By Bailey Brown // @baileystaysposi
Hey everybody! I would like to start off with thanking everybody for chillin’ on the FC Dallas content for awhile. Between a few moves and some trips, I had to take a short break. So, what happened in that time? Let’s take a QUICK trip down memory lane.
My last article concluded with a win against the LA Galaxy. Since then, the following major things have happened:
- Dallas continues to be #2 in Western Conference and I am happy about this. We are still debating whether or not we are headed into that notorious “summer slump” but I’m not quite convinced that we are there yet. I’m still feeling confident and optimistic going into the summer.
- Dallas lost to Sporting KC in the Open Cup. I’m not too terribly upset about this. With this loss, we cleared up our schedule from having to travel excessively which would absolutely take away focus from league play. Open Cup is great, but MLS Cup is what we have our eye on.
- The loss to New York Red Bulls was something to witness. Literally, I got to witness this in person and I wish I could say I could forget it. Hopefully we have learned that playing 5 back should NEVER happen. Like, ever.
- Matt Hedges is named to the All Star Team. Congratulations to him, but I could definitely do without this. I’m not a huge fan at the idea of my captain leaving to play a game that doesn’t matter with the potential to get hurt when we really need him in Dallas. Stay safe, Matty!
- Oh, and Mauro Diaz is gone. Did I mention that our unicorn is gone? Dallas social media is up in arms about this because people are claiming we just let one of our best players go. My take? Good luck, Mauro! People keep thinking about pre-injury 2016 Mauro. He hasn’t been the same since and is way too injury prone. I would much rather see one of our other midfielders taking that position and making it theirs…. Say, like, Paxton Pomykal. I’m absolutely excited and hope to see him get some more time.
I hope this gives you a quick insight into the happenings with FC Dallas over the past month. However, something I would like to highlight is the fact that June 29th, FC Dallas played 6 homegrowns in their win over a scrappy Minnesota United.
Let me go off on a tangent for a quick second.
I was supporting Germany this World Cup. As most people know, that didn’t turn out too well. However, I saw a tweet that said that people across the United States were now ripping up their German manuals on how to play soccer and trying to figure out how to play. This mentality is exactly what Dallas has been against under coach Oscar Pareja. I read that tweet and absolutely went back to the “Busca La Forma” philosophy that we hold onto so dear.
Papi always says that we shouldn’t tell our youth to play like people from other countries. We need to tell them they have their own way of doing things and we need to embrace finding the way that works for us. Seeing Dallas field 6 homegrowns absolutely shows that we are practicing what we preach.
We are giving those who have come up through our own system the opportunity to show everyone what we are made of. Last night, we had Acosta, Cannon, Gonzalez, Pomykal, Reaves, and Ulloa on the field. This made FC Dallas the first in MLS to play six homegrowns. I’m not here for a game break down this go round (we will get back to that with Atlanta) but I do want people to reflect on what this means for Dallas and how it sets the standard for MLS.
Dallas has only lost two games this year and are actively playing people who came through our system. This allows Pareja to absolutely establish a certain type of play within the system. It is not a secret that he is active at Academy practices and brings in DA players to the first team practices.
You begin to have a fluidity that when you need players, they’re there already knowing the system and able to apply it in a game situation. We have seen this with the eagerness of some of our younger players, but the anchor some of the veteran players provide.
Ulloa has absolutely had a second coming under Pareja as he was a part of the Academy system that Pareja established. Papi gave him that chance to continue playing for Dallas and he has provided leadership and consistency.
I will always sing Kellyn Acosta’s praises. He is the face of Dallas, in my opinion. Coming through the system and applying it in a way to make him a staple in the midfield for the national team.
So, what could other teams learn from this?
I will say that I think the Red Bulls do a great job with following this same guide and you see them able to replace “key” players with their own without falling down the table. But, when we look at teams lower on the table, what are their Academies like? Are they relying on developing their own and bringing them into their first team, or are they trying to put together a puzzle with players who may cost a lot of money and are well known, but are not helping bring results.
I believe that we are starting to see the teams that follow the model of developing their Academies and signing homegrowns and then bringing them to actually have time on their first teams are going to be the clubs that succeed moving forward. I am a full believer that you can’t bring in a big name and continuously change your system to them and expect results. Instead, let’s look at Dallas and see that when you bring players through a system, the results come because you are developing your puzzle pieces rather than searching for them.
Congratulations to Kris Reaves on his MLS debut, Hollingshead on his 100th appearance, and Lamah on regaining most goals for FCD this season with his 7th goal. I look forward to giving y’all more Dallas content moving forward and more breakdowns of the games.
Featured image: FCD Academy | The Next One
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