Since the weather broke this game, I almost didn’t do a breakdown. But with 50 minutes or so of action there are still a couple of things to talk about… so here we are.
“The lightning wasn’t going away until 1AM. Sometimes, and I’ve had this in Columbus, you know the length of the lightning is shorter and you’ll wait. But here that wasn’t happening. Twice they told us that we were going to go warm up in a few minutes but then there was lightning. I think it was the best decision, families and people who had worked today can go home earlier with a proper plan.”FC Dallas Head Coach Nico Estevez
Let’s break it down.
Lineups and Tactics
Coach Nico Estevez stayed with the 4-3-3 and as predicted brought back the two outside backs that seem to be first choice at the moment: Marco Farfan and Geovane Jesus. Facundo Quignon was in as City presses and coach seems to think he’s a better passer.
Correctly, in my mind, Alan Velasco was on the bench rather than starting. I’m sure the plan was to get him 20-30 minutes.
After Paul Arriola left injured, Jesus Jimenez came on and FCD shifted to a 4-4-2. Sebastian Lletget moved to right mid with Jader Obrian left.
Since St Louis City is either too lazy or too scared to draw a tactical shape XI so we’re forced to use the MLS version of their lineup which shows them in a narrow diamond-4.
No man of the match cause it’s not a complete match. But I will say I thought Sebastian Lletget was on pace for his best showing of the year. That’s not saying a whole hell of a lot with this 2023 funk but improvement is good. He was higher, more engaged, and seemed to be working hard to get into the box. Trending in the right direction.
FCD defense did a solid job of keeping SLC outside the box and high. City only got 1 shot on target and didn’t really challenge Paes that much.
More on the FCD shots down below.
I had to chuckle in the pre-game procession when Paul Arriola‘s “kid” he was paired with was taller than him.
“The good thing is we will be rested, we played less than Nashville today. For us it’s also a good thing because we can prepare and have everyone available.”Coach Nico Estevez
Camino del Medio
The St Louis City aggressive press makes it really difficult to play pretty soccer as demonstrated by the poor passing accuracy of both teams: FCD 64%, SLC 69%. Ugly and disjointed.
St Louis played a more narrow shape and really pressed hard. As a consequence, FCD was abandoning the middle and going around the SLC shape. That’s neither good nor bad in and of itself but you can see it clearly in the FCD pass chart.
At the time of the sub for Arriola, I felt Bernard Kamungo would have been the better sub choice than Jesus Jimenez. FCD was finding space wide and giving up the winger attacking the box wasn’t a great idea in my mind. Plus going to a wider shape (4-4-2) was giving the Louies the middle of the park.
5 shots is par for the course for the FCD offense these days, over a complete game that would be 9 or 10. Maybe a bit more if FCD ramped up late as usual. 2 on target would be 4 or 5 for the game… so again something like 40%-50% on target, that part is fine. But overall we’d like to see a much higher volume of shots at home. A continued out-of-sync, low-chances offense is going to make for a long grind of a season.
St Louis played a more narrow shape and really pressed hard on Facundo Quignon in particular. Facu ended up with just 55% passing (season avg 85%). Paxton Pomykal kept dropping deeper to try and help (73% passing) but I was concerned that a turnover in zone 14 right atop the CBs was going to be FCD’s undoing.