FRISCO - It wasn't quite the debut FC Dallas was looking for under Luchi Gonzalez, but with a point now to his name, the new head coach will head into Week 2 with some improvement still to do with his roster.
Before we turn the page on the 2019 opener, let's take a look at what we learned Saturday's 1-1 draw.
Dallas put forth an opening-weekend high 67.6 percent possession in Gonzalez's debut, but managed a single goal and just three shots on target against the Revs. While FCD was able to control the ball - in-part because New England was content sitting back and defending - things weren't clicking inside the final third.
The home side took a heavy lean to the right side and the combination of Michael Barrios and Reggie Cannon, but the number of unsuccessful passes completed into the area left the buildup with something to be desired after 90 minutes. Barrios' lone goal, after all, came from a 60-yard run on the counter.
"We could’ve been a little more clinical in the box. We had a lot of good crosses, a lot of good opportunities that if we were just a half step ahead we would’ve put in," forward Dominique Badji said on the matter after the match. "The positive is we had those chances. We created a lot of good chances, we were solid defensively and that goal is something we can avoid. I think if we clean up those things and get to the end of balls then we’ll be fine."
Coming out of the gate in the first half, Dallas appeared to be firing on all cylinders. The Revs got an early attempt at goal from distance just 77 seconds in, but from there, FCD rattled off three chances, including the goal.
After the half, it was a different story. New England dominated the opening 15 minutes of the second frame, with three chances and a goal of their own to boast. Dallas re-gained momentum in the minutes following Carles Gil's 57th minute strike, but couldn't overcome the mental and physical lapse of a slow second half start.
It's undoubtedly a learning moment for the team still finding its footing under a new coach and a new style, but one they won't have much time to make up for with an LA Galaxy team coming to town in Week 2 that can strike at a moment's notice.
Perhaps the biggest statement of the opening week came as the lineups were submitted on Saturday. The Starting XI came with very little surprise, but it was the bench that proved where the club is headed in 2019.
Homegrowns Paxton Pomykal and Jesus Ferreira were the two substitutions on the afternoon - the latter beating out offseason signing Zdenek Ondrasek for the opening roster - and fellow Homegrown Edwin Cerrillo made the cut in his first professional game, just over two weeks removed from signing. Cerrillo perhaps benefitted from an MCL strain Brandon Servania suffered in the club's final preseason match, but regardless, it'll be a Homegrown fighting for minutes in the midfield behind Carlos Gruezo. Even 17-year-old Thomas Roberts was the final cut from the 18-man roster, seen warming up at Toyota Stadium before the match as the customary 19th man.
Another surprise to some was the inclusion of No. 10 overall pick John Nelson over Marquinhos Pedroso, who hasn't been able to return to full form since offseason core muscle repair surgery. At just 20 years old, the versatile defender has impressed the coaching staff during much of preseason and could be in line for an immediate impact in 2019.
While an overnight switch to the kids wasn't quite in the cards under Luchi Gonzalez, they're on the cusp of taking over. What we will see this season is more regular playing time for the youngsters.