The San Jose Earthquakes are set to open their home slate for the 2021 season Saturday afternoon when they host FC Dallas. How are things looking around FCD heading into the game? Glad you asked, I checked in with Drew Epperley at SB Nation’s FC Dallas site Big D Soccer to find out. Many thanks to Drew for taking the time to answer my questions!
Center Line Soccer asks Big D Soccer:
1. San Jose didn’t play FC Dallas in 2020. So Luchi Gonzalez is brand new to us. How’s he doing as manager and what marks his particular style of play?
Yeah, it is kind of crazy to think that these two clubs didn’t see each other at all in 2020. Between the pandemic, the missed opportunity for FC Dallas at the MLS is Back tournament, it certainly was a crazy year. So far, the returns on Luchi have been positive for FC Dallas. He has done what we expected him to with the academy system by continuing to bring young faces up from the system and get them minutes. That has translated into some big transfers for guys like Reggie Cannon and Bryan Reynolds.
This season he and the staff continued to sign Homegrown players while also tapping the international market pretty heavily in filling out the roster. He is primarily known for his ball-possession type system that builds play out of the back. He relies on a goalkeeper and defenders that are good with the ball at their feet and a midfield that works hard to retain the ball in order for the attack to get open and find chances in front of the net. When it works, it is a thing of beauty. When it doesn’t, the attack suffers.
2. I saw Dallas had a 0-0 draw to open this season. Is defense going to be an area of strength this season, do you think, or was it more due to it being the opening-day kinks in terms of scoring in that particular game?
In all honesty, last week’s game came down to more early-season rust than the defense showing out. Sure, Jimmy Maurer had a stellar day in goal with six saves but outside of two or three of those saves, he wasn’t truly tested. FC Dallas lucked out that Colorado was also pretty rusty and that they too didn’t rely on their bench much (both teams only used two of their five available subs).
3. FCD have been making headlines with all the players they’re selling abroad, but who is catching your eye to make an on-field impact this season at the club?
We’re all still rooting for guys like Paxton Pomykal, Jesus Ferreira, Tanner Tessmann, and Ricardo Pepi to make a big impact for the club in 2021 but some of these new faces came along in preseason are exciting too. Jader Obrien led the Colombian first division in scoring last year and he showed in week one against Colorado that he can be a threat on the wings. I’d also say that this club could likely go as far as veterans Franco Jara and Andres Ricaurte are ready to take them.
You can find my answers to Drew’s questions over at Big D Soccer.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.