The Breakdown – FC Dallas vs Colorado Rapids

Tieing at home against the worst team in the conference in what was a virtual must-win is hard for a coach to explain away. This is a really unfortunate result.

“We didn’t have the right mindset tonight. We put in a lot of effort, the guys were aggressive and wanted to press, but we struggled with our mindset.”

FC Dallas Coach Nico Estevez

Lineups and Tactics

It came as no surprise that we saw the 4-4-2 again, but seeing Aseir Illarramendi on the bench was unsettling. Facundo Quignon was one step further out of it and didn’t even make the bench.  Liam Fraser took the other spot in midfield next to Paxton Pomykal.

The FC Dallas XI vs Colorado Rapids, October 14, 2023. (Courtesy FC Dallas)
The FC Dallas XI vs Colorado Rapids, October 14, 2023. (Courtesy FC Dallas)

Eugene Ansash replaced Jader Obrian in the 66th minute.

In the 7th, Sam Junqua and Asier Illarramendi came on for March Farfan and Liam Fraser.

The Rapids socials, being cowards, don’t post a shape. MLS has them in a 4-2-3-1, as do and FBRef.

Colorado Rapids XI at FC Dallas, October 14, 2023. (Courtesy MLS)
Colorado Rapids XI at FC Dallas, October 14, 2023. (Courtesy MLS)

The Rapids only made one sub, in the 66th minute. Kévin Cabral replaced Jonathan Lewis at striker.


Colorado Rapids 0-1. 25th minute. Rapids get a free kick from 10 yards outside and wide left. Cole Bassett‘s shot deflects off the post and is re-directed in by Rafael Navarro.

FC Dallas 1-1. 37th minute. FC Dallas gets a free kick in a very dangerous location. Alan Velasco hits a fantastic strike. Golazo indeed.

Lo Bueno

My FCD Man of the Match was Alan Velasco. His free kick was a think of beauty and his play on the wing was pretty good. But mostly it was the goal. Fantastic. Pretty strong night: 79% passing, 8 progressive passes, 1 key pass, 7 into the final third, 3 into the penalty area, and 5 recoveries.

“We are leaving very sad tonight. We knew that with a win tonight we would have clinched a place in the playoffs, but tonight’s result leaves the team with a sour taste.”

Alan Velasco

Maarten Paes was his usual outstanding self with 4 saves. The goal was a little bit of an unfortunate bounce.

“It’s my job to save the shots on goal, tonight we had to take a little bit more risk so they had more space for transition. I think that’s where most of their chances came.”

Maarten Paes

Camino del Medio

Look, having the team’s best scorer Jesus Ferreira spend most of the game on the wing with a little midfield mixed in isn’t awesome. What Ferreira was doing out there, however, is amazing. 13 shot-creating actions while the 2nd best had 3 (Pomykal and Twumasi). Ferreira had 89 touches, 13 progressive passes, 3/4 in take-ons, 6 key passes, 8 passes into the final third, 9 progressive receptions, and 13 crosses. That’s a fantastic performance… except no one else on this team can score worth a lick (see down below).

68% possession doesn’t really do this club any good. Watching them play Luchi-Ball (Nkosi Tafari 109 touches, Sebastien Ibeagha 94) against a mid-block was painfully boring. Possession in and of itself isn’t bad but this team isn’t built for that, they are better in transition. But how do you make the opposition want the ball? You can’t. You just have to learn to play with it yourself.

Muy Feo

Shooting efficiency was poor again. 13 shots at home is plenty for this side but 3 shots on target is poor. We’ve talked about this all year, this number needs to be closer to 50% for FCD in 2023. I’m quite sure this is the byproduct of Jesus Ferreira not playing 9.

“We played the game they wanted and didn’t have enough patience to attack the way we wanted. When we showed patience we arrived in good spots, but the quality of crosses and finishing wasn’t there tonight.”

Nico Estevez

Not that the height deficiency is what caused the Rapids’ goal. But I’m not a fan of 6’0″ Rafael Navarro being tracked by 5’8″ Paxton Pomykal. I will admit, with FC Short, there may not have been a better option.

As I mentioned in my 3 Things, when I saw Asier Illarramendi on the bench, I knew this game would be a tie. Taking his passing out of the middle breaks the 4-4-2. That formation has a large hole above the double-8 and it needs Illarra to line-break it with his passing (and Pomykal to occasionally dribble penetrate). Liam Fraser was solid but he’s a long way from Illarra.

Speaking of Asier Illarramendi, I thought he was finally brought on about 10 minutes too late.

Instant Reaction – 3 Things

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