The Breakdown: Colorado Rapids at FC Dallas – Sept 16, 2020

Well, that was certainly different.  When one of the lowest-scoring teams in the leagues rips a team for four goals it gets your attention. There’s not a whole lot of negative in this kind of performance.

Let’s break it down…

Lineups and Tactics

A traditional 4-3-3 for FC Dallas with the same XI at last week but a slight tweak in the midfield to a 6-8-10 look.  The main difference being Andres Ricaurte playing higher – at least at the start, we’ll get back to that.

The FC Dallas XI against Colorado Rapids on September 16th – the same shape and personnel as used against Houston Dynamo on Sept 12rh.

Brandon Servania was brought on for Ricaurte in the 63rd minute. Given the tight schedule, this is probably a fitness sub.  Then in the 74th minute, Fafa Picault came on for Michael Barrios. I feel confident Coach Gonzalez wanted to get some minutes for Picault as he returns from injury and Santiago Mosquera was on two goals at that point.

Then in the 83rd minute, FCD made a triple sub and changed to a very defensive 5-4-1. Ricardo Pepi for Franco Jara, Edwin Cerrillo for Thiago Santos, and Bressan for Mosquera.

The FC Dallas 5-4-2 from late in the game against Colorado Rapids, Sept 16, 2020.

Rapids ostensibly in a 4-2-3-1 but they spent so much time wide it looked like a 4-4-1-1, almost.

The Colorado Rapids XI at FC Dallas, Sept 16, 2020.

After going down 3-0, Coach Robin Fraser changed 3 players in the 61st minute: Braian Galván replaced Younes Namli, Nicolás Mezquida replaced Cole Bassett, and Andre Shinyashiki came on for Diego Rubio.

Then Nicolas Benezet replaced Jonathan Lewis in the 65th minutes and Jeremy Kelly replaced Keegan Rosenberry in the 72nd minute.


1-0 FC Dallas goal. 41st minute. Matt Hedges with a great lead pass to Michael Barrios that pulls the center back out of position.  Barrios’ cross is behind everyone, but Kellyn Acosta slips allowing Santiago Mosquera an easy recovery. Quality finish by Santi.

2-0 FC Dallas goal. 49th minute. Franco Jara with a crisp header off a quality corner from Reto Ziegler.

3-0 FC Dallas goal. 57th minute. This one is all Santiago Mosquera. With a quick step he presses and steals the ball, carries into the box, and slide it back post.  That’s a fantastic solo goal by Saint Mo.

3-1 FC Dallas goal. 63rd minute. A poor touch/pass by Ryan Hollingshead in a dangerous spot is quickly recovered and passed centrally to Andre Shinyashiki.  Shinyashiki cuts back beating Thiago Santos and makes a nice finish. Nicolás Mezquida with the assist.

4-1 FC Dallas goal. 78th minute. Another corner for FCD but this one bounces loose. Santiago Mosquera crashes in from side and one-times the ball for the goal.  Good opportunistic heads up play.

El Bueno

Santiago Mosquera is the Man of the Match. 3 is the magic number, so when you score a hat trick you are Man of the Match. 33 touches, 5 shots, 3 on target, 3 goals, and 3 key passes.  75% passing is quite good as well.  And he wasn’t dispossessed.  The biggest difference to the previous game was the number of passes going forward in this one where against Houston it had been all sideways and backward (see 2 charts).  He even played some defense.

What a night for Santi (Mosquera). Obviously, he’s a player that’s had some injuries and things that have not allowed him to be on the field, but he’s always shown support for his teammates, he’s been working really well in training and he’s earned that opportunity. So tonight’s a product of him doing those small details. 

Luchi Gonzalez

This was Tanner Tessmann’s best game of his (admittedly short so far) FCD career. This was his 2nd straight start so his confidence was high and he’s feeling comfortable.  The dynamic movement and range we saw in the Academy and with North Texas were on display. And he’s not afraid to shoot from deep.  A complete linking-8, box-to-box performance.

Tanner Tessmann vs Colorado Rapids, Sept 16, 2020.

Again, I quite liked the in-game tactical adjustment by Luchi.  Rapids were dominating using the wide spaces, so about 20, maybe 25, minutes in Luchi changed from the usual high press to a mid-block.  It worked.  Dallas recovered and started getting back in the game.  Then again FCD shifted to a late-game 4-5-1 in a low block with the 83rd-minute triple-sub.

I think we weathered, definitely, the first 20 minutes. They were creating overloads on the flank. We had to adjust our defensive shapes from a high press, and then into a mid-block. We did it mid-game, which took us a bit to get it right.

Luchi Gonzalez

Matt Hedges passing was again top notch, the long ball in particular to Barrios was really good.  We’ve been talking about his passing for two seasons now as Hedges has really pushed himself in that area doing extra work on it.

Nice header by Franco Jara, the aggressive dive then fade was class. But the most important part was the reaction to the goal, the celebration with Reto Ziegler. If you recall they had a disagreement about the PK a few games back. It’s good to see strides in regard to Jara integrating with his teammates.  He’s fighting and working for the team, that helps.

While Rapids controlled the ball, FCD limited their effective chances. 62% possession for Colorado, that’s amazing on the road against FCD who usually likes to pass the ball around all night. Dallas’s usual 600’ish passes were cut almost in half, down at 362. The Rapids has 22 shots!  But only 5 on target because 59% of the Colorado shots game form outside the box.  Compare that to FCD who only had 15 shots but 7 were on target (basically half) and 67% (two-thirds!) came inside the box. That’s fantastic shooting efficiency and selection. So without the ball, FCD still created more quality opportunities.

Camino del Medio

Andres Ricaurte came back to the pack a little bit but I think it’s mostly because of the mid-block. You can see from his chart most of his activity is in the middle third although there are still passes into the attacking phase as well.  38 touches (much of the game went around him), 86% passing, 1 key pass… and I’m like “meh” because the bar has been set very high. 

All the players are important, we all give each other good competition. We have a key player in the #10 role in Ricaurte. He is important for Barrios and me because he gives us that pass to set us up for success. Anyone who steps up can help in the attack for the team. 

Santiago Mosquera via translator

I don’t mind the game delaying tactics by FC Dallas – Michael Barrios was particularly egregious in this one – but I don’t enjoy it either. It is, however, part of the game. But FCD has a reputation for it now and it’s something they will have to deal with from referees who come in looking for it.  It’s going to make the team disliked in many markets as well. Who knows, maybe being the villains will be fun?

Muy Feo

Thiago Santos was “having a nightmare” He looked tired and static form the first whistle.  6 bad passes in his own half.  I think he needs a game off. *Stares at Edwin Cerrillo*

Kyle Zobeck looked like he may have hurt himself toward the end of the game based on reports of him reaching for the groin or quad area after a goal kick. With Jimmy Maurer still out with the calf problem (he’s getting closer) the new keeper, 21-year-old Phelipe, could be forced into action this weekend. (See this tweet from today’s conference call.)

5-subs is too many. A coach can completely change his team and the game. It minimizes coaching mistakes and player flexibility. It creates for too many specialists and allows situational subbing, for me that’s contrary to the nature of soccer and the need for complete players.  The death of “total football,” if you will. Johan Cruyff must be rolling over in this grave.


Next Game

Phase One has ended and the next three games of Phase Two have been announced.  FCD travels to Kansas City this weekend to take on Sporting at 2:30 pm CT.  This one is a national broadcast – hence the odd start time – on Univision.

Instant Reaction – 3 Things: Colorado Rapids at FC Dallas

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