FRISCO - For a team that had scored just once in its previous four matches, Oscar Pareja sent FC Dallas out in a new formation designed to create the offense.
It did just that in an eventual 3-3 draw with the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday night.
“I saw a lot of good things in that formation. It was clearer for the team to move the ball around,” the head coach said after the match. “The formation gave us a little more of a fluent game in the middle with Roland [Lamah] and Kellyn [Acosta] doing that job.”
A diversion from the usual 4-2-3-1 or 4-4-2, Dallas lined up in a 4-1-4-1 - Carlos Gruezo sitting back in the defensive midfield solo, with Acosta pushing up into a more attacking role alongside Lamah, moved into a more interior role. Tesho Akindele and Michael Barrios were tasked with running up and down the flanks with Maxi Urruti up top as the lone striker.
“Yeah, the coaches had a great game plan,” midfielder Victor Ulloa said, observing the new look from the bench to start the match. “The team was able to find [Acosta] and Lamah a little higher in those open spaces. They were able to create opportunities at the end of the first half.”
With the added emphasis on numbers forward and creating chances, the Dallas attack buried three goals in the span of six minutes of action. They had just two training sessions to get used to an unfamiliar shape and as the match went along, the team grew into the role.
It's a look Pareja said after the match they could continue to use going forward.
“I truly like it because its one of the positions I like to play as a ‘9,’” Urruti said. “Knowing that I had two great players such as [Roland] and Kellyn who can create [helps]. You can tell by the three goals we scored, but now we have to focus on Saturday, we have a few days to prepare for Columbus and on getting those three points.”