The Breakdown – FC Dallas vs Galaxy

FC Dallas rebounded in Game 2 of the 2023 season with a 3-1 win over the LA Galaxy. The overall performance was much improved compared to the Minnesota game.

Let’s break it down.

Lineups and Tactics

The FC Dallas XI vs LA Galaxy, March 4, 2023. (Courtesy FC Dallas)
The FC Dallas XI vs LA Galaxy, March 4, 2023. (Courtesy FC Dallas)

Edwin Cerrillo and Nkosi Tafari enter the XI.

Jader Obrian replaces Alan Velasco and Facundo Quignon replaces Cerrillo in the 76th minute. Sebas Ibeagha placed Paxton Pomykal shifting the team into a 5-4-1 type shape in the 80th minute. Geovane Jesus came on for Marco Farfan in the 85th, moving Ema Twumasi to left back, while Tsiki Ntsabeleng replaced Paul Arriola.

Like this, give or take.

The FC Dallas late game XI vs LAG on March 4, 2023.
The FC Dallas late game XI vs LAG on March 4, 2023.

The Galaxy was in a 4-5-1 according to MLS but I thought it was base 4-3-3 watching it live.

LA Galaxy XI vs FC Dallas, March 4, 2023.
LA Galaxy XI vs FC Dallas, March 4, 2023.

65th minute after FCD was up 3-1, Houston Dynamo reject Memo Rodriguez was subbed off for Daniel Aguirre and Jalen Neal replaced Kelvin Leerdam. 71st minute, Tyler Boyd replaced Raheem Edwards.

Then in the 76th minute, Eriq Zavaleta and Paul Judd replaced Chris Mavinga and Efrain Alvarez.


0-1 LA Galaxy – 35th minute.

Efrain Alvarez finds space wide right and crosses to Dejan Joevelic for an easy finish. Joevelic drifted away from Nkosi Tafari into offside position but Alvarez gets deep enough to bring him back safe and Joevelic finds the gap between Tafari and Jose Martinez.

1-1 FC Dallas – 47th minute.

Edwin Cerrillo plays long to Paul Arriola. The defender falls down and Paul plays across the top of the box where Alan Velasco beats his defender to the ball for the goal.

2-1 FC Dallas – 56th minute.

Sebastian Lletget to Velasco to Arriola, to Jesus Ferreira who settles the ball and shoots for the goal.

3-1 FC Dallas – 64th minute.

Ema Twumasi overlaps Paxton Pomykal, who feeds Jesus Ferreira for the goal.

Lo Bueno

Man of the Match: Jesus Ferreira. Not just for the two goals, which got him on the MLS Team of the Week, but for his positioning. He stayed up front breaking lines and not running all the way to the center backs looking for the ball. He also improved his body language and gesturing to his teammates. This was the Jesus of 2022. Love seeing it again.

“I think the three up front have chemistry, we’re building chemistry and learning from each other every day. For it to come alive in a game and work out, then see the outcome be a goal is always amazing. We’re always working to make it stronger and be able to score more goals.”

Jesus Ferreira

Love this tribute to Tarik Scott who will miss the year with an ACL/LCL injury.

I thought the FCD defensive triangle was much improved. More cohesive, quicker playing forward with the ball, and more stable. To be fair, Sebas Ibeagha being new to FCD was probably a big contributor to last week’s shakiness. Specifically in this one, both Nkosi Tafari and Edwin Cerrillo were quite good.

More specifically on Edwin Cerrillo: FBref gave him an 81% passing but he was quite aggressive with 4/7 on long balls, 5 progressive passes (3rd on team) on 50 touches with 5 recoveries, and 22 carries. The attempt to be a progressive passer is where we want to see the next phase of his progression. He’s got room to grow for sure. His 43 receptions (2nd FCD) shows that he was the fulcrum of the possession.

“We knew it would take them some time to get into the game. When you look at the performance of some of the guys from today to the first game last week, it’s a big difference. And we knew that.”

Coach Nico Estevez on Nkosi Tafari and Edwin Cerrillo

Emu Twumasi was markedly better in this game from game one. Just with the eye-test you could see he was moving better and being more aggressive. That’s good health progress. Again FBref: 64 touches (T-2nd), 6 progressive passes (2nd), 31 carries (2nd), 4 passes into final 1/3 (T-1st), 2/2 on dribbles taken on.

Sebastian Lletget I barely noticed live, but the stats tell a story of quiet effectiveness. 91% passing (1st w/ >15 minutes), 4 shot creating actions (1st), 8 progressive passes (1st), 3/3 dribbles (T-1st), 4 passes into box (1st), and 4 progressive carries (2nd) all into the final 1/3 (T-1st). Impressive.

Paxton Pomykal and Alaen Velasco were also good, that’s pretty normal these days. Overall, it was a pretty comprehensive performance.

“I give Galaxy a lot of credit because they are a great team, they have amazing players, a great system, a great coach and I know they are always trying to do things right. It just so happens that this weekend we lined up really well against LA Galaxy. Our midfield was dynamic and was able to contain their midfield. Our defense showed up today and kept them in front of them. It was one of those games where we came out knowing what we wanted to do and what result we wanted to get.” 

FC Dallas Captain Paul Arriola

Camino del Medio

All the changes FCD made during the game caused them to lose control of the middle and of play. Being up 3-1 was probably also a factor. I’m not much of a fan of xG in a single game, but this xG graphic does illustrate that after going up 3-1 FCD lost the plot and LAG came after them. Closing out games is a learned skill and this FCD team still needs improvement there.

xG for FC Dallas vs LA Galaxy, March 4, 2023. (Courtesy MLS)
xG for FC Dallas vs LA Galaxy, March 4, 2023. (Courtesy MLS)

41% of the attack came down the right for FC Dallas in this one and 34% on the left. That’s a better balance than the last game. A little more to go.

Muy Feo

11 shots on target isn’t great. Yes, the finishing was much better with 4 shots on goal and an impressive 3 of those 4 finding net. But the volume of chances is still lower than I would like at home.

As the game wore on Jose Martinez to my eyes started to lag badly. The 3rd center back helped with the gap between Martinez and Marco Farfan as it was frequently targeted, continued to be targeted even with the extra CB, and was still in danger with Twumasi swapping to that side late.

It was odd seeing Efrain Alavarez beat Marco Farfan a couple of times to get balls into the box. That’s not normal. The best LA chances came from attackers on the FCD left (or long-range shots from MF).

LA Galaxy being “Est. 1994” is dumb.

LA Galaxy Est1994. LOL.
LA Galaxy Est1994. LOL.

Instant Reaction – 3 Things

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *