The Moose downs the Loons as FC Dallas wins 5-3

The Peter Luccin era jumped up another notch with a 5-3 win over Minnesota United. Petar Musa bagged a hat-trick with goals for fellow forwards Jesus Ferreira and Logan Farrington.

Coach Luccin dabbled in some light rotation from his debut win at the weekend. Four changes came in the form of Sam Junqua returning in place of Omar Gonzalez. Liam Fraser replaced Sebastian Lletget in the midfield with Tsiki Ntsabeleng coming in for Patrickson Delgado in that free-8 style role. Bernard Kamungo got the start over Marco Farfan.

The social media graphic displayed the shape as a 3-4-3, and it certainly played that way defending the ball but Luccin corrected me:

“We started with a back four from the first half. It was to read them a little bit because we know they would start in a 5-2-3. So we thought with Sam [Junqua] coming inside and building with just two center backs, just between the nine that they have, it helped us to have more freedom and space to play.”

Minnesota United welcomed back a couple of the 12 players missing from the 1-1 tie that ultimately cost Nico Estevez his job, but still listed seven players out between international duty (four) and injury (three).

Luccin said the energy was there in Saturday’s win but the quality lacked. The same could be said about the opening spell of this game, with players still finding their way in the tweaked 3-4-3. Tsiki Ntsabeleng particularly struggled to get into positions to carry the ball.

The first couple of half-chances came from nothing and the opening goal was much the same in the 17th minute. Paul Arriola lifted a ball over the MNUFC back line from midfield. Petar Musa did well to stay onside, holding off Miguel Tapias on the right side of the box before finishing low from a tight angle.

“I think we play more vertically towards the goal,” Musa said. “We are more offensive now, we have a lot of players who run behind and we started playing more attacking football. We scored five goals at home so you can see from the build up that we play attacking soccer. I am very happy about the new style we are implementing.”

The Moose’s timing was a little less exact seven minutes later. A nice finish from a Jesus Ferreira through ball but the goal was flagged offside.

The Loons started to work their way back into the game. Bongokuhle Hlongwane should have scored off a close range volley, but whiffed at the neatly chipped ball. Another shot forced Maarten Paes to parry, but he was beaten from close range in the 32nd minute. Joseph Rosales delivered a corner from the Dallas left, Hlongwane nipped up in front of Paes to direct the ball past what would have been a routine catch.

The hosts regained the lead six minutes later through Musa. Ntsabeleng took a while to settle into the game, but found Bernie Kamungo down the left with a nicely weighted pass. Kamungo let the ball run, playing a first touch low cross that Victor Eriksson got a touch on. The ball held up just in time for Musa to stab home on the volley for his seventh goal.

Another moment of quality lacking came in the 40th minute with an excellent opportunity to attack after Musa knocked on a Burn clearance for Kamungo to chase after. The Tanzanian forward brought the ball to the edge of the box under pressure, but hesitated to release the ball with Jesus Ferreira clear down the Dallas right.

Luccin made a half time change as Marco Farfan replaced Sam Junqua to put the team into what looked like a single pivot 4-3-3.

As Dallas readied their next changes, Minnesota United equalized with a bit of a luck from both posts. Hassani Dotson ran onto a loose ball, shooting low from 24-yards. Paes pushed the shot onto his right post, with the ball nestling in the goal after catching the inside of the other post.

The two changes came immediately, with Sebastian Lletget subbing in for Ntsabeleng, and Dante Sealy coming on for Kamungo.

FC Dallas’ record signing wasn’t finished yet, completing his first career hat-trick in the 62nd minute. Arriola again popped a nice ball out of the midfield, with Lletget the target this time. The former LA Galaxy midfielder held off a challenge by DJ Taylor, laying the ball off to Musa for the first-time finish in the box.

Musa made way for Logan Farrington in the 71st minute after receiving a bit of a hockey check by Michael Boxhall. Aside from a bang to the jaw, the Croatian didn’t seem too shaken up, and confirmed as much after the game.

With Minnesota pressuring a delicate one-goal lead once more, Jesus Ferreira got an insurance goal in the 75th minute. Liam Fraser intercepted a loose ball in the midfield, finding Logan Farrington who held the ball just long enough for Ferreira to make space down the left. The FCD forward grabbed his fourth of the year before making way for Omar Gonzalez in the 83rd minute. Dallas went back to a three-back to defend the lead.

There was a strong case for a second straight game with a Minnesota red card in the 88th minute as Boxhall and Dante Sealy tussled for a ball running through toward the Loons’ goal. The New Zealander went to ground under a shoulder-to-shoulder challenge, then brought down Sealy. Referee Sergii Demianchuk ruled the initial challenge a foul much to the dismay of another 19,096 crowd at Toyota Stadium.

Dallas made it in the final seconds of regulation with Logan Farrington grabbing his first MLS goal with a nice individual effort. Lletget picked up a deflected Farrington pass. The rookie made a forward run, for Lletget to send him clear down the right side. A few twists and turns ended with a neat left-footed finish between two defenders.

Minnesota United were able to pull one back in the ninth minute of stoppage time from the spot. With FCD lining up to defend a corner, the referee was called to the monitor after a lengthy VAR check. Logan Farrington had blocked a free kick in the wall, leading to the corner. On review, his arm came out as the young striker turned for a pretty straight-forward decision. Wil Trapp dispatched the penalty for a 5-3 result and two wins out of two for Luccin.

A pair of wins playing fun attacking soccer. Maybe not the most polished, but tactical versatility, effective rotation and substitutions. There’s a good feeling as the team flies out to Seattle Thursday ahead of Luccin’s first away game in charge.

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