FRISCO - As FC Dallas heads into the second week under Luchi Gonzalez, his high-pressing style will face its biggest test yet (literally) against the LA Galaxy.
The inherent high-risk, high-reward of playing a high line can set a team up with prime opportunities off of a forced turnover, but if an opponent can break the line, it can quickly become a numbers advantage in their favor on the counter. Add in a world-class striker like the 6-foot-5 Zlatan Ibrahimovic - who has shown he can score with just an inch of space from just about anywhere - the stakes become even higher.
"We have to be ready," Gonzalez said this week. "He's going to want to make a difference in the game and whether he's playing great or not, he's always dangerous. We have to be ready for that and make sure there's pressure and cover and there are players trying to take away time and space whenever he's involved in a play."
"Attacking-wise, they have a lot of great players who can create chances and score goals," defender Matt Hedges admitted. He also sees the style of play Dallas wants as more of a reward than a risk.
"I think the high press will help us. If we can win the ball high up the field, we can negate the chances those guys have. If they don't get the ball very much, they won't have very many chances."
FCD debuted its pressing scheme against the New England Revolution last week and prevented quality chances throughout much of the match. The visitors a week ago, though, were noticeably comfortable sitting back and conceding possession - not really testing Dallas' ability to control a team looking to break it at high volume.
Against the Galaxy, who score a third-best 66 goals a year ago and very clearly want to score, it'll be a different story.
"They're a very offensive-minded team and they like to go forward, so we have to be compact and know how to play," midfielder Paxton Pomykal said. "We have to worry about them, but at the same time we have to worry about us more and play our game. If we do our concepts and play the way we want to and implement our possession and all the things we want to do in the game, I think we'll get the victory."