FRISCO - FC Dallas is back in Frisco and getting back to work Tuesday morning as they look ahead to hosting Minnesota United FC on Saturday night. Before we turn the page to Week 25, let’s take a couple quick lessons from Sunday’s 2-1 loss in Seattle.
In his first start with FCD, Dominique Badji showed glimpses of just what he brings to the table for his new club, but also how there’s work left to do as he continues to mesh with his new teammates.
Overall, his 62 minutes on the road was self-described as a lackluster debut. Badji made 16 touches, completed 4 of 6 passes and made one tackle. The forward would get just one shot in the match, but it was all he would need finishing a nice build up sequence from his teammates on the left side with a shot from the edge of the six-yard box.
“It was tough. I bring a lot more to the game than what I showed, especially in the first half,” he said. “I have to keep going. The game is not going to slow down for you so I just have to adapt, which is going to take a couple games but there was glimpses there that showed I am going to get a lot of chances to score goals here.”
He’s going to get those chances because of the work being done around him. Badji’s not a flashy, technical striker, but when he gets fed a chance in a dangerous area, he’s going to convert.
The forward’s role at the top of the formation and his speed is going to cause headaches for opposing defenses. Dallas can either play a long ball to him, either in stride as he breaks the back line, or they can feed him to hold up the ball and play Michael Barrios, Roland Lamah and Maxi Urruti coming in support.
Bottom line is it will take some time and a few games for the chemistry of Dallas’ new front to fully develop, but for just one full week of practice together, they’re already seeing the potential on the field.
FROM THE LEFT
Not only did he play a key role on Dallas’ lone goal, but Marquinhos Pedroso was instrumental on the left side for FCD all night long.
Look no further than the opening three minutes, when the left back saved a near-goal from the Sounders in transition making a tracking run back to his own box for a clearance.
As the opening half wore on, Dallas switched Barrios to the left wing and the combination of he and Pedroso funneled the bulk of the attack down their side time and time again until Badji was subbed out in the 62nd minute.
Pedroso led the team with six tackles and 82 touches overall, and if goals extended to a third assist, he’d have his well-deserved first helper since joining the club. It was the defender’s original cross in that Urruti and then Barrios played to Badji on the doorstep.
His role has continued to grow over the course of his first three MLS matches and Sunday was Pedroso’s best performance yet on both sides of the ball.
SET PIECE STRUGGLE
If we’re only counting run-of-play goals, FC Dallas has three points to their name on the weekend instead of zero. Both Sounders goals in the match came from set plays, and both left frustration abound on the Dallas bench.
In the first half, Dallas gave Seattle a franchise-record 11 corners. It was three shy of Dallas’ highest concession mark for an entire match this season (their 14 over the course of the night did set a new season-high). Coming into the match, the Sounders had just one goal from a set piece all season, but with that many chances from the flag, they were bound to get something out of it.
On the opening goal, veteran Chad Marshall makes a diagonal run through the area, losing his mark in Matt Hedges at the penalty spot and lunging in front of Urruti for a header.
Disappointing going into the locker room, for sure, but averaging a corner every four minutes to that point, Seattle was well rehearsed on how Dallas was defending them.
The bigger frustration comes on the second goal - a Nicolas Loderio in-swinger from a low angle that goes through the line untouched and curls past Jesse Gonzalez, who was expecting someone to get a head on the ball regardless of the jersey.
A perfectly-placed ball from Lodeiro, and credit where due there, but Dallas has to be better. Gonzalez is a little handicapped with the low trajectory of the free kick, unable to come out and make a claim or punch. Roland Lamah has the best chance to make a clearance, but he’s too far back in the box and another diagonal run from Marshall disrupts anyone else from getting to the ball.
Without the two breakdowns, it was a solid road performance in a difficult environment that could’ve left a much better taste in the mouth, but Dallas now heads back home with it’s first back-to-back losses since mid-2017.