The Breakdown – FC Dallas vs Vancouver Whitecaps

What a terrific comeback by FC Dallas after going down a goal against Vancouver Whitecaps. The result showed a great mentality by the club.

“It is important for us to know that we can also score second. It is important to have a good mentality when being down because at the end of the day it is about the way we respond and execute.” 

FC Dallas Head Coach Nico Estevez

Let’s break it down.

Lineups and Tactics

Coach Nico Estevez stayed with the 4-3-3… sorta and not really. Tactics are fluid and despite how it was drawn up this was more of a 4-2-3-1. But it went further than that. Coach says they wanted Tsiki Ntsabeleng high like an off-striker swapping in and out with Ferreira. So this was really a very modern 4-4-2… or hell, 4-2-4?

The FC Dallas XI vs Vancouver Whitecaps, May 19, 2023.
The FC Dallas XI vs Vancouver Whitecaps, May 17, 2023.

Leading 2-1 in the 66th minute, FCD brought on Bernard Kamungo for Alan Velasco in what is probably a minute workload management move for Velasco.

Then in the 10th minute, Coach Nico brought on Sebas Ibeagha for Ntsabeleng showing the team into a 3-4-3. 12 minutes later, Sam Junqua replaced Jesus Ferreira and shifted into a 5-4-1.

Vancouver stuck with the Xmas Tree shape.

Vancouver Whitecaps XI vs FC Dallas, May 17, 2023.  (Courtesy Vancouver Whitecaps)
Vancouver Whitecaps XI vs FC Dallas, May 17, 2023. (Courtesy Vancouver Whitecaps)

In the 67th minute, the Caps brought on Luis Martins and Simon Becher for Ryan Raposo and Sergio Cordova. Followed by Déiber Caicedo for Ranko Veselinovic in the 79th minute.


Vancouver 1-0. 23rd minute. Maarten Paes with a WPIOBGW pass for an easy goal by Pedro Vite.

FC Dallas 1-1. 37th minute. The comeback is triggered by a stunning piece of work by Jader Obrian to set up Jesus Ferreira who makes a fantastic finish.

FC Dallas 2-1. 54th minute. Tsiki Ntsabeleng presses and creates the moment for Jesus Ferreira who again is the man of the moment and finishes.

Lo Bueno

Man of the Match could easily have been Jesus Ferreira with this brace. He was awesome. But I chose Tsiki Ntsabeleng for his overall outstanding game playing in a position he hasn’t really played since college. Coach Nico wanted him like an off-striker almost taking advantage of the gaps in the back and between the mids.

“I’ve played further forward most of my career, playing deeper in the field was newer to me. I’m feeling comfortable and confident that I can perform at a high level.”

Tsiki Ntsabeleng

Speaking of Jesus Ferreira, his finishing rate is superb right now. 3 shots of five on target, 2 goals. As we always say, quick 1 or 2 touch shots are when he’s at his best. He also had 2 key passes.

“I’m just setting personal goals for myself and trying to better myself for the team. I’m finding that rhythm I had again, getting into pockets and spaces in the box. My teammates are trusting me to be the guy to score goals, and I’m happy we did a good job today”

Jesus Ferreira

Jader Obrian was also excellent for the 2nd straight game. As I mentioned about three weeks ago he started showing in training. He’s more connected with this team and making good decisions and got 2 key passes and 5 shot-creating actions to show for it. He’s still Obrian so he missed the sitter but overall his game is peak for him right now.

When Coach Nico wants to roll with a straight-up 10 like this game, I’m totally fine with the Edwin Cerrillo / Facu Quignon combo underneath in certain games. Do I like one man in the double pivot to be an 8 usually? Yes, I do. But if the 10 is going to be working that high I can buy the double-6.

Bernard Kamungo had 16 duels in just 24 minutes. That’s amazing. He’s got a lot to learn still but so excited for this dude’s future.

Quietly good night be Ema Twumasi. 5 progressive carries (1st FCD), 6 progressive passes (2nd FCD), 4 shot-creating actions (2nd FCD) as he worked end to end.

Ema Twumasi pass and defense chart vs Vancouver Whitecaps, May 17, 2023. (Courtesy MLS)
Ema Twumasi pass and defense chart vs Vancouver Whitecaps, May 17, 2023. (Courtesy MLS)

Camino del Medio

Yes, the Paes pass was brutal bad. But he took responsibility like a boss and his team picked him up.

“The team is just focused on what we can do and control. We’re a team where everyone has the same goal. At the end of the day, we’re a team trying to win games, make the playoffs, and win the MLS Cup. We all know that when someone is down we have to support them and continue on and push the next person.”

Jesus Ferreira

While I for sure didn’t like the 3-4-3 – Dallas didn’t have the narrow wings on the field for it at the time – I loved the swap to the 5-4-1 when Sam Junqua came on. I would have liked that move to happen at the same time Sebas Ibbeagha was subbed in.

Muy Feo

The 15 shots for FC Dallas is actually a pretty good total for this squad. But just 3 shots on target isn’t. We like to see much closer to 50% than that. All three shots on target were by Jesus Ferreira. That’s not good for anyone else.

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