Dallas looking for grittier effort against LAFC
After an embarrassing home loss over the weekend to a reserve-laden opponent, coach Luchi Gonzalez doesn’t want FC Dallas to abandon their possession-based style against star-studded host Los Angeles FC on Thursday night.
However, he wants them to combine it with more tenacity.
That’s something Gonzalez says Dallas didn’t do in a 3-1 home loss to the New York Red Bulls on Saturday, when the visitors finished with a 16-6 edge in tackles and a 69-58 lead in duels.
With New York leaving a number of regulars at home, that inability to match the visitors’ grit was a big reason Dallas (5-4-2, 17 points) couldn’t pull off the victory despite holding 65 percent of possession and leading 15-9 in shots.
“We can have a football idea, and you can see it in the stats,” Gonzalez said. “But we need to match that with duels, and an individual or small-group moment that we come out of that cage with the ball.”
The potential return of Carlos Gruezo could help, after the midfielder missed Saturday with a lower-body strain, according to the league website.
But Dallas faces a daunting task in LAFC (8-1-3, 27 points), which owns the league’s best record and returned to their winning ways with a 3-0 win over the Columbus Crew on Saturday, after drawing their previous two games.
Mexican international Carlos Vela contributed his sixth assist before adding his league-leading 12th goal late.
Vela, who is in his second MLS season, is on pace to at least challenge the 31-goal record set by Atlanta forward Josef Martinez last season.
However, the attacking midfielder was more impressed with the completeness of his team’s most recent home victory, which moved LAFC four points clear in the Supporters’ Shield race.
“I think we are having a great season, but we want more,” Vela said. “We want to have that feeling that we feel better than the other teams, to play good and have fun. So we are trying to do all the right things to be a good team.”
–Field Level Media