV Toros. The goal made number six on the SportsCenter Top Ten.

“I don’t know as far as SportsCenter, but it was awesome to see him score that goal. Then in the family group chat, he was just talking trash. I had to tell him I was gonna get one too.”

Brandon Servania talks about scoring a couple of days after his brother Jaden

Well Brandon did make it to the SC Top Ten and funnily enough equaled Jaden’s number six spot from midweek.

A Game of Moments

It wasn’t pretty and the score line didn’t necessarily tell the full story. Colorado were dominant in the first half, and it took a great individual moment to pull the momentum away from the Rapids before half time.

Jose Martinez didn’t have his best game defensively, but when required he came up big in a couple of ways for Nico Estevez.

We’ll look over a single sequence as Colorado made its last stand according to Gameflow:

Martinez intercepts a ball meant for Lalas Abubakar, is shown giving marking instructions on the resulting corner. He heads the corner away, again relays instructions, supports Farfan winning a defensive header, reacts first to not only stop a shot, but also recover for the loose ball that Jesus Ferreira eventually clears.

These moments are what Nico is looking for, and are what win games. Moments that show experience through an ability to get his message across, tactical discipline, and staying calm under pressure. At times last year, you would have seen a player go to ground and give up a penalty.

Looking Ahead

FCD travels to play New York Red Bulls next Saturday in a 6pm kick-off that will be shown on TXA21 and the FC Dallas Network.

NYRB have an odd record, winning all three of their away games, yet only earning a single point from three games at Red Bull Arena.

Here’s hoping for a repeat of this moment:

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