FRISCO - As FC Dallas gets set to host the Portland Timbers on Saturday afternoon (2:30 on UniMas and Twitter), there’s an ever-growing intrigue as to who might be starting in the attacking half of the lineup.
Coming into the season, on paper Santiago Mosquera was your starter on the left wing, but after a brace and assist performance from Roland Lamah at that spot on Sunday, it’s a conversation as to who is the better option. It’s a conversation surrounding several different positions or formation looks for Oscar Pareja’s side, and one that likely won’t have a definitive answer going forward.
“It drives a lot of competition even with guys on the team trying to fight for those starting spots and try to make their case for why the need to be on the field,” Ryan Hollingshead said this week. “Everybody has kind of their own little thing that they do, their own style, so different games kind of call for different players, different styles.”
Through four competitive matches in 2018, FCD has used two starting formations and 16 different players across four different lineups, while utilizing seven different players off the bench. Between Maxi Urruti, Michael Barrios, Mauro Diaz, Mosquera, Lamah, Cristian Colman, Tesho Akindele and even Paxton Pomykal, the options in not only who is on the field, but how they are positioned is almost endless.
“The variation on the attack it gives us different options,” Pareja said of the different ways different players can impact his team. “The characteristics that all of them have are different and it just gives us that luxury of having certain moments of the game whether its starting or game to game or just coming in late in the game, it has a different impact on the field and that luxury is great and healthy for the team.”
There are only so many limited positions on the field, meaning the rest reside on the sidelines to start, available to come in and change the match in any number of ways.
That depth could prove to be a decisive factor later in Saturday’s match. Coming off a 4-0 loss to the Red Bulls two weeks ago, Portland saw a 1-0 scoreline explode with a trio of New York goals in the final 15 minutes. When you consider the attacking options available on Dallas’ bench, Pareja possesses several dangerous options late in games if he needs a goal.
“I feel like historically our bench has done that, we’ve had solid bench guys coming in that have been able to change games and bring a spark to the game,” said Hollingshead, whose versatility at outside back or winger in the midfield gives Pareja an added threat on the bench. “I think there is even a depth now - more than we’ve had in the past - that really any of the seven guys on the bench could sub in anytime. It hasn’t always been that way but it’s a good problem to have.”