FC Dallas coach Luchi Gonzalez: 'It's a privilege to work with our players and staff'

FC Dallas, MLS's youngest team, picked up its biggest win of the 2019 MLS season under first-year coach Luchi Gonzalez when it beat defending champion Atlanta United, 2-1, before 43,351 fans at Mercedes Benz Stadium.

Atlanta United has been struggling with a 1-3-2 record now through six games, but it had what new coach Frank de Boer said was its best performance of the season. It had more than 70 percent of possession and still lost, suffering its first defeat at home in almost 11 months.

"It’s a privilege to work with our players and staff," said Gonzalez, "and to have a game like we did, in terms of a result."

Here's what FC Dallas did right ...

1. Michael Barrios was again outstanding. Jesus Ferreira scored in the second consecutive game and has goals in the last three wins, and Honduran Bryan Alvarez came off the bench to add to the lead in the 84th minute. Both goals were set up by Colombian winger Michael Barrios.

“Mikey is a very dynamic player with speed and has great movements in behind," Gonzalez said. "If [Atlanta left back] Brek [Shea] was going to commit forward and they lost possession, it was a space that we felt we could attack. It’s one option, and it ended up helping us on the second goal."

2. Youth prevailed again. Even with a change in formation that resulted in one midfielder being sacrificed, FC Dallas won playing with three teens in the front five. Ferreira, 18, and Barrios were joined in the attack by 19-year-old Paxton Pomykal.

Edwin Cerrillo, 18, started his fifth straight game and picked up his first assist, triggering the counterattack that led to Alvarez's goal with a long ball into space to Barrios.

Ferreira, Pomykal and Cerrillo were among five Homegrown Players who started along with goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez, 23, and right back Reggie Cannon, 20.



3. Formation change stifled Atlanta attack. After going with a 4-3-3 formation in the first six games, Luchi Gonzalez switched things up, playing a 3-4-1-2, giving Brazilian Bressan his first start as a third center back and employing Ryan Hollingshead and Cannon as wing backs.

“If you saw, they were breaking their lines to the opposition's outside backs," said Gonzalez, "so we were encouraging Ryan and Reggie to put pressure on the opponent and then we felt we were defensively sound with three occupying Josef Martinez’s space.

4. Late-game management has improved. FC Dallas has now taken the lead in its last five games. The problem has been sustaining its effort in the second half. Atlanta dominated the game, finishing with 22 shots, but Gonzalez said he saw improvement in how FC Dallas closed out the game, getting a second goal from Acosta before Martinez converted a late penalty kick.

“Closing a game is difficult in this league, in any venue, let alone this one," said Gonzalez. "We knew they were going to commit numbers there at the end. We talked about it during the week, if we have the opportunity to have an advantage and how we can close a game better that we need to continue to get pressure on the ball, continue to counter and open spaces."

Photo: Atlanta United

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10 comments about "FC Dallas coach Luchi Gonzalez: 'It's a privilege to work with our players and staff'".
  1. frank schoon, April 21, 2019 at 11:39 a.m.

    Watched the game, although Atlanta lost, they dominatied 70% of the game. The goals that were scored were counterattacking breakaways, of which the last goal was ,understandable s, create in the last few minutes when Atlanta was pushing further up to get a goal.
    The object of soccer is to CREATE chances to score. In that dept. Atlanta came out on top and much better than Dallas, who had difficulty moving the ball around ;therefore , you can't say Atlanta didn't play well.The ball just wouldn't go in, it's one of those games. 
    Nagbe, although I'm not a fan of his play, has improved tremendously, and I consider him one of the most improved American players with limited technical skills. De Boer has taught him how to be efficient with the ball, meaning no longer running around playing UPS soccer. He knows his limitations. The problem I see with Nagbe right now, as a his next step for improvement, is that his passes don't beat opponents, but at least his passes are going to players who are open. Furthermore, because he is not really gifted as a distributor type and more of a defender he needs to learn to position better off the ball around midfield for availability. Because of de Boer ,Nagbe is also moving the ball faster. The problem with Nagbe as with all limited technical players is that he is slow in small spaces, he doesn't think a step ahead, and therefore only reacts to the situation.l think Breck Shea, should retire from soccer. For a flank player he's too slow and plays in one tempo, running wise and ball handling wise. And realize he's is leftfooted ,playing on the leftflank, and should be able to make beautiful ,bending away hard crosses. He seems to have plenty of time to cross the ball, but like so many players today crossing the ball is crossing without feel or direction, it's a just whack of the ball and hoping for the best. Gressel had the same problems. Every coach should force these flank player ,after practice, to work on their own doing about 50 crosses. I remember Kaltz of Hamburg back in the 80's ,a back coming up producing crosses that were dangerous each time, on target.
    I've never seen such garbage crosses today in soccer. The kicking techniques is awful . If it weren't for the stands behind the goal, many of the balls from crosses would end up in the parking lot whereby you have to go underneath the cars to find the ball...NEXT POST

  2. beautiful game replied, April 21, 2019 at 1:50 p.m.

    Frank...you're bigger picture of soccer talent is quite lengthy. IMHO, i.e., your critique of players that are not able to deliver proper crosses should be taken in proper context; and that is, well not rounded players bring little to the table because they lack fundamental technical skills which limit their execution and efficacy. MLS is loaded with players who are mediocre in talent and can't execute basics. As far as I know, counter-attacking is part of the game amigo, and if you don't like it, you've made your point. My personal distate of the game is the plethora of camera's on the pitch which provide hundreds of player closeups which has nothing to do with the game at hand and is a disjointed effort in KISS. This has become a theme in every televised sport. That to me is more annoying than the wannabe talent on the pitch. BTW, I love conter-attacking when it's executed properly.

  3. frank schoon replied, April 21, 2019 at 2:14 p.m.

    BG. I don't like counterattacking soccer as a style but used when the situation is called for in a game. Kicking long balls as a style is bad for it becomes too predictable but kicking a long ball surprising the opponent is fine. In other, short passes, long passes, counter- attacking, building up combinational passes all should be incorporated for that keeps the opponent off guard.
    Soccer should be played in a manner that keeps opponents guessing and making them prepared for the obvious. I can't believe I have to explain something so basic!!!!  This should be common sense....

  4. Bob Ashpole replied, April 21, 2019 at 10:39 p.m.

    Yes, BG, counterattacking is supposed to be a part of the game, but not the whole game.

  5. frank schoon, April 21, 2019 at 11:57 a.m.

    The other problem I see, since Atlanta is so dominant forcing other teams to pack it in, makes it more difficult for Martinez not only to find space, but also  many of the balls he now receives are with his back facing the goal. There are fewer breakaways, this year. Almeron's, who created space  and time for Martinez, absence this year has forced more of the focus upon Martinez to score, putting more weight on his shoulders. The accuracy of the passes to Martinez are likewise not the best. On the front line it is only Martinez with good scoring capabilities, no one else...
    I'm not impressed with Atlanta's backline, I expected more from the new Argentinian centerback  they bought. At least ,coming from Argentina, he should be dominant with the ball coming up to midfield, a la Beckenbauer. He should fill in what Nagbe lacks...
    It is a learning curve for many of the players on Atlanta because this will be the first time they are learning the 4-3-3 system in how it should be played which requires a higher level of play, such as more accurate passing, the timing of the pass, the velocity of the pass, the positioning for the pass, and more important the 3rd man off the ball which is not being taught to them currently which first the aforementioned, everything they do is in duo not triplicate. What DeBoer is giving US soccer more high level details of play which hopefully will seep into the American DNA of soccer.
    I hope DeBoer will be invited to a US coaching congress and make him explain the real ins and outs of 4-3-3 soccer. That would be money worth spending for there are so many details, the nuances not known about this game.
    I have no idea why I see a players today either applaud or give a thumbs up to having received well intentioned pass but was off  the mark. In the old days when passes were more accurate, if the receiver  would a give a thumbs up or applaud it would have meant to be an insult  to the player who attempted the pass.  This is how bad the passing skills have gotten.....

  6. John Soares, April 21, 2019 at 12:50 p.m.

    Breakaway, counterattack......goals count as much as any other.
    Playing a good defensive strategy against a superior stacking team is not a weaknesses, it's smart coaching. Even if not pretty. In any game, winning is the first priority for the coach/team.
    This is, if not proof, certainly good evidence that, with the proper training the US has the talent and potential to have excellent future players.

  7. frank schoon replied, April 21, 2019 at 1:18 p.m.

    John, yes, True what you say, but I'm looking at the bigger picture of US soccer. Dallas can only play counterattacking soccer, which a mainstay of US soccer for the past 50years for we can't play anything more sophisticated. This type of soccer is not going to improve the development of our game. To me DEVELOPMENT  is more important to growth and development of the US player. Just like the attitude of winning in youth soccer instead of playing good soccer has has only hurt the development of our youth.
    Yes, there is nothing wrong with counterattacking "impulses" but not as a style for the players really the game of "football".
     Yes, the coach of Dallas can be happy winning, which he should, but it is no feather in the cap as far as further the  furthering of development of his players for if you see the difficulty they  have passing and circulating the ball, in other words "real football' they are nothing to write home about.

  8. Bob Ashpole replied, April 22, 2019 at 6:01 p.m.

    When is not playing a good defensive strategy good coaching? I am not even sure what you mean by "good defensive strategy". IMO good coaching and good soccer involves dominating play which is both an attacking and defensive strategy at the same time.

  9. frank schoon replied, April 22, 2019 at 6:19 p.m.

    RW,How many of these kids after finishing the DA program can actually dribble or shoot or cross or pass with either foot...NONE....that's just for starters....How many can even lay off a pass with the outside of the foot 10-15 over a defender and dropping in front of a teammat on the run...How many can make 40meter cross field pass that drops in front of breaking teammate. How many can actually trap a ball from a goalie punt without losing.... I could go on but this DA program is joke as far as I"m concerned....You see the same lack of technical abilities , year in ,year out....They don't have the blend of people teaching these kids...

  10. Right Winger, April 22, 2019 at 5:06 p.m.

    Frank, you are right on as it pertains to the development of our youth.  The lack of proper development shows from the DA teams all the way up to our MNT.  That is the ability to handle the ball.  Watch our players on the first touch or watch our players try to string two or three passes together to form an attack on the goal.  It is lacking big time.  All we hear is this player or that player is going to the Bundislega.  That is okay to learn tactics, send them to Spain, Brazil or Argentina to teach them technique.  If you can't handle the ball and think at the same time you have no business being on the field when you are 17 or 18 years old.  Thus the MLS.  That is the whole problem with our kids in the early years.

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