The Breakdown – FC Dallas vs Houston Dynamo May 2023

Speaking of breakdowns (hAHa!), this game certainly ended with one. Dropping points at home to your worst enemy isn’t good, even if the club did get seven points this week.

“This result hurts a lot more because we had the game in our hands. ”

FC Dallas Head Coach Nico Estevez

Let’s break it down.

Lineups and Tactics

Since the insertion of Tsiki Ntsabeleng into the lineup for the injured Sebastian Lletget, Coach Nico Estevez has tweaked his 4-3-3 into a 4-2-3-1. It’s basically the same shape with a rotated midfield into the double-pivot. Paxton Pomykal was deep in the middle with Facundo Quignon rather than how it was drawn up below.

Sebas Ibeagha rotated in for Jose Martinez, shifting Nkosi Tafari to left center back.

Jimmy Maurer was in for the injured Maarten Paes.

FCD XI vs HOU 5-20-23
The FC Dallas XI vs Houston Dynamo, May 20, 2023. (Courtesy FC Dallas)

Edwin Cerrillo replaced Ntsabeleng in the 71st minute shifting Pomykal higher. Then in the 83rd, Sam Junqua came on for Alan Velasco as FCD shifted into a defensive 5-4-1.

After they conceded, Coach Nico brought on a striker in the form of Jesus Jimenez for Pomykal.

Houston Dynamo in a 4-3-3.

Houston Dynamo XI at FC Dallas, May 20, 2023. (Courtesy Houston Dynamo)

Chasing the game, Dynamo brought on Thor Ulfarsson and Nelson Quiñónes for Sebastián Ferreira and Aliyu Ibrahim in the 56th minute. Then in the 74th minute, Brad Smith and Corey Baird replaced Chase Gasper and Amine Bassi.

Then finally, in the 85th minute, Iván Franco replaced Coco Carrasquilla.


FC Dallas 1-0.  53rd minute. The initial header off a free kick is saved and Jader Obrian is there to put it away.

Houston Dynamo 1-1. 85th minute. Thor Ulfarsson easily beats Facundo Quignon to the header on a corner for the redirect to the back post.

Lo Bueno

My Man of the Match was Jader Obrian.  He’s really playing well and it wasn’t just the goal, he was the dynamic player up top, the catalyst on the day. He’s been in good form for a couple of weeks now. 6 shot-creating actions (twice the next best), 2/2 in take-ons, 4 progressive passes (2nd best), 3 key passes, drew 6 fouls, 77% passing.

“Jáder is a great player, and he has the tools to help the team. He is a player that trains hard every day and gives everything on and off the field for the team and his teammates. Jáder has a very positive mindset and knows clearly the team’s expectations. He is the kind of player that makes a team successful.” 

Coach Nico Estevez

Good job by the Dallas midfield as the big-name midfield of Houston – Hector Herrera and Coco Carrasquilla – was pretty much stifled. HH had 71 touches but they were all near MF and only 2 of his completed passes were into the final third. His 2 key passes came on corners. Coco only had a paltry 27 touches.

FCD seems to have added a “second line press” to their mid-block I like. They are dropping off the backs and keeper while sitting in the passing lanes. If the opponent does get to their 2nd line, then FCD quick presses looking for the TO. FCD is at its best in rapid transition and getting turnovers high is a good tactic for them.

Great photo by our own Matt Visinsky.

FC Dallas celebrates Jader Obrian’s goal against the Houston Dynamo, May 20, 2023. (Matt Visinsky, 3rd Degree)

Camino del Medio

I get the current way for FCD to play is a mid to low block, but it sure can be boring and lame to let your arch-rival control the ball in your house. FCD controlled play but watching the Dynamo have 57% possession at Toyota isn’t fun. It’s not “bad” cause Dallas outshot Houston 10 to 8, as I said they control the game. But it’s not super entertaining.

Muy Feo

Look, you know I hate the 5 subs rule… but since it’s the rule… use the 5 subs! Dallas only used two before the goal. There were fresh legs on the bench. The Dynamo were going for it, making all 5 of theirs. Bring on some fresh players. A block needs to be active, not passive. The freshness was needed.

Man, I hate short corners. I know FCD is FC short. But put the dang ball in the box some. The FCD goal came from a free kick on a rebound. Chaos comes when the ball is in the bounce and FCD likes to pounce.

Instant Reaction – 3 Things

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