The Breakdown – FC Dallas vs Seattle Sounders

Sometimes a tie feels like a loss and for most fans – and probably the players as well – this was one of those times. Letting Seattle come back to tie is going to hurt. Maybe even in the standings at the end.

When we got to halftime, it was about adjusting the things we were doing well but wanted to do better. I’ll have to analyze the details of the game because we were a completely different team in the second half. There was a lack of quality and connection, then we started doing things we hadn’t talked about. I’m not sure why this happened. 

FC Dallas Head Coach Nico Estevez

Lineups and Tactics

FC Dallas I thought might go 4-4-2 but they stayed in the 4-3-3. Sebastian Lletget injured his hamstring on Friday in training so Paxton Pomkal appears to have replaced him in the XI. Sam Junqua was the clear choice as well at right back with injuries to Geovane Jesus and Ema Twumasi.

Presumably for rotations, Nkosi Tafari was on the bench with Jose Martinez and Beas Ibeagha in.

FC Dallas XI vs Seattle Sounders, Sept 16, 2023. (Courtesy FC Dallas)
FC Dallas XI vs Seattle Sounders, Sept 16, 2023. (Courtesy FC Dallas)

The double sub at 67′ looked like a shift to a 4-4-2 with Jesus Jimenez – who replaced Pomykal – taking up a spot next to Jesus Ferreira. Tafari for Martinez was a straight change.

That 4-4-2 shape didn’t last long as Paul Arriola was subbed out with back spasms and Eugene Ansah replaced him shifting FCD back to a 4-3-3 with Ferreira dropping into MF.

The final sub combo in the 86′ was two straight swaps of Dante Sealy for Jader Obrian and Marco Farfan for Ema Twumasi. Junqua moved to left back.

Seattle in their 4-2-3-1.

Seattle XI at FC Dallas, Sept 16, 2023. (Courtesy Seattle Sounders)
Seattle XI at FC Dallas, Sept 16, 2023. (Courtesy Seattle Sounders)

In the 63rd minute, Nouhou replaced Albert Rusnák and Cristian Roldan replaced Raúl Ruidíaz.

And in the 89th – probably mostly as a delay game kill tactic – Xavier Arreaga and Joshua Atencio replaced Reed Baker-Whiting and João Paulo.


FC Dallas 1-0. 15th minute. A lovely lead pass from Paul Arriola set up Jader Obrian on the break. Obiran cuts inside and finishes.

Seattle Sounders 1-1. 57th minute. Down their left, Reed Baker-Whiting beats Paul Arriola to get the cross in, which goes long to a wide-open Alex Roldan who hits a banger of a one-time finish.

Lo Bueno

My FCD Man of the Match was Asier Illarramendi. He was FCD’s best player on the night. What a delight this player is. I really hope he can hold up for a season cause he’s been an amazing addition. 84 touches (led FCD), 92% passing, 38 carries (t-lead), 2 progressive dribbles (led FCD), 12 progressive passes (led FCD – 2nd best had 4), 7 passes into final third (led FCD), and 8 recoveries (led FCD).

Sam Junqua was quality again at right back filling in. Even going 3-4 in take-ons on the “wrong” side. 2 tackles, 2 intercepts, and 4 recoveries. He got pressed pretty hard so his 77% passing could have been better but his defense was strong.

Camino del Medio

Jesus Ferreira is all kind of out of sorts and on a different page than his teammates since returning from US camp. It’s not just him, this is a two-way street. Passes to and from him are missing. He’s making the same runs are others and winding up in a double-occupied space. Or the runs don’t get made in expectation someone else will. You can tell Ferreira is getting quite frustrated. I’m not ready to panic but it’s not good.

Muy Feo

I have no idea if it was the coach’s intention. but the shift of Jesus Ferreira into midfield was awful. It broke the 4-4-2 and left Jesus Jimenz on a 9-island, which always kills the offense. Ferreira is by far the best goal scorer on this team he should never be anywhere but up top as the 9. Anything else is a horrible idea. Sometimes Ferreira does this kind of thing on his own, so I don’t know if it was his plan or Coach Nico.

“There are a lot of things to analyze in order to get better from this game.”

Coach Estevez

7 shots on goal at home is unacceptable. Yes, FC Dallas is a low-volume shooting team, but that means 10 to 12 or so, not 7. FCD was dominated by the Sounders in the final third. Perhaps that explains Ferreira’s running off to the midfield to stand around.

“We needed to be a bit more clinical today. We were not there at how we wanted to and our finishing was not the best tonight. We will work on it during the week and transition it into the next match.”

Jader Obrian

The FCD shape was broken most of the game. Because Illarramendi and Hacundo Quignon seem to settle into a double pivot, Pomykal gets squeezed out and he ends up playing outside on top of Junqua rather than shifting high like Alan Velasco does. Just look at this mess. What shape is that?

FC Dallas team shape sv Seattle, Sept 16, 2023. (Courtesy MLS)
FC Dallas team shape sv Seattle, Sept 16, 2023. (Courtesy MLS)

Instant Reaction – 3 Things

Leave a Reply

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