FRISCO, Texas – FC Dallas plays host to Montreal Impact on Saturday, March 7 as the club looks to get its first 2-0-0 start to an MLS campaign for the first time since 2015.
Here’s three things to keep eye on during the 90 minutes on Saturday afternoon.
Midfield Double Pivot
In last Saturday’s 2-0 win over Philadelphia, new signings Thiago Santos and Tanner Tessmann formed a strong partnership in the center of FCD’s midfield. They played in a double pivot behind the third midfielder, Jesus Ferreira, who pushed higher up the field and was mainly a third attacker. You can see in Opta’s Average Position diagram from the game that Santos (No. 5) and Tessmann (No. 15) are side by side in a double pivot while Ferreira (No. 7) essentially played as another striker.
In the double pivot, one of the two holding midfielders can have license to drift forward to join the attack while the other midfielder holds back to protect the space. We saw that a few times when Santos made driving runs forward with the ball, Tessmann would remain back to protect the back four. Late in the game, we saw the opposite as Tessmann made a long run forward to assist Paxton Pomykal for FCD’s second goal. With Bryan Acosta and Brandon Servania still recovering from injuries, Tessmann will likely start again this Saturday and reprise his role as one-half of the double pivot in the midfield alongside Santos. Watch how the two work together without the ball to block passing lanes and win back possession. And, once Dallas has possession, see how one moves forward to join the attack while the other remains back in his own defensive third.
While Dallas began the game in Luchi’s go-to 4-3-3 formation, they switched to a 3-5-2 once Bressan subbed in for Fafa Picault in the 65th minute. Bressan became the third center back alongside Reto Ziegler and Matt Hedges while Reggie Cannon and Ryan Hollingshead pushed further forward as wing backs on either side. Also, Michael Barrios shifted from the right wing to be a second striker alongside Kobra. The formation change allowed Dallas to have a back-five without the ball and transition into a back-three once they won possession, allowing them to close-out the game relatively comfortably. If Dallas has a lead this Saturday against Montreal, we may see a similar substitution and formation change to help protect the advantage.
Pomykal Super Sub
Due to offseason surgery and an interrupted preseason, Pomykal had to settle for a spot on the bench in Saturday’s home opener. However, Luchi sent him on with 15 minutes left to provide energy and close-down Philly’s midfielders to close out the game. Pomykal did just that and sealed the victory with an impressive goal in stoppage time. Since he’s still gaining match fitness, Pomykal will likely begin this Saturday’s game against Montreal on the bench once again. If the game is still in the balance at the hour mark, watch out for another super sub appearance from the American international.