The Breakdown – FC Dallas vs Real Salt Lake

A win is a win and in the end, the points in the table are what matter. But holy cow, was that some boring soccer for about 85 minutes and not much of a performance by FCD.

Watching this one was really taxing.

Let’s break it down.

Lineups and Tactics

Coach Nico Estevez stuck with Jesus Jimenez and the 4-4-2 as predicted. He even brought on Sebastian Lletget on the right wing shifting Parul Arriola left to replace the injured Alan Velasco.

Seemingly, Nkosi Tafari was rotated out for a rest leaving FCD with a combo of Jose Martinez and Sebas Ibeagha at center back, at least I hope it was rotation.

FC Dallas XI vs Real Salt Lake, April 15, 2023. (Courtesy FC Dallas)
FC Dallas XI vs Real Salt Lake, April 15, 2023. (Courtesy FC Dallas)

After RSL tied the game up in the 68th minute, Coach Estevez went for the win bringing on more direct wingers to, perhaps, try and get behind the RSL mid-block with Bernard Kamungo and Jader Obrian replacing Arriola (who has been struggling with a hammy) and Jimenez. Sebastian Lletget shifted up front to partner Jesus Ferreira.

Still chasing the goal, Coach Estevez brought in more fresh legs in like-for-like subs as Ema Twumasi came on for Geovane Jesus (had a yellow) and Tsiki Ntsabeleng replaced Sebastian Lletget.

RSL ran a modern 4-4-2 as well.

Real Salt Lake XI at FC Dallas, April 15, 2023. (Courtesy RSL)
Real Salt Lake XI at FC Dallas, April 15, 2023. (Courtesy RSL)

Coach Pablo Mastroeni brings on midfielder Braian Ojeda for defender Jasper Löffelsend at halftime for a spark.

Then at 65′ Mastroeni went to his bench again for Emeka Eneli and Justin Meram to replace Bode Hidalgo and Andrés Gómez. RSL seems to take greater control of the midfield after this leading to their goal.

Danny Musovski for Anderson Julio up top came in the 81st minute. Then after giving up the winning goal, Ilijah Paul replaced Rubio Rubín.


FC Dallas 1-0, 5th minute. Geovane Jesus makes an overlapping run from a layoff by Sebastian Lletget. Geovan’s cross is a good one as it finds a streaking Jesus Ferreira for the goal.

RSL 1-1, 68th minute. A cross from the RSL left by Justin Meram – who isn’t closed down by Lletget – finds Jefferson Savarino who beats March Farfan to the ball.

FC Dallas 2-1, 88th minute. A cross from Marco Farfan finds a cutting Bernard Kamungo who fires for the goal. The play started by Jader Obrian on a cutback.

Lo Bueno

Man of the Match: Bernard Kamungo, the Outlaw from Abilene. Bernies came in and changed the game for FCD by being willing to run at defenders with and without the ball. It wasn’t flawless but it was hopeful and energetic, and it worked. Kid got himself his first MLS goal in only his 2nd appearance.

Paxton Pomykal had a fantastic showing in the middle with his game control. He’s really improving his game wisdom and his choices on when to expend his energy. The over-the-top play and sublime ball control, when he took it to the corner, was just pure *chef’s kiss*. He was fouled 4 times and there were a couple that didn’t get the whistle. 79 touches (2nd most even though FCD leaned hard left), 36 carries, 8 progressive passes, 13 recoveries, and 87% passing including 3/4 on long balls.

This pic.

Tsiki Ntsabeleng, Bernard Kamungo, and Jesus Ferreira celebrate Kaumngo's game-winning goal against RSL, April 15, 2023. (Courtesy FC Dallas)
Tsiki Ntsabeleng, Bernard Kamungo, and Jesus Ferreira celebrate Kaumngo’s game-winning goal against RSL, April 15, 2023. (Courtesy FC Dallas)

Camino del Medio

Marco Farfan was named to the Team of the Week. I mean good for him, the assist was nice. But wouldn’t have said this was a particularly strong performance. He’s always good to great, but he did get beat on the RSL goal this time.

One of RSL’s press triggers was the later pass to Maarten Paes in the goal box. While it didn’t cost FCD a goal, they did struggle to deal with it. Paes’ biggest weakness is his feat and none of their CBs are fantastic on the ball either. This may be a recurring issue all year.

Muy Feo

Oh man, was the game boring AF for 85 minutes. Two teams trying to mid-block each other was so slow. There was a small amount of pressing but neither team was ball-hunting. What a drag of a game it made.

This was such a flat performance by FCD. It looked like a road game. 4 shots on goal is unacceptable. Yes, 50% on goal and, in fact, in the goal is good. But there was really no spark from FCD for the bulk of the game.

Sebastian Lletget really struggled to get involved despite playing 81 minutes. This season FCD has been overloading the right, that didn’t happen this game as FCD went 43% left. Lletget only had 31 touches with just 1 shot and very little else to show for it. Paul Arriola wasn’t a whole lot better but at least he was more engaged with 10 more touches in 10 fewer minutes of action.

Instant Reaction – 3 Things

Leave a Reply

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