The Breakdown – FC Dallas vs FC Cincinnati

With the 1-0 loss to a very good – but depleted – FC Cincinnati, FC Dallas falls to 2-2 under Coach Peter Luccin. Seems the new coach bounce may be over.

FCD has won 6 in a row on the road.

“It wasn’t a good game. We had chances where we generated something, but it was not enough to win a game at home against a strong team like FC Cincinnati.”

FCD Interim Coach Peter Luccin.

Let’s break it down.

Lineups and Tactics

Interim Coach Peter Luccin went with the 4-2-3-1 as we expected, with Liam Fraser taking up the double pivot with the returning Asier Illarramendi.

Eugene Ansah was a surprise inclusion for Jesus Ferreira and Logan Farrington gets the start at the 9 with Petar Musa on the bench for rest/knock precaution. Sebastien Lletget at the 10.

The FC Dallas XI vs FC Cincinnati, June 29, 2024. (Courtesy FC Dallas)
The FC Dallas XI vs FC Cincinnati, June 29, 2024. (Courtesy FC Dallas)

27th minute, Fraser (out at least 3 weeks) pops his groins and Nolan Norris gets a long run out.

54th minute, down a goal, some offensive reinforcements as Petar Musa and Tarik Scott (MLS debut) come on for Bernard Kamungo and Eugene Ansah. Coach says this was also part rotation.

“It was awesome because it’s something that you can’t even make up, you could write a movie about it but I wouldn’t believe it. So to have that moment tonight where Peter (Luccin) trusted me taking the opportunity to go in, and make my debut under him, it was a thing that I will never forget. I’m forever grateful towards him for it.”

Tarik Scott

81st minute, a final throw of the dice, Tomas Pondeca (MLS debut) and Sam Junqua come on for Lletget and Paul Arriola. FCD swaps to a 3-at-the-back setup.

FC Cincinnati was in a 3-5-2 with a pure #10 named Luciano Acosta.

FC Cincinnati XI vs FC Dallas, June 29, 2024. (Courtesy FC Cincinnati)
FC Cincinnati XI vs FC Dallas, June 29, 2024. (Courtesy FC Cincinnati)

55th minute, Alvas Powell replaces Yamil Asad.

78th minute, Sergio Santos and Bret Halsey replace every KK in the lineup as Kevin Kelsy and Kipp Keller come off.

88th minute, Aaron Boupendza and Isaiah Foster replace Gerardo Valenzuela and Luca Orellano.


1-0 FC Cincinnati. 47th minute. Textbook cut inside and shoot by a switch-foot wingback (Sam Junqua loves this move). Maybe Asier Illarramendi could have done a little better. Maybe some inside help? But this is a blast of a quality goal by Luca Orellano.

Lo Bueno

Asier Illarramendi was of course excellent. Except perhaps for the Cinci goal, where he was just a tiny step slow getting across and didn’t get any inside help (I would have picked him but for this). A staggering 102 touches (please get the man some help), 14 (!!) progressive passes, 87% passing, 3/4 on take-ons, 3 progressive carries, 3 shot-creating actions, 4 shots (only 1 on target), 9 passes into the final third, 3 into the penalty area. Defensively: 6/7 tackles won, 5/5 on challenges won, and 9 recoveries.

Holy crap, I owe Asier Illarramendi an apology. He was Man of the Match. My bad.

My Man of the Match was Logan Farrington. I considered two other names but when with Farrington in the end because he got fouled 6 times. Cinci clearly thought he was the danger man. Farrington was being really smart about drawing the fouls in good positions too. 5 shot-creating actions, 5 progressive carries, 84% (passing as a 9?), 2 key passes, 3 passes into the penalty area, 1/2 shots on target. He was good, but in hindsight, Illarra was better.

Sebastian Lletget was the other name another I considered. I thought he was pretty good at the 10. 4 progressive carries, 86% passing, 3 key passes, 4 shot-creating actions, 0.6 xA, 7 crosses, 5 corner kicks, 2/2 on challenges, fouled 3 times with 0 committed. Only 1 for 5 on take-ons, he’s not the kid he was. If he can stay healthy, he’s earned a starting spot.

I love seeing all the kids get playing time. More game for Nolan Norris who, yellow card aside, was pretty solid. MLS debuts for Tarik Scott (pronounced ty-rik) and Tomas Pondeca, both of whom showed some interesting qualities. I’m not saying any of them were great, but this is the FCD way. More of this, please.

“I liked so many things from the young players. For example, Nolan (Norris), when he came in, I liked the way that he played and the quality of play. When Tomas (Pondeca) came in, he had very good energy.”

Interim Coach Peter Luccin

This pass.

Camino del Medio

Nolan Norris is now up to 8 yellow cards in 9 games across both MLS and MLS Next Pro this season. It’s not a crazy problem, nothing wrong with having a guy who will foul when necessary and take a card. Some have been a bit sus. But it’s not good to be collecting them at this rate. If he can clean it up just a little, and I think he will, it’s not an issue.

Even with missing pieces, you could see the cohesion and group style that FC Cinci played with. They have a system and just plugged in the next couple of guys without missing too much of a step. They were patient and too the chance when it came.

After playing 90 minutes in this, defender Marco Farfan surpassed 10,000 regular season minutes played. That’s amazing. Also, give them man a rest now and then. Paul Arriola, Jesús Ferreira, Omar Gonzalez and Sebastian Lletget are the only other FCD players with 10k+ minutes in MLS.

Coach Luccin seemed to think the FC Dallas press wasn’t good? Lots of tired bodies and maybe the coach bounce is over, I suppose. Lots of kids out there as well. I think that’s what he means by “pressure,” the press. I’m not sure, holding FCD to just 6 shots with 2 on target seems pretty good to me.

“Our pressure has not been what it should be, and that goes for everyone, the players, me, and the staff, too. We looked inexperienced. After three games, which have been very good, the performance of this game is not the image we should be portraying.”

Interim Coach Peter Luccin

Muy Feo

Dallas was not its usual shooting-efficient self. Perhaps that’s no surprise with Ferreira out and Musa on the bench. 16 shots but just 2 on target, 6 shots blocked. 63% of Dallas’ shots came from outside the box (compared to 17% of FCC’s – 83% inside!). They just weren’t their usual patient self working for that better shot and higher-scoring opportunities.

FC Dallas vs Fc Cincinnati shoot chart by MLS Statistics and Analysis (@mlsstat on twitter)
FC Dallas vs Fc Cincinnati shoot chart by MLS Statistics and Analysis (@mlsstat on Twitter)

Instant Reaction – 3 Things


  1. did ansah do enough to get more minutes for the next game? considering the injuries. Also will we see tsiki return from illness?

    1. I don’t feel like Ansah did enough. But Bernie didn’t do much more. Rotation will be a factor.
      Tsiki, unknown. Depends on if the illness was real or cover.

      1. Ansah is not a bad player. I just feel like he is wasting his time sitting on the Dallas bench since that is normally where he is. Also very disappointed in kamungos season. He is not living up to the hype.
        If we want to beat portland, here is what we need to do

        farfan ibeagha tafari arriola
        nolan norris and illaramendi
        lletget ansah tsiki{if he is fit}
        and bring back musa. we cannot afford to rest him. The team plays with more confidence when he and ferreira are on the field

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