The Breakdown: FC Dallas at Atlanta United – Sept 23, 2020

Here at 3rd Degree, we like to think we tell it like it is, that we call a dog a dog.  And this game at Atlanta, my friends, was a dog. No life, no spirit, no Jena says what?

It took VAR to make the difference as Atlanta didn’t really threaten all that much and Dallas themselves had only one shot on goal.

Obviously, being down, we went for it, but it wasn’t enough. We’re disappointed because we thought we could get points here. 

Luchi Gonzalez

Let’s break it down…

Lineups and Tactics

Coach Luchi Gonzalez again rotated some of his squad in the 4-2-3-1, notably Reto Ziegler (who we learned late was actually injured), Franco Jara, and Bryan Reynolds. Bryan Acosta and Thiago Santos were suspended.

Jesus Ferreira was in as the 8, Brandon Servania was the new player in midfield along with Andres Ricaurte (who we expected to sit due to turf), Bressan was at center back, and Ryan Hollingshead returned at right back.

FC Dallas XI at Atlanta United, Sept 23, 2020.

As is the norm with 5 subs, Coach G brought back some of the rested would be starters as subs.  Franco Jara, Santi Mosquera, and Bryan Reynolds replaced Servania, Fafa Picault, and Johnny Nelson in the 69th minute.  Dante Sealy and Ricardo Pepi replaced Michael Barrios and Jesus Ferreira in the 83rd minute. 

United coach Stephen Glass is missing all his big guns and rolled out a normal 4-3-3.  Emerson Hyndman, the grandson of former SMU and FCD Head Coach Schellas Hyndman, made what we think is his first start against Dallas.

Atlanta United XI vs FC Dallas, Sept 23, 2020.

Looking for life, Glass brought on Eric Remedi and Adam Jahn at halftime for Matheus Rossetto and Miles Robinson. Manuel Castro replaced Jon Gallagher in the 72nd minute, Laurence Wyke was on for Jake Mulraney in the 81st minute, and Edgar Castillo took Emerson Hyndman’s spot in the 89th minute.


1-0 Atlanta United goal. 55th minute. Jeff Larentowicz scores the PK.

Here’s the PK on Matt Hedges.  I wasn’t surprised to see it determined a PK but I’m not convinced it is one either.  If Peter Welpton is right about the ball coming off Hedges’ head before hitting his arm, then it shouldn’t be a PK.  You be the judge.

El Bueno

Tanner Tessmann was my Man of the Match as he was asked to play as the 6 without having really done that before at the pro level. 88 touches, 80.3% passing, 1 dribble, 2 fouls drawn, 1 tackle, 1 intercept, 2 clear, 1 block, only 1 foul committed… I don’t know what else you want from the kid.  6 for 11 on long balls.  Ok, maybe drive those cross-field switches a bit more. Just a little less loft. But he played a hell of a game all things considered. Also, he’s a Grown Ass Man 2.0.

Bryan Reynolds had 31 touches in 21 minutes of play.  He helped bring the attack to life with 82% passing, 1 key pass, 2 dribbles (both at the start of the attacking third), and 2 crosses.

I came away from this game thinking Andres Ricaurte was kind of flat, maybe meh.  HOLY COW was I wrong about that.  79 touches, 80% passing on 54 passes, 1 shot, 1 key pass, 2 dribbles, 7 (SEVEN!) drawn fouls, 3 tackles, 1 intercept, 1 clear, 5 recoveries, and 4 for 8 on long balls. Good grief, what a performance. Mea culpa, I owe Ricaurte an apology from thinking he was just ok. He was damn good and I didn’t even notice because the collective team was bunk.

Andres Ricaurte at Atlanta United, Sept 23, 2020.

Jimmy Maurer was being Jimmy Maurer. 4 saves.

Camino del Medio

Bressan wasn’t terrible filling in for Reto Ziegler. The fact the Brazilian hasn’t beaten out the 34-year-old Swiss seems telling. But this is a solid line: 81 touches, 85% passing, 6 aerials won, 1 tackle, 2 intercepts, 2 clears, 1 blocks, 3 for 6 long balls.  I’ll go so far to say he was pretty good even if his passing is all simple stuff.  Sometimes simple is fine.

Bressan at Atlanta United, Sept 23, 2020.

I couldn’t decide what to think about Jesus Ferreira. He only has 29 touches in 83 minutes of play. Only 2 of those were in the box and about 6 or so were in the attacking third with 4 of those 6 ware way out wide right. Is it him or the team? Jara only had 5 touches too after subbing on and they were all near midfield.  So I think it’s the team. Maybe? Or both? It could be both.

By the way, you can see the disconnect to Ferreira/Jara in Ricaurte’s pass chart above.

Muy Feo

Noticeable in their absence – particularly now that Kobra is gone – is the energy and will power that Franco Jara and Thiago Santos bring to the lineup.  FCD was flat and lifeless without their fire, determination, and guts.

Our guys are experienced now. We had a really young team last year but most of our guys have experience in the league. If we’re going to fight for a top conference spot, we have to find consistency in our desire no matter who we play, where we play, or where the other team is in the table.

Luchi Gonzalez

6 shots and 1 shot on goal isn’t going to cut it, even on the road. There was a total inability to connect in the final third by FCD.  50% of their play came down the right with Hollingshead and Barrios then Reynolds and Barrios. It just wasn’t happening offensively.

Ryan Hollingshead left > Ryan Hollingshead right.

Jimmy Maurer’s chart is a lesson in why Coach Gonzalez wants to, generally speaking, build out and not hoof it.  Maurer was good by the way, this isn’t about him.  Short passes connect, long passes don’t. Possession matters, particularly in your defensive third. Don’t get me wrong, there are times to just boot it. But in general, build it and the goals will come.

Jimmy Maurer’s passing chart at Atlanta United, Sept 23, 2020.

The solid white kits are lame and boring. Bring back the blue shorts. There is no issue with blue vs black shorts if the shirt is white against mostly black and the socks are white against mostly black. All white kits are for Real Madrid or the US of A.

Atlanta United forward Jon Gallagher #26 in action during the match against FC Dallas at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, on Wednesday, September 23, 2020. (Photo by Jacob Gonzalez/Atlanta United)

Next Game

It’s a Frisco homecoming for FC Dallas legend Oscar Pareja as he leads his new team, Orlando City, to town.  Kickoff on Sunday is at 7:30 pm CT on Fox Sports Southwest.

Instant Reaction – 3 Things

FC Dallas at Atlanta United, September 23, 2020.


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