The Breakdown: Columbus Crew at FC Dallas – Oct. 3, 2020.

It was game 2 of the FC Dallas status check series on Sunday night in Frisco.  FCD for the second time in a week drew against one of the best teams in MLS.  Those two home draws mean FCD is right where we thought they were, just below the elite team in the league.

Did they win? No, but this was a pretty good performance in my estimation.

We had some of the best highs – in terms of with the ball, combos, playing in the channels, and confident play. We also showed some of our best moments of pressure, collective pressure, and commitment from everybody on the field. Those are good takeaways.

Luchi Gonzalez

Let’s break it down…

Lineups and Tactics

4-3-3, I mean, what else would it be, although this one was more double-8.

The only change from the previous game was Fafa Picault in for the injured Santiago Mosquera.  These two games this week give us a very clear idea as to what Coach Luchi Gonzalez thinks his best-eleven lineup is.

FC Dallas starting XI vs Columbus Crew, October 3, 2020.

Coach Gonzalez, looking for some fresh offense, goes for a double-sub and brings on Jesus Ferreira and Dante Sealy for Andres Ricaurte and Fafa Picault.  Then in the 81st minutes, Tanner Tessmann replaced Thiago Santos.

The Crew in a 4-1-4-1.

Crew XI at FC Dallas, October 3, 2020.

At the half, Coach Caleb Porter made one change when Aiden Morris replaced Lucas Zalarayan.

Then Porter went with three more 2nd half subs in the 62nd minute, 71st minute, and 88th minutes as Emmanuel Boateng replaced Youness Mokhtar, Andrew Tarbell replaced Eloy Room in the very rare keeper injury move, and Derrick Etienne replaced Luis Díaz.

Goals

1-0 FC Dallas goal. 38th minute. Michael Barrios finishes a terrific cross from Fafa Picault with a cracker of a header. Fantastic goal.

1-1 Columbus Crew goal. 47th minute. A failed track of extra midfielder Pedro Santos leaves Matt Hedges marking two men, Bryan Reynolds – correctly, you defend inside to out – collapses to help out. The FCD wing on that side is high up the field so Youness Mokhtar gets a free look at goal.

2-1 FC Dallas Goal. 53rd minutes.  Michael Barrios earns a PK and Reto Ziegler finishes it.

Here’s the foul.

1-1 Columbus Crew goal. 62nd minute. Bryan Reynolds misreads and is caught too wide allowing Emmanuel Boateng, who had just subbed on, to split the gap to the center back. (Mind the gap!)  Gyasi Zardes is marked but redirects the ball through to the again untracked Pedro Santos who scores easily.

El Bueno

Michael Barrios was my Man of the Match.  His goal brought him to life and he looked dangerous all night. Hopefully, this goal kick starts some points from him.  72% passing, 2 shots, 1 on target, 1 key pass, 1 PK drawn, and 2 crosses.  There are still some flubbed balls, he could be cleaner, but he was a threat all game.

For me, this was Ryan Hollingshead’s best game of the year mainly because of the actions in the final third. As he plays more with Jara and Picault his connections with them in the box will improve. This was the first game in a while I thought Ryan was more aggressive than Reynolds.

Ryan Hollingshead vs Columbus Crew, October 3, 2020. (Courtesy MLS)

I really liked the double-8 look. Luchi confirmed on Monday they wanted more of that look with Acosta/Ricaurte.

Bryan Acosta, I thought looked pretty good in the first half. Wish he could play like that for 90. He spent more of the game higher than Ricaurte, amazingly. 80% passing, 6 for 9 long balls, 2 key passes… I like this freer Acosta.

Andres Ricaurte, by the way, 93% passing from an offensive mid. 56 touches, 2 dribbles, 3 drawn fouls, 2 crosses, and 6 for 7 on long balls.  He was also 2 for 3 on tackles and picked up 6 recoveries.

I love where Dante Sealy is right now. Getting some late-game minutes in situations where his success or failure isn’t going to be the deciding factor. This is right where I want him to be in terms of action.  Now if they could just mix in some North Texas time that would be great.

Second straight excellent game by Reto Ziegler.  He’s showing how a smart, cultured defender can play until he’s 34. Can he do it twice a week for the rest of the year? 3 key passes (2 on corners), the PK, 85% passing, and 6 aerials won. Great game. I also noticed Reto went out of his way to celebrate with Franco Jara after the PK.

Dallas continues to do well with shot election, 85% inside the box.  That led to 7 of 13 shots being on target, that’s excellent.  Yes, shots are down of late as FCD works for better opportunities. I’m ok with that. Do we want to see more shots?  Yes, of course. But good shots, not just any shot.

It was enjoyable to watch the referee be mad at the other team for a change.

Congratulations Fafa Picault on your 100th MLS game.

Camino del Medio

Bryan Reynolds was mostly good – 78% passing, 2 fo 3 long balls, 1 key pass, 2 tackles, 2 clears – but he did make a mistake on the 2nd goal. That’s a teaching moment he will learn from.  We said there would be a couple growing pains this season, it’s to be expected. But his crossing was again top-notch (2 for 2), his offense overlaps were great, and his passing took a step forward (up 2% from avg).

Franco Jara had 10 of his 39 touches in the attacking third. That’s a step in the right direction. More of that, please. I think as this team plays together than will continue to improve.  

Muy Feo

Michael Barrios and Fafa Picault both are positive influences offensively and both can press pretty well.  But both stay very high and don’t check back to help a ton (average position equal in line with the 9 in this one). That leaves the outside backs on an island defensively.   Against a team with actual wide mids (4-1-4-1), that wasn’t great and it’s where most of the Crew dangerous plays came from. I would have liked to have seen both helping out a bit more deep.

Both goals allowed were moments where a player wasn’t tracked. That kind of switch off is something fixable.  But with the heavy schedule, it might not be easy. Focus and staying fresh are going to be a bit part of this remaining 2020.

Some of the goals we conceded, I felt were just moments we turned off.

Luchi Gonzalez

Next Game

FC Dallas travels to Houston to take on the Dynamo this Wednesday.  Kickoff is at 7 pm on Fox Sports Southwest.

Instant Reaction – 3 Things

Columbus Crew at FC Dallas.

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