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Behind Enemy Lines: Three Questions with Big D Soccer

We talked with Brian Wachholz of Big D Soccer in anticipation of the Sporting Kansas City vs. FC Dallas match.


1) How has FC Dallas adjusted to new coach Oscar Pareja and does the team seem improved early on?

I think for many on the team, the new coach gives them a clean slate, but it is of added benefit that many of the players are familiar with OP from his time as an assistant coach. Schellas had cemented his opinion on some players, so it was a (sometimes fruitless) battle back for them to gain playing time. Whereas now, everyone has a relatively fresh start with OP to fit into his system for the first team.

The team does seem improes so far. It seems like a breath of fresh air has hit the players, just as you'd expect with any new coach coming in and players fighting for spots on the field. However, I think the younger players have particularly livened up as OP favors the youth more than former coach Schellas did, and FCD saw the success Oscar had last season with a youthful roster in Colorado. I think with the strength of talent awaiting in FCD's Academy, the first team, as well as future teams, see bright light on the horizon under Pareja's leadership.

2) We saw a better attacking style of play from FC Dallas against Montreal. Do you see this continuing all season or was this just an anomaly?

It will definitely continue. Oscar as a new coach is going to have to tinker with the various offensive pieces he has until he settles into a system. The forwards and midfielders are all going to need to continue firing to keep their places in the starting eleven. Oscar isn't going to settle for a feeble front line because last season FC Dallas's historic awesome start was sunk in part by a depressing inability to score goals. For this club and OP to be successful in 2014, the goals will need to come in buckets and truck loads. Expect aggression up top when you see this Dallas team.

3) What does FC Dallas need to do to keep from faltering late in the season like last year?

As touched on above, one of the main priorities is to score a ton of goals. This sounds obvious, but it is vital since FCD struggled so badly in front of the net through the end of last season. There are teams that can succeed by winning 1-0 games week in and week out, but Dallas has rarely been one of them.

The next priority is to keep the team healthy. We can't be losing keys players to strains and muscle pulls. You can't control what the other team may do, if the opposition is chopping at your ankles, but the team needs to be proactive in fitness to keep the boys each in one piece through December.

And lastly, in case of injury but also exhaustion through this long season, FC Dallas needs to learn how to rotate this roster. This is something that I think Schellas struggled with. He didn't always trust the youth sitting in roster spots 20-30. Oscar will need to learn who he can deploy against which teams to keep the starting lineup fresh while still winning games. We can't afford to have the best XI exhausted before the end of summer.