FRISCO, Texas – It was a tough decision but FC Dallas parted ways with head coach Luchi Gonzalez Sunday and instilled current Director of Soccer Operations Marco Ferruzzi to lead the team for the final eight games of the season.
“We appreciate Luchi’s time here at FC Dallas,” said FC Dallas President Dan Hunt in a press conference alongside Technical Director André Zanotta today. “He’s an amazing man and he did a lot of really great things here.
“This is not where we expected to be with eight games remaining in the season, to be in 11th place. The good news is we’re only seven points off the playoff line. We made a choice to make a change now because we believe we have an opportunity to still get into the playoffs and we think Marco is the right guy to help lead us.”
Dallas has one win in its last eight games and conceded 18 goals over that span—second most in MLS. The decision to bring in Ferruzzi was done with the belief that he can help solidify the team defensively and improve its chances of reaching the playoffs for a fourth-consecutive season. Dallas also leads the league in penalty kick goals conceded and yellow cards.
“Marco has such a great history at this club, great experience coaching in MLS,” Hunt continued. “Marco was the architect of a lot of our great teams on the defensive side. This is about moving forward now for FC Dallas. I’m incredibly thankful for Luchi but we think Marco can help lead us over these last eight games. There are some things we’ve got to obviously cure, some of it is on the defensive side. If we can help cure some of those things then I think we’ve still got chance to get in [the playoffs].”
Ferruzzi was assistant to various FCD head coaches from 2004 to 2019 and has previously led the team on an interim basis in 2008 when he amassed a 2-2-1 overall record. Both Hunt and Zanotta were insistent that – although he’s currently serving in an interim capacity again – Ferruzzi is also in contention for the permanent head coaching position.
As the club’s Technical Director, Zanotta will lead the search for outside candidates to fill the role. And, as Zanotta explains, the new coach will also need to believe in the club’s ethos of producing, promoting and playing Homegrown players.
“We always need to look at what the DNA of this club is,” he said. “We are a club known for and proud of developing players, we have no fear of playing young players. We want to continue to do that and the coach that we’ll find has to adapt to what this club is. Regardless of age or experience, he needs to believe in the DNA of this club and the process of taking young players to the first team, allowing them opportunities to play, and that will be something the new coach will have to have.”
Gonzalez was perhaps the embodiment of that ethos having been a former FCD Academy director himself. And while the club will again stick to that philosophy in its next hire, it will look to strike a balance between player development and coaching experience.
“We also want to bring in people are winners and who will help us being successful,” Hunt said. “It’s always a delicate balance. You will see us look for someone who has that development [aspect] but we also want good experience, someone who has proven they can win at the requisite level. Someone who can help us be successful in Major League Soccer.”