FRISCO, Texas – After struggling for playing time over his first six months in Dallas, forward Zdenek “Cobra” Ondrasek has scored four goals and added two assists in his last 215 on-field minutes. His introduction to Luchi Gonzalez’s starting lineup has also coincided with back-to-back home wins where FC Dallas outscored its opponents 8-2.
So, what exactly has Cobra added to FC Dallas’ attack?
Wielding a 6-foot-1 frame and a never-say-die attitude, Ondrasek’s in-game presence gives Dallas a focal point in the attack. His desire to occupy the 18-yard box and scrap for every inch of space is unique to Dallas’ forward line, and it gives his teammates a target to aim for when crossing the ball—something Dallas has done with more frequency and efficiency since his introduction.
“He (Ondrasek) has been a great reference in the box to get on the end of crosses; early crosses, deep crosses.” Gonzalez told SiriusXM FC (channel 157) on Monday. “We’re scoring more rebound goals because he’s anticipating in there.”
Essentially, Ondrasek is playing as a traditional target-forward tasked with getting on the end of crosses and holding the ball up to bring teammates into play. While this role isn’t revolutionary, it has given Dallas another dimension going forward.
Earlier this season, Dallas struggled to turn its dominant possession and passing numbers into goals. Recently, however, Cobra’s traditional forward play has helped curb that trend.
“The team went through a process in preseason where we really tried to build a very possession-oriented idea to really to dominate the ball, to put the team in positional possession games,” Gonzalez said. “Where we’ve evolved and where we’ve become more effective has been our ability to penetrate and be efficient in the last third (of the field); to be more practical.”
While Ondrasek has only recently begun scoring goals and earning starts, coach Gonzalez is always quick to underline the forward’s faultless work-ethic and attitude even during the leaner times.
“Cobra has gone through a process where he didn’t get a lot of opportunities early in the season and midseason,” Gonzalez said. “But he never stopped working, he never stopped showing respect for the team’s goals. He was always a good teammate. He was still looking to be a good student and to learn the ideas and what was expected of him. He’s earned these recent opportunities; he’s just always been ready.
“He got an opportunity in Montreal and he hasn’t let go of it, and I don’t see him letting go of it anytime soon because he’s really adapted.”
You can hear Jason Davis on SiriusXM FC's "United States of Soccer", channel 157, every weekday from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. CT. Listen to an excerpt of the interview below, courtesy of SiriusXM, or listen on SiriusXM on demand (subscription required).