The Breakdown: FC Dallas at San Jose – Game Two 2021

Well, that certainly wasn’t very good.  San Jose has long been a bogey team for FC Dallas and that continues in 2021. Coach Luchi Gonzalez also continues to try to make the 3-4-3 work without much success. Let’s not dwell on this game too much.

Let’s break it down…

Lineups and Tactics

The 3-4-3 continued – much more on that lower down – with Tanner Tessmann replacing Andrew Ricaurte in the midfield.

FC Dallas XI at San Jose, April 24, 2021.

In the 60th minute, Goach G made the double change and swapped to the 4-3-3.  Andres Ricaurte replaced the playing hurt Matt Hedges and Paxton Pomykal replaced Tanner Tessmann.

FCD XI at after the 60th minute subs on April 24, 2021, vs San Jose.

At the 74th minute mark, Eddie Munjoma made his MLS debut coming on for Johnny Nelson and Ricardo Pepi replaced Franco Jara.

San Jose came out in their 4-2-3-1.

Quakes XI vs FC Dallas, April 24, 2021.

In the 72nd minutes, Matías Almeyda made a triple sub bring on Chris Wondolowski for Carlos Fierro, Andy Rios for Eduardo Lopez, and Shea Salinas for Tommy Thompson.

In minute 84, Judson replaced Paul Marie and in the 94th minute Siad Haji replaced Cade Cowell.


0-1 San Jose goal. 34th minute. Oswaldo Alanís beats Jimmy Maurer on the PK shot. Although Maurer did guess correctly and almost had it.

0-2 San Jose Goal. 49th minute.  Cade Conwell with the stunning pass on a corner kick counter-attack to spring Cristian Espinoza.

0-3 San Jose Goal. 59th minute. Cade Cowell completes his epic day with a cracker of a goal. Matt Hedges lunges after Jose Martinez got frozen by an odd bounce.

1-3 FC Dallas Goal. 79th minute. Dallas actually builds forward with Ryan Hollingshead, Ricardo Pepi, and Andres Ricuarte with the final ball going to Pepi for the first Dallas goal of the season.

Lo Bueno

Jáder Obrian was my Man of the Match.  With the FCD build in shambles they resorted to playing long to Darth Jader. While he didn’t finish for a goal, he was at least in dangerous spots. He wasn’t great by any means, but sometimes playing to expectations in a game like this gets you man of the match.

Congrats Eddie Munjoma on the debut.

Great save by Jimmy Maurer on the first PK attempt.

After the formation change to the 4-3-3, FC Dallas got much better and looked like FC Dallas. This is the play the team needs, build forward and through the middle. Admittedly up 3-0 the Quakes relaxed some.

Camino del Medio

Matt Hedges was playing hurt. He injured his ankle last week and that’s why he was lifted early one has to assume. It does beg two questions. 1. Why was he not listed on the injury report as questionable or probable? And 2. Why did he start? Just go 4-3-3 and let him rest.  2 tackles, 4 intercepts, 2 clearances, 78% passing, while hurt, isn’t too shabby.

It’s not feeling that great and it’s still pretty swollen from last Saturday. A guy fell on top of it, sprained it. It was pretty significantly swollen the whole week. I hate getting my ankles taped but it’s something that you have to do. It doesn’t feel great but that’s not an excuse.

Matt Hedges

Hate to see Jimmy Mauer – who has been amazing – get hurt.  Some credit to Phelipe who came in and looked solid. It can be hard to come off the bench as a keeper and look sharp.   This will be a great test for Phelipe if Maurer misses any time. Has the young Brazilian progressed?

He felt something on his shoulder so he couldn’t continue. It doesn’t look bad. It doesn’t look good. I am not in the position to say what it is. I am sure we are going to do an exam soon as we go back. Hopefully, it is nothing too serious because he is really important to us.

Coach Gonzalez

Muy Feo

This 3-4-3 formation stinks the way FCD is playing it. Some national media have called it a 3-4-2-1 – and if FC Dallas played it that way it might be great – but they aren’t. With Franco Jara playing as a false 9 (i.e. deep) and the two wings flanking him it’s a front 3 rather than a high 9 with two 10s behind.  That’s a 3-4-3.

Unfortunately, that 3-4-3 leaves the two central mids of Tanner Tessmann and Bryan Acosta outmanned 3 v 2 all day. That means the Quakes could play through the midfield at will having the man advantage. And FCD couldn’t play through there at all as any pace to either Tessmann or Acosta was an instant double team.

Another consequence of the wings being high and wider, they cover up the wing backs negating the best part of having wingbacks… their aggressive attacking down the sides into the offensive third – which is what allows the wings to move narrow as 10-like players under the striker. Ryan Hollingshead is forced to play outside in – admittedly that’s his instinct anyway – and Johnny Nelson‘s crossing – the best part of his offensive game – is negated.

Franco Jara was pressing well and looking dialed in for about 10 minutes at the start of each half but then was mostly invisible. 90 minutes of that 10 minutes would be great. Otherwise, Pepi did more in his 15 minutes with – admittedly – the team back in the 4-3-3

The game is about moments. We pressed really well the first 10 minutes and put them into some tough situations. We created chances. We didn’t put them away earlier, but we didn’t punish them. We needed to do that.

Coach Gonzalez

Next Game

FC Dallas hosts the Portland Timbers this Saturday at 7 pm at Toyota Stadium. The Timbers have FCD as the middle in a Club America CCL sandwich, so this is the best shot at them Los Toros is gonna get.

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