By: Anthony Miller
In their first game of the 2023 Leagues Cup, FC Dallas saw a one-goal lead in additional time disappear as they lost to Charlotte FC in a penalty kick shootout.
The first 30 minutes of the match saw FC Dallas and Charlotte FC with few opportunities for goals. FC Dallas was able to pick up the pace in the last 15 minutes of the first half with multiple shots on goal. All those shots paid off with Bernard Kamungo continuing his strong July with a goal in the 45th minute with a nice assist from captain Jesus Ferreira in his return to the lineup after playing with Team USA and the MLS All-Star team. Kamungo’s goal gave FC Dallas a 1-0 lead at halftime.
Alan Velasco got off to a fast start with a great shot opportunity in the 46th minute that did not go through the net. Favundo Quignon picked up a critical penalty that resulted in Charlotte FC’s Karol Swiderski scoring a goal on a penalty kick to tie the game at 1-1. The game took a pause in action in the 68th minute after an altercation between both teams that resulted in yellow cards for Ashley Westwood and Geovane Jesus.
FC Dallas would respond with a goal strike by Sebastien Lletget off the assist by Kamungo in the 75th minute to give them a 2-1 lead. The next 15-20 minutes saw FC Dallas with some opportunities but missed shots and passes off-target made it tough for them to score. With eight minutes of additional time added, Charlotte FC does the improbable scoring a late goal in the 97th minute to tie the game and force a penalty kick shootout. Charlotte FC had an easy time in the shootout scoring all four goals and FC Dallas only scored one thanks to Ferreira, but it’s Charlotte FC picking up the win 4-1 in the shootout.
FC Dallas’ Reaction to Loss
With a limited number of games to play as two of the three teams in each group move on to the next round, the result is both not terrible and disappointing at the same time. Starting with the disappointing part, the team had the lead with two minutes of additional time left before surrendering a crucial goal to lose three points. FC Dallas head coach Nico Estevez knows the importance of a game like this.
“Well, very simple because it’s a game that we have to win. We have to with the amount of good chances that we had, like clear chances, we put ourselves in this spot, we could control things and now we have to wait kind of some of their next results.”
Even with the loss, the encouraging part of the game was despite only possessing the ball 38 percent throughout the game, FC Dallas had ten shots with six shots on goal. They attacked aggressively offensively more than they have throughout the first part of the season. Players like Kamungo, Ferreira, and Jader Obrian helped move the offense on breakaway opportunities. This was part of the new strategy that Coach Estevez implemented in their game plan.
“Yeah, we’ve been analyzing how we’ve been attacking throughout the year, something that we wanted to improve. And since two weeks ago we’ve changed the way we want to attack and the way we want to be more aggressive, creating some kind of overloads or rancid behind. And I think it worked very well.”
Charlotte FC’s Defense in the Second Half
One aspect of the game that was apparent in the second half was FC Dallas’ offense was not as aggressive as Charlotte FC was. There were opportunities for them, but Charlotte FC performed better defensively shutting down fast break attacks more often and more effectively in the second half. Charlotte FC head coach Christian Lattanzio discussed how that was the strategy in the second half to slow down top scorers like Ferreira.
“We know that Ferreira is a guy that is really clever to down between the lines and could hurt us. So we needed to make sure that Dala didn’t find him in between the lines, and then we can start at the attack. So that was one of the tactical things that we need to improve.”
Bernard Kamungo Continues to Shine
July has been the month for Kamungo and his development seems to be coming into full shape. In the absence of Ferreira prior to Friday night’s game, Kamungo has taken a step up and become one of the top strikers on the team. With a goal and an assist in the game, Coach Estevez told NTZ Network about the plan that they set up for Kamungo and how he is making the most of his chance.
“Bernard is a player that is developing in the right direction. He’s developing fast and still a lot of things to improve. But he had up and downs at the beginning of the season. We set up a good plan for him to help him on that. And at the end of the day, he’s taking his opportunity, and he doesn’t want to get off the field. He wants to keep playing and keep performing as he’s doing.”
One aspect of Kamungo’s game that FC Dallas has wanted to see is his game awareness in whether to shoot it or pass the ball off. He has scored three goals but hasn’t recorded an assist in 12 games played in the MLS season. Coach Estevez was pleased to see Kamungo bring his game to the next level outside of scoring.
“I’m glad that he had an assist because in other games he had opportunities to assist a teammate, but he was maybe too rushed the difficulties of this game and the speed of this game and couldn’t assist. And today he had the calm and the composure to do it. And I’m very happy on what he’s doing, and I think it’s a good example of a player that is having an opportunity and is taking everything.”
FC Dallas’ Status in Leagues Cup
Despite losing in the shootout, FC Dallas was able to earn one point in the South 4 group standings. Charlotte FC was able to earn two points in the standings and take the lead in the group. FC Dallas will next play Tuesday night against Necaxa in Frisco.
Featured Image via Twitter (@FCDallas)