The Breakdown: FC Dallas at Nashville SC, October 20, 2020

This game was so 2020 it hurts. Missing Matt Hedges and Michael Barrios – two of the club’s best players – devalues the analysis someone. Sometimes it’s better just to move on. But there a few items to discuss and some things to learn from.

Amazing stat by @mpoints113 proving a common 3rd Degree talking point that FCD plays to the level of the competition.
FC Dallas versus teams over .500: 4 wins 3 draws and 1 loss.  
Versus Teams .500 and lower: 2 wins 3 draws and 4 losses

Let’s break it down…

Lineups and Tactics

Coach Luchi Gonzalez keeps the 4-3-3, this one looking more single pivot with Tanner Tessmann looking pure 6.   Bressan stays in for Matt HedgesJesus Ferreira starts for the suspended Michael Barrios.

FC Dallas starting XI at Nashville SC, October 20, 2020.

Whether we were missing Barrios or not, the players I put in the lineup today I trust them. No matter their age or experience I trust them. We got to keep working.

Luchi Gonzalez

Looking for offense, Luchi goes to Ricardo Pepi and Brandon Servania in the 66th minute for Franco Jara and Tanner Tessmann. Then in the 75th minute, Dante Sealy came on for Bryan Acosta. And lastly Ema Twumasi – back from loan – came on for Jesus Ferreira.

Nashville SC reverted back to the usual 4-2-3-1 that compresses into a low block 4-5-1 most of the time.

Nashville SC starting XI vs FC Dallas, October 20, 2020.

Gary Smith went to the bench pretty quickly in the 2nd half, bringing on Tah Anunga for Aníbal Godoy in the 57th minute and then Jhonder Cádiz for Abu Danladi in the 62nd minute.

Smith made a final triple sub in the 75th minute, Daniel Ríos for Derrick Jones, Matt LaGrassa for Dax McCarty, and Taylor Washington for Alex Muyl.

Goals

0-1 Nashville SC goal. 19th minute. Walker Zimmerman intercepts a pass intended for Fafa Picault and starts the counter. Randall Leal to Derrick Jones and back to Leal for the somewhat hopeful long shot – that Reto Ziegler fails to close down – and the deflected shot off Ziegler finds the corner of the net.

0-2 Nashville SC goal. 73rd minute. FC Dallas has plenty of players back, but they are dropping too far off. Bryan Acosta fails to close Jhonder Cádiz, who, with acres of time and space, finds the net. This shot too is deflected, off of Bressan this time with his classic stick a leg out defense.

0-3 Nashville SC goal. 88th minute. Brandon Servania (being asked to single 6? Good grief) is out of position and allows Randall Leal an easy reception and lead pass to Daniel Ríos. Rios fakes hard, Reto Ziegler slips, and it’s an easy finish.

El Bueno

I picked Andres Ricaurte as my Man of the Match because I had to pick someone. I thought he was good but not great.  Too often he was way too deep getting the ball and wasn’t where he could crack the defense with a pass. I’ll explain why down below. 86 touches, 1 shot, 1 key pass, 83% passing, drew 3 fouls, 2 tackles, 1 interception, 7 for 9 on long balls, and 5 crosses.  That’s a good day for a linking-8, which is where he was playing… basically.

Andres Ricaurte vs Nashville SC, October 20, 2020. (Courtesy MLS)

Coach Dave Dir suggested Ryan Hollingshead for Man of the Match and that’s a good choice as well. I considered him but didn’t pick him as he was upfield on two of the three goals when the slow Ziegler could have used some help.  Reto even made a “pinch down” gesture to Ryan on the 3rd goal.  But Ryan’s numbers are great and he was one of the few attackers attempting much. 63 touches, 92% passing, 2 shots, 3 key passes, 4 fouls drawn, 1 tackle, and 2 intercepts.

Ryan Hollingshead vs Nashville SC, October 20, 2020. (Courtesy FC Dallas)

Camino del Medio

Bryan Reynolds came down to earth a little bit. Mostly, I think, because he didn’t have Barrios to work with. The 4 bobbled passes were the biggest problem.  He was doing good work as the team moved into the offensive half but was unable to penetrate the block. Reynolds had about 4 touches in the offensive third and one attempted pass that was incomplete. Just 2 crosses, only 1 connected.

Muy Feo

I didn’t like the single pivot. It put Tanner Tessmann on too much of an island.  He’s a 19-year-old rookie playing slightly out of position. That’s too much weight on him and it’s why he had a rough night. The shape meant Bryan Acosta and Andres Ricaurte were both playing like 8s and for me that didn’t work. I wanted to see Acosta and Tessmann as 6/8 hybrids like last game putting Ricaurte in position to receive passes in the danger positions where he could turn and split the defense with passing.  It also meant that when Tessmann went wide to cover – as he should – someone like Acosta needed to fill into his space… and that didn’t happen. So tactical mistake in my book.

I think Luchi Gonzalez made two mistakes on the Franco Jara sub. First, while I was in favor of bringing on Ricardo Pepi – the best attacker on the bench at that point – it should have been for Jesus Ferreira who was doing nothing to break down the back and little else in the build.  Second, recognize your big name striker is pissed as being subbed, and don’t try to shake his hand. Give him some space. I get it, Luchi is an emotional, hug-it-out guy. But some people aren’t and need time to cool off. Recognize that. Now Luchi is going to have to do something about the disrespect. Maybe it will be internal, but the coach made the situation worse.

Luchi Gonzalez on Franco Jara reaction to being subbed, October 20, 2020. (Courtesy FC Dallas)

Franco Jara was mad, outright pissed, at being subbed. Good. He should be.  When you have a player with his proven track record that you are paying a million dollars a season you have to let that guy stay on when the game is on the line.  Sure, sub him out when you are up 3 to nothing. But when the going gets tough you have to respect a scoring resume like his and leave him on. Taking him off undermines him with the collective team and fan base. So yeah, be pissed.  Jara was doing good things in the build, help the team get into the final third, and drawing fouls. Reward the hard work he was doing. Jara should have shaken the coach’s hand though. Respect is a two-way street.

Possession without purpose is almost completely useless. FCD had the ball all day – 58% possession – but does nothing with it – 11 shots only 2 on target.  There’s no adventure, no creativity, no je ne sais quoi.  This team is desperately missing a chaos maker without Paxton Pomykal and Micheal Barrios. Against a low block you have to make things happen, create stress and gaps, force chaos.  Just passing the ball around does nothing.  FCD had only 5 successful passes into the box and a whole ton of passes in their own half.

FC Dallas ‘ completed passes against Nashville SC, October 20, 2020.

We can have all the possession we want, match their shots and have more crosses in. Only thing is their shots go on target and ours don’t. Their shots are dangerous and ours aren’t. We need to work on defending that better and attacking that better.

Luchi Gonzalez

Suddenly the age and pace problem for Reto Zeigler that we have been talking about was visible clear as day.  It’s emphasized when playing next to the also slow Bressan.  After a couple of games where Bressan has seemed up for it as a fill-in, this one he sure didn’t.

All three goals were simple defensive mistakes based on sitting too deep and not closing down attackers.  Two of the three were deflected.  All three could have and should have been easily stopped with pressure.  But when your defenders are slow, they tend to sit deeper to prevent being beaten on the dribble and therefore can’t close down.

Next Game

FC Dallas travels to the Wasatch to take on Real Salt Lake this weekend.  Kickoff is at 8:30 CT on TXA21.  

Instant Reaction – 3 Things

FC Dallas at Nashville.

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