FRISCO - It was a very unique week in the Mailbag with a variety of questions, so let’s dive right in:
“What does Jesse Gonzalez need to do to improve his positioning? He seems to struggle a lot on free kicks.” - Sal Chichon
There’s a reason set pieces are so valuable, especially ones close to goal.
In reference to the Vancouver goal this weekend, Sal, there’s not much that could’ve been done on that beautiful free kick from Cristian Techera. We see that after the foul called on Barrios, Jesse sets a four-man wall - basically as many as you can cram in there and still have players available to handle any rebounds or second balls that come from the kick. Jesse lines up on his right side of the goal, allowing the wall to have coverage for the majority of the space behind it. Neither the wall nor Gonzalez fall for the trickery as Vancouver sends Montero in first and after Techera strikes it, everyone in the wall jumps.
We can see below that Kellyn is on the edge of the wall, but the goal scorer sends the ball around him - despite Kellyn’s best effort mid-jump to lean out and get a glancing header on it. Gonzalez picks up the ball’s trajectory right after it’s kicked and makes a sprint to his left, but cannot get there in time coming up a fingertip short. That’s a world-class goal that you just have to accept happens from time to time. If you’re splitting hairs, you could say that Gonzalez isn’t the most efficient with his first step, but even that might not be enough to stop a shot like that.
“Any truth to transfer rumors regarding Macnelly Torres and Hugo Rodallega?” - Ross Green
It’s silly season in MLS with transfer rumors abound, and I can say with absolute certainty after talking with Fernando Clavijo this weekend that Dallas has not had even one conversation about either of these players.
What happens many times in these situations is player agents are looking to create demand for their players, whether legitimate or fabricated, in their own contract negotiations. By leaking rumors to media, they’re looking to take advantage of the simplest of business principles: demand creates value. This isn’t the first and surely won’t be the last time Dallas is linked to a player it has never inquired about for this very reason.
"FC Dallas has a lot talented players, thus many call-ups for national teams have occurred recently. How does the coaching staff see these missing faces affecting lineup decisions and squad depth in the near future?” - Dominic
Dominic, I’ll tell you that Oscar Pareja believes in his team and his players, starting or not, more than anyone. It’s that belief that allows him to #PlayYourKids as they say and have those kids succeed because their head coach believes in them more then they often believe in themselves early on. It’s an obstacle for the team, no doubt, but it’s one they knew was on the horizon.
That being said, there’s always room for improvement and more depth at heavily-impacted positions and you might see a move in the summer window looking to add some help. When you’re talking about your top there options at center back (Matt Hedges, Walker Zimmerman and Maynor Figueroa) all missing for various reasons at the same time, it’s tough. You’re relying on a rookie in Walker Hume and a veteran who hasn’t played much time there in Atiba Harris stepping up. Oscar is totally ok with using those two, but if either one were to go down, now you’re in trouble. That’s where the team is at right now and that’s where their mindset will be in possible adding a little depth in the middle as an absolute worst case scenario backstop.