The first game wasn’t the result that FC Dallas wanted. In this regard, the FCD players are clear. A draw with the Colorado Rapids wasn’t the worst start to the 2021 season, but it was hardly the best.
But lose this Saturday in the first away game of the season? That’s something no one on the list wants to do. While it’s only week two, Saturday afternoon’s game against the San Jose Earthquakes at PayPal Park is one that FCD players know must win.
“There were positive things and things that needed improvement,” center-back Jose Martinez said this week. “I think we have a very clear path with very clear things that we have to work on. It wasn’t the result we wanted. We didn’t want a draw, we wanted a home win in front of our fans, but now you have to keep your head calm. “
After every goalless draw, the idea is to make the attack more energetic and create more scoring opportunities in the future. This is especially true for a Dallas FC team that struggled to find the bottom of the network in 2020 but was hoping that this year would be different after the front line was overhauled.
A couple of new wingers – Freddy Vargas and Jader Obrian – joined in the off-season but didn’t disrupt the Rapids’ backline for the first week.
Midfielder Paxton Pomykal, who came on as a second-half substitute to light a fire under attack, said the newcomers had adapted quickly, which should soon be seen on the field.
“When you watch this game you probably think we’re a bit behind, but when personally I’m with the guys in practice and in the locker room every day like I am, I don’t think so at all”, said Pomykal said. “I think we know how we want to play. All of the guys have integrated very well – Jose, Freddy, Jader, they all come in and make an instant impression.
“I think a lot of people will see that in the upcoming games.”
The Quakes are also looking for an upturn after a disappointing start to the season and fall 2-1 against the Houston Dynamo. The Northern California team is led by Matias Almeyda, an Argentine who has enjoyed success as a player both in his home country and in Europe, and who has subsequently completed successful coaching spells in Argentina and Mexico.
Things didn’t go too well in San Jose, but Almeyda still employs a unique defense scheme where players have to find a player from front to back and stay with him no matter where he goes.
These improvements make the Quakes a team to prepare for, regardless of where San Jose is at the table or how they opened the season.
“It is imperative to adapt to them because if you don’t, there will be too much movement and too many unpredictable moments that San Jose can cause for you and that if you are not organized and prepared for them will hurt you” said head coach Luchi said Gonzalez.
Even so, the FCD would like to continue to build on what Gonzalez hopes will characterize their side. Things like holding the ball, building from behind, and timing the press in a way that makes it difficult for opponents to get out of their half.
Not enough of these things happened in the opener, with large divisions between defense and attack, with midfield disappearing.
That could lead Gonzalez to play with his starting lineup. After using a 4-3-3 with a low-lying midfielder sitting behind two two-way midfielders, Gonzalez opted for a 3-4-3 last week. Should he return to the four, he will have to decide who will play the defensive midfield role after the club surprisingly sold Thiago Santos to the Brazilian club Gremio a few weeks before the start of the season.
Whether the local players Edwin Cerrillo or Tanner Tessmann at this point or when Bryan Acosta slips back and makes room for another player to come into midfield with Andres Ricaurte, the FCD will continue to look for all three points that result in a win in San Jose accompanied .
“We have to earn more points,” said Gonzalez. “We didn’t do enough of it to get a home seed last year, and that makes a difference. I don’t know if Columbus will win the MLS Cup if they play the cup in Seattle last year. There are so many games ahead of the playoffs but we have to get every possible away point. We want to improve that this year. “
This is only possible if the team can also improve their performance from the first week onwards.
Jon Arnold is a contributor to The Striker Texas, which works with The Dallas Morning News to cover FC Dallas and other notable Texas football stories. For more soccer reports, visit thestrikertexas.com.