Any road win is good but a road win down in Austin is particularly good. Dallas jumps back to 4th on 18 points (5-3-3).
“We played amazing today. We did not allow this attacking-oriented team to create danger up front. This is due to the players’ performance.”Coach Nico Estevez
Let’s break it down.
Lineups and Tactics
Coach Nico Estevez stayed with the 4-3-3. Alan Velasco returns to the XI after his injury. Facundo Quignon rotates back in and Ema Twmusi repalces Geovane Jesus who was poor mid-week.
In the 59th minute, Nkosi Tafari replaced Jose Martinez and Paul Arriola replaced Sebastian Lletget. Both moves were for players feeling it from the physical game. FCD shifted into a 4-4-2 with Jader Obrian up top with Jesus Ferreira.
Tsiki Ntsabeleng and Bernard Kumango game on for Paxton Pomykal and Alan Velasco in the 78th minute to keep up the energy.
Late in the game (90+11 minutes) Sam Junqua replaced Paul Arriola who came up lame with a quad problem.
Since Austin FC are cowards and don’t post a shape for their lineup we have to go to MLS who has Austin in a 3-4-3.
Maxi Urruti – the lone member of the Texas Trifecta Club – came on in a straight swap for Gyasi Zardes in the 65th minute.
In the 77th minute, Nick Lima replaced Adam Lundkvist, which surprised me as I thought Lundkvist was causing FCD some issues.
Finally a double sub in the 88th minute with Aleksandar Radovanović replacing Jhojan Valencia and Ethan Finlay replacing Emiliano Rigoni.
FC Dallas 1-0. 89th minute. Ibeagha to Facu to Tsiki who plays a lead pass to Jesus Ferreira. After a burst to get back the near-side center back and a first touch to take the 2nd center back out of the play, the Jesus puts the ball through the keeper’s legs for the win.
Man of the Match for me was Facundo Quignon. This was his best performance of the season and maybe his entire time here. If he played like this every week you would never hear me say Edwin Cerrillo should start. Facu was terrific, covering his defense, winning balls and playing to teammates on the break, and most importantly consistently turning Austin’s playback into their own half again and again. Sure, Austin’s midfield may not be great but Facu sure was. 79 touches, 50 pass recptions, 86% passing, 2 key passes, 4 shot creating actions, 3 tackles, 4 clears, 9 recoveries, 3/4 long balls, and just 1 foul.
“Mentality” is Coach Nico’s work for his season and it’s amazing what a difference a positive mentality makes. Los Toros still played the FCD way, mid-block with rapid transition but it wasn’t passive. It was on the front foot and positive.
“We are coming from a difficult result against Nashville where we had a disappointing performance and result. We wanted to respond and bounce back today and all our guys deserve a lot of credit. We are building towards the way we want to play and be at and sometimes that can take long and is never easy. The guys have a strong mentality and we can respond to any adversity we have in front of us.”Coach Nico Estevez
Credit where credit is due, Jader Obrian had a good game. This was on par with what I saw in training a couple of weeks ago that I talked about on the podcast. He was 5 for 5 on dribbles with 7 shot-creating actions in just 27 touches.
Ema Twumasi also had a really strong game. It’s interesting that he’s become the defensive option with his team-defensive positioning and careful build play. It sure feels like Twumasi on the road and Geovane Jesus at home might become a thing. I think Twumasi’s experience and defensive discipline make a difference in these road games.
Jesus Ferreira, where would this team be without him? All five of FC Dallas’ wins this season have come in matches in which Jesús Ferreira has scored. 8 of 24 shots this season are on target, that’s a pretty good 30%. And of his 8 shots on target 6 are goals. SIX! 75% of his shots on target are goals. That’s so clinical I’m now contemplating calling him “the surgeon” as a nickname.
Camino del Medio
By the end of the game, the Burn dominated possession but most of that came after the red card. In the first half, FCD only had two 5 minutes intervals with greater possession and one of those was almost 50/50. But in the 2nd half, FCD controlled every phase but the final one… the one in which they scored. Go figure.
The one negative that jumped out at me was shooting efficiency. 14 shots on the road is good for this team but only 3 of them got on net. FCD usually needs to be cleaner than that to win. This would be a big red flag in a loss.
“In the attack, we could’ve scored two or three. We had three shots on target and 13 shots total with 18 crosses. It’s not about the quantity but it is about the quality of things.”Coach Nico Estevez
Seeing Paul Arriola go off with an injury was troubling. He came off with a quad problem in this one but has struggled in recent weeks with hamstring and goin. I’m not a doc obviously, but those things are related enough for me to think one led to another. The captain may need to sit a couple of weeks to get straight pending the MRI this week.