The Defense: Finding a Balance

FRISCO- It is no surprise that FC Dallas started the year with a solid defense, but through out the second half of the season the team has seen a lot of ups and downs. The defense has seen a total of 22 different changes since their winless streak began in the last nine games. So your question, how could the team defend the back of the net? There are two reasons to why you see a solid defense. 

1. The power to defend as a team. “It starts from the back to the center to the forwards”, said Oscar Pareja.

2. Lead the possession of the ball and recover it in a controlled environment. 

When the defense keeps the ball under control they help the midfielders recognize the opponent's moves. Recovering the ball in the back is necessary but the priority is to create situations in which the defense can easily anticipate the next pass of the opponent and read the opponents play. This is when defending as a team comes into play. When the forwards get the opportunity to create it allows the defense to know the next move of the attack. That is when the opposing team would be in the hands of the team. The reason? Well, the opponent would have a few opportunities and offensively eliminate the short ball and central passes. This would force long shots, something that the defense of FC Dallas would have no problem since it is one of the team's strengths. FC Dallas defense and center midfielders like Kellyn Acosta and Carlos Gruezo can control long shots. With a line-up of Walker Zimmerman, Matt Hedges, Atiba Harris and Maynor Figueroa height is definitely an advantage. These players measure between 5 feet 11 inches up to 6 feet 4 inches the shortest defender being Hernán Grana who measures 5 feet 7 inches but overall controlling the ball possession when it drops. 

In cases where the opponent tries to connect a shorter shot through a central channel, the midfielders and the defenders read the work easily and close the space. This is when Kellyn Acosta, Victor Ulloa along with Carlos Gruezo come into play. As a result, Dallas can regain possession and in this case, almost score on the counter-attack.

When the team finds a way in the final third and Dallas attack can control the opponent's space effectively; the importance of finishing the goal with single touches on the attack makes it a challenge to slip a pass between the lines or even take away the ball from FC Dallas. (TIME 00:25) 

The controlled efforts to regain possession and win the ball again when the opponent has possession is something defensive midfielder Carlos Gruezo concretes and constantly gains the ball back for the team such as the clip below against Minnesota at home. 


“The work Carlos Gruezo puts on the field to recover the ball is great and the structure he has helps us a lot”, said Victor Ulloa. 

In the last two matches, the final score allows us to see the defense that Oscar Pareja is seeing. The difficulties the team is facing allowing a total of ten goals scored against the FC Dallas team in the past five games. However in the last game, there were no goals scored against the FC Dallas defense who saw a total of 9 shots, including blocked shots from the Sounders. A defense that needs to be present when facing Minnesota United. 

“It’s important to trust each other and I think we have that, we have that within the group and whoever is available to step onto the pitch come this weekend is going to make the most of the opportunities. At the end of the day we have to go there and get three points”, said Atiba Harris.