Real Salt Lake are on the road to take on FC Dallas. It’s a matchup that Dallas has traditionally been the stronger team, but RSL are off to a better start to 2021 than the home team. We reached out to Drew Epperley of Big D Soccer to get some insight on this Dallas team.
What are the important moves Dallas made this offseason and how have those players impacted the team so far?
FC Dallas brought in several players before the preseason began from overseas. For the most part, all of them have made some sort of impact early on. Jose Martinez has been an every-game starter in the defense. He came in from Spain and has experience in La Liga. Winger Jader Obrian was the top scorer in Colombia last year and he’s already leading the team in goals scored with FC Dallas. Freddy Vargas is another winger who has started all but one game this season as well. Those were the three main additions outside of the club adding their usual allotment of draft picks and Homegrown players.
FC Dallas have had a lackluster start to the season – what do they need to do to improve their results?
Right now it comes down to getting the offense going in a manner that fans expect. When you have a nearly $3 million striker in Designated Player Franco Jara, you expect goals. Right now, he’s not producing any, and fans are extremely frustrated with him because of that. Part of that is the lack of service he is getting. Obrian isn’t a winger that really provides you any service and Vargas does have good crossing abilities but he’s still figuring things out in MLS. Another issue has been getting their young core on the field as Paxton Pomykal has been given limited minutes off the bench, Jesus Ferreira has been sidelined with a shoulder injury (many believe he would be starting right now over Jara if that weren’t the case), and Ricardo Pepi has only been given one start.
Defensively, Luchi Gonzalez has been trying a couple of different formations that have brought in extra defenders with two wing-backs and three central defenders. That has caused the midfield to be stretched and struggle to create service as well.
One could argue that FC Dallas have had more success with their academy players than even RSL (though I’m not sure why one would argue that). Who are the up-and-coming academy players to watch for Dallas in this game and this season?
I’ve mentioned Pomykal, Ferreira, and Pepi, but there is also Tanner Tessmann, a midfielder who has gotten a USMNT cap under his belt in the last year. Tessmann has been starting the last couple of games in the middle of the midfield alongside FC Dallas’ other Designated Player, Bryan Acosta. Then there is Eddie Munjoma, a right back that has been waiting in the wings behind the likes of Reggie Cannon and Bryan Reynolds, both of who were sold overseas in the last year.
The club also has plenty of other HGPs waiting in the wings as well, including one (Justin Che) that could be on the verge of being sold to Bayern Munich in the coming weeks.
Our answers to Big D Soccer’s questions are available on their website.