FC Dallas – Match Report vs. New England Revolution (05/03/2022)

FC Dallas fell 1-0 to 2021 Supporter’s Shield winners New England Revolution. A Carles Gil penalty was enough to lift New England to victory. FC Dallas has won plaudits for consistently selling players to Europe in recent years and giving academy graduates a chance in the first team. Readers should note that they have not won many plaudits for actually winning, as they have mostly been a fringe playoff team and last season finished 23rd out of 27 teams. But with the sale of Ricardo Pepi and the subsequent investment in some new Designated players, there have been some hopes that might change this season. What better way to see how these young players might handle tough challenges than an away trip to one of MLS’ top teams. 

Ratings:

  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, re-watch
  • D – Below average in this match

Jesus Ferreira 

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: American
  • Age: 21
  • Date of Birth: 24/12/2000
  • Current Club: FC Dallas
  • Career: FC Dallas, Tulsa Roughnecks (Loan)
  • Position: Striker
  • Secondary Position: Attacking Midfield
  • Preferred Foot: Right

Ferreira lined up as a striker but in practice, he was more of a false 9. He was rarely leading the line, usually coming deep to receive and distribute the ball. At one point I saw him defending at the top of his 18-yard box, so he was most certainly not playing as a traditional number 9.

Ferreira was the focal point of most FC Dallas attacks and he looked pretty dangerous when the ball came to him. He showed good vision, splitting the New England defence with passes on a couple of occasions, but his teammates were not able to take advantage. Some of his first touches were a little on the heavy side but once he had the ball under control he looked dangerous when running at defenders and showed a strong range of passing. It is pretty common for playmakers to give the ball away a lot because they are making risky but potentially dangerous passes. However, Ferreira showed the ability to play passes that were both accurate and dangerous, racking up 0.62 expected assists while maintaining an 86% passing accuracy.

Another thing that stood out about Ferreira is his work rate. He pressed eagerly and effectively, often putting New England defenders in bad positions and forcing giveaways. He was able to keep pressing for the full 90 minutes, demonstrating his strong stamina. In addition to his playmaking ability, Ferreira showed some good moments of off-the-ball movement. There was one instance where he started a move, then continued his run into the box and got a shot off from a dangerous area. However, there were also a couple of instances where the ball was wide and he was floating around the edge of the box when he should have been crashing the goal. Perhaps this is because he has played most of his career as a #10, rather than a centre-forward. 

Rating – A1

Ferreira has been a really strong player for Dallas in a time when they have not played very well. I think the fact that he’s been as impressive as he has been on a sub-par team is a good sign that he could handle a step up. At 21 there is still room to grow. He would be a good fit on a team whose main goal threats are on the wing or as the more withdrawn striker in a 2 striker setup. However, Ferreira will not come cheap. Dallas recently signed him to a designated player contract so it would take quite a bit of money to pry him away after they have been so committed to him. His current Transfermarkt value is 5.5 million but a successful bid would probably be closer to 10. 

Paxton Pomykal

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: American
  • Age: 22
  • Date of Birth: 17/12/1999
  • Current Club: FC Dallas
  • Career: FC Dallas
  • Position: Centre Midfield
  • Preferred Foot: Left

Pomykal lined up as a #8 and was the most attacking of Dallas’ midfield 3. He did a lot of pressing and played very direct passes. He showed some flashes of skill but ultimately he was not very effective in this game. He pressed hard for the whole time he was on the field. He was able to take advantage of poor touches by opponents and won the ball back this way a couple of times. He showed good strength and athleticism, winning most of his physical duels. His physical strength helped with his pressing as he was mostly able to muscle opponents off the ball. His physicality did get him into trouble at one point as he gave away the penalty that ended up being the game’s only goal.

He frequently showed a strong first touch and the ability to bring the ball under control quickly in tight spaces. On a couple of occasions, his strong close control allowed him to go on mazey dribbles. But he just wasn’t able to unlock New England’s defence with his passing. Most of his attempts to get the ball into the box were crosses or long balls, the majority of which were easily intercepted or cleared. He did have one very good through ball to Paul Arriola on the wing but one moment isn’t enough. In buildup play, he showed a decent range of passing, with a few big switches but he wasn’t doing much more than switching the point of attacks, he was not breaking lines or progressing the ball very often. 

Rating – B1

At one time Pomykal was considered the next big thing. However, a serious injury put that in doubt. Pomykal is 22 so there’s still some time to grow his game but at the moment it looks like being a useful MLS player is his ceiling. 

Edwin Cerillo

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: American
  • Age: 21
  • Date of Birth: 03/10/2000
  • Current Club: FC Dallas
  • Career: FC Dallas, North Texas SC (Loan)
  • Position: Defensive Midfielder
  • Preferred Foot: Right

Edwin Cerillo showed a really strong ability to keep possession of the ball while under pressure but the rest of his game was a bit lacking. Cerillo lined up as the deepest of Dallas’ midfielders and as a result, he was often under pressure when he received the ball. But he was able to handle this pressure thanks to his tremendous first touch, ability to turn in tight spaces, and passing accuracy. However, he did not do very much to progress the ball. Oddly enough, he seemed more comfortable under pressure than when he was in space. On several occasions, he was able to retain the ball under pressure but on another occasion, he dropped between the centre-backs to receive the ball and, with all the time in the world, played one of the worst long passes I have ever seen. Defensively Cerillo showed a strong work ethic and a willingness to chase the ball down. He was pretty effective at putting opposing players under pressure and forcing them to retreat or to make a poor pass. However, he did not actually win the ball back himself very often. Part of the problem is that Cerillo is not very physically strong. He’s listed at 5’9 and 174 pounds, which was pretty surprising to me because he looks a lot smaller than that. He had one moment where he muscled an opponent off the ball but for the most part, his defensive contributions were limited to simply pressuring opponents. In fairness, he was pretty good at pressuring, demonstrating good defensive positioning and awareness of when to press.

Rating – B2

With a bit of development, Cerillo could be a useful defensive midfielder who wins the ball and helps his team keep it. There are plenty of ways in which a player like that could be useful. But at the moment, ball retention is Cerillo’s only elite skill. He’s 21 so there is still some time for him to grow, but he will need to grow if he is going to become a top player. 

Brandon Servenia 

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: American
  • Age: 22
  • Date of Birth: 12/03/1999
  • Current Club: FC Dallas
  • Career: FC Dallas, Tulsa Roughnecks (Loan), St. Pölten (Loan)
  • Position: Centre Midfield
  • Preferred Foot: Right

Servenia also lined up as a #8 but he ended up being more defensive than Pomykal. He was a bit of an enigma, struggled to leave his mark on the game. A common criticism of modern academies (at least it is in the part of the world where I live) is that players’ creativity is stifled as they are taught to play sideways passes, ostensibly in service of a larger system. I don’t know how true that is overall but Servenia looked a lot like the type of player those critics are describing. He did not show a lot of creativity in attacking situations. As a #8 He sometimes found the ball at his feet around the New England penalty area. When he did he didn’t look comfortable, usually opting to play the ball backwards rather than attack the box. He also looked a bit slow making decisions. On a few occasions he slowed down potentially dangerous situations because he was too slow to play a forwards pass to a teammate in space. He had a few moments where he was able to progress the ball through passing but they were few and far between. Notably, he looked more comfortable playing forwards passes when he was in space, but when he was under any kind of pressure he usually played it safe. He did show some ability to deliver a good cross (he also took Dallas’ corners) but these didn’t lead to any shots. Defensively he wasn’t able to impose himself on the game. His defensive interventions were not very authoritative, often simply dangling his leg towards the ball rather than getting properly stuck into a tackle. As a result, he did not win possession back very often, mostly committing fouls or temporarily poking the ball away from an opponent before they regained possession. 

Rating: C

He was not completely awful but I would not say Servenia showed enough plus skills to suggest there are bigger things in his future. At 22 there isn’t a ton of time left for him to take big strides, and he would have to make some pretty big strides to take the next step. 

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