The Breakdown – FC Dallas vs Loons

It’s that time again. Yes, for season 26 of our coverage of FC Dallas, I’m bringing back The Breakdown. Let’s begin.

Losing your first home opener since 2009 (13 home openers unbeaten) to a Minnesota side without their MVP Emanuel Reynoso isn’t good.

The new FCD captain is an excellent choice though. In case you missed the FCD tweet, it’s Paul Arriola.

Lineups and Tactics

FC Dallas starting XI vs Minnesota United, February 25, 2023. (Courtesy FC Dallas)
FC Dallas starting XI vs Minnesota United, February 25, 2023. (Courtesy FC Dallas)

Love the Burn colors with the Burn Baby Burn kit we’re going to see at home 9 times (I think it is) this year. I for one wish the club would have stayed red and black but I know that ship has sailed.

Of note in the XI: Sebastien Ibeagha at right center back, Ema Twumasi at right back, and Facundo Quignon at the 6. those were the three big questions coming in.

In the 67th minute, Geovane Jesus came in for Twumasi, Tsiki Ntsabeleng came in for Sebastian Lletget, and Edwin Cerrillo came in for Facu. All three were straight swaps.

The wrinkle came when Jose Mulato replaced Paxton Pomykal. Mulato is a 9, so this was a formation change to a two-striker system that looked like a modern 4-4-2 to me. This may factor more when Jesus Jimenez gets rostered.

FCD late game XI vs Loons Feb 23.
FCD late game XI vs Loons Feb 23.

Minnesota United was in a 4-2-3-1 according to them (even if they drew it upside down) but it defends like a 4-4-1-1.

Minnesota United XI vs FC Dallas, February 25, 2023. (Courtesy MNUFC)
Minnesota United XI vs FC Dallas, February 25, 2023. (Courtesy MNUFC)

The Loons love to compress the midfield in a mid-to-low block and make it very hard for Dallas to play through. And since FCD sucks at breaking down a block that’s a very effective tactic.

Minnesota’s subs were straightforward, Hassani Dotson for Mender Garcia in the 63rd, Joseph Rosales for Franco Fragapane in the 71st, and Tani Oluwaeseyi for Robin Lod in the 89th.


Just one.

1-0 Minnesota United 47′ – Ibeagha’s clearing header doesn’t go far and Facu fails to track Fragapane who hammers the ball on net. The rebound falls to Garcia who Ibby lost track of trying to get in front of the shot and was kept onside by Twumasi. Neither Jose Martinez nor Twumasi react in time to recover and Garcia has a clean goal.

Lo Bueno

Paxton Pomykal was my Man of the Match. As always he was energetic and aggressive. Oddly having the best scoring changes of the game (that’s an improvement I like) and, as usual, covered the most ground of anyone on his team prior to being subbed out. 15 Duels (2nd behind Farfan).

Marco Farfan was also strong on the left. 21 duels, 87% passing, 5/5 tackles, 2/3 defensive challenges. The usual we expect from him. If someone was so inclined he would have been a good alternative MOTM choice.

In his 24 minutes, I thought Geovane Jesus looked really interesting. 10 carries, 8 progressive receptions (2nd on the team for the game!), 9 duels won (T-4th and in limited minutes too). Frankly, given how stiff Twumasi looked mid-week I was surprised he started.

Camino del Medio

FC Dallas played lopsided to the right as 52% of their actions took place on the right third with just 24% in the middle and left sides respectively. The easiest way I came up with to demonstrate this is Paxton Pomykal‘s lovely complete field balance vs Sebastian Lletget‘s lopsided right touch map.

Pax touch map vs MIN Feb 23
Paxton Pomykal’s touch map vs MIN Feb 23. (WhoScored.Com)
Sebastian Lletget's touch map vs MIN Feb 23.
Sebastian Lletget’s touch map vs MIN Feb 23. (WhoScored.Com)

Alan Velasco vs Paul Arriola was almost as imbalanced as the two above.

Muy Feo

The ability of Minnesota to clog the middle is their trademark and something that always troubles Dallas. Sebas Ibeagha and Jose Martinez with 100 and 103 touches… that’s too many. Too much back and forth there as they struggled to play forward. Each had 65 and 71 carries too. The ball was stuck at their feet. The next highest carries? Velasco with 35. FCD was stymied building out.

The clogged middle led to poor chance creation and FCD managed just 11 shots (officially) with an exceptionally poor 1 shot on goal. This team is usually low in chance creation relying on a high finishing rate but the efficiency of shooting has to be there. With 73% of their shots coming inside the penalty box just managing 1 on target is some poor finishing. 50% on target with a shot total in the high teens is what this club needs, not 1 of 11.

Facundo Quignon was too stationary in the middle of the park for my taste. His lack of mobility to track runners is the biggest downside I see in his game and it was a factor on the goal.

Facu vs MNUFC Feb 23
Facu vs MNUFC Feb 23. (Courtesy

This is not the touch map you want for Jesus Ferreira.

JF touch map vs MIN Feb 23
Jesus Ferreira touch map vs MIN Feb 23. (

Next Game

March 4th, FC Dallas hosts the LA Galaxy, 7:30 pm CT, at Toyota Stadium.

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