FC Dallas have looked to dominate possession thus far under Luchi Gonzalez. Here is how their passing accuracy and possession-based style leads to goals, especially late on in matches as evidenced by their last-gasp 2-2 draw with the Montreal Impact.
FC Dallas have superbly executed the 4-3-3 formation in the early part of the 2020 MLS season. In all last season, Dallas used some type of 4-3-3 formation in all but six of their MLS games. This included the 6-0 thumping of Sporting Kansas City.
The Impact utilized a back-three-based formation which frequently shifted into a back five when defending deep. The conservative approach from Impact head coach Thierry Henry was a successful one, initially. Maxi Urruti scored twice against his former club to hand Montreal a 2-0 advantage.
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But then the FC Dallas fightback came. Zdenek Ondrasek first answered with a volleyed header in the 83rd minute, and then, to the amazement of the home supporters, 17-year-old forward Ricardo Pepi equalized during a goalmouth scramble in the sixth minute of stoppage time.
Coaches and players expressed disappointment afterwards that FC Dallas didn’t get the win at home. What enabled FC Dallas to wear down was their 58.9% possession for the game, resulting from their 84% passing accuracy.
18-year-old Dallas midfielder Tanner Tessmann figured highest in the passing category, attempting 44 of them, 42 of which were accurate. He was metronomic in the heart of the Dallas midfield, the embodiment of the neat and tidy interplay the Gonzalez’s players have mastered.
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Dallas did have 18 shots in the match, but only five of them were on target. Moreover, seven came from outside the penalty area and none were inside the six-yard box, a clear illustration of the difficulty they had in breaking down the Impact defense. Had Montreal chosen a more conventional strategy on the pitch than their evolving blockade, FC Dallas might have had a chance at three points.
However, what was crucial for FC Dallas was the turning-the-screw-type pressure that their dominance in possession exerted on Montreal. In the final 22 minutes, Dallas had five shots. Four of them came from within the penalty area. They scored both goals in the final ten minutes and had three of their five shots on target in that same period.
FC Dallas created their best opportunities in the final moments of the match. Why? Because of the control they possessed throughout the match. Their dominance of the ball forced Montreal to cover lots of ground. Fatigue sets in, mistakes are made, and space opens up to be exploited in the closing stages. This is the point of dominating possession, as Gonzalez is keen to do.
Next week, FC Dallas face New York City FC. There will no low block to beat. Space will be aplenty. and their domination of possession and supreme passing accuracy might just be cashed in for goals and three points.