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Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

Needing “new energy,” FC Dallas expects Peter Luccin to lead the turnaround of the season

By meerna Jun12,2024

FRISCO — The spot reserved for the FC Dallas head coach was empty in the Toyota Stadium parking lot on Tuesday.

On his first day as the club’s interim coach, Peter Luccin didn’t want to park his car there.

“There will be time to park there,” Luccin said at the news conference where he was formally introduced as the man who will lead FC Dallas for the remaining 18 games of the regular season.

Five things to know about Peter Luccin, FC Dallas’ interim head coach

Luccina’s first match will take place on Saturday at Toyota Stadium, where FCD will host St. Louis City SC.

Luccin replaces Nico Estévez, who was fired after Saturday’s game against Minnesota, in which the team drew 1-1.

“This was a very difficult decision, but a change had to be made now,” FC Dallas owner Dan Hunt said of Estevez’s departure.

“We needed a change of environment, a change of mentality, new energy,” Hunt said.

In his first two seasons, Estévez led FCD to the playoffs, but this season the team is in second-to-last place in the Western Conference with 14 points.

In 16 matches, FC Dallas won three, lost eight and drew five.

Their average number of goals per game is the lowest in their conference – 18 goals scored, and the defense, which has been one of the best in the league for two years, is poor – 25 goals were scored.

“We have 18 games left in the regular season, and there have been many teams in MLS history that have shown that being below the playoff line doesn’t matter now,” Hunt said.

FC Dallas director of football André Zanotta said Estévez was not surprised by the decision to be fired, but was saddened.

FC Dallas is tied with Minnesota United after losing earlier

“Nico understands the industry and the position he was in,” Zannota said. “He didn’t show any surprise, but of course he was sad. He is talented and will soon have another opportunity to continue his career elsewhere.”

After coaching his first practice, Luccin, in a raspy voice, said he didn’t mind that the team referred to him as its “interim” coach.

“No, no, no, I’m perfectly fine with that. It doesn’t bother me,” Luccin said.

“This is a beautiful opportunity for me. I love this game and I just leave the present without thinking too much about the future. I’m focused on making the most of this opportunity and making my dreams come true.”

Luccin (45) has been working in the FCD organization for over ten years.

He started out as a player and then rose through the ranks as a coach, so his knowledge of the franchise made him the obvious choice to replace Estévez. The Frenchman also played professionally at the highest levels of French and Spanish football.

“Peter has played a big part in the history of this club; understands our philosophy of developing young players and at the same time we want to win,” Hunt said.

Zannota said the team’s poor season doesn’t fall solely on Estévez’s shoulders; players are also responsible for what happens.

“We have a lot of underperforming players,” Zanotta said. “We know they can do much better than they currently do. I am too responsible, each of us must share responsibility for the moment we are in now.

Luccin said he is confident the team will be able to wake up in time and qualify for the playoffs. If he can accomplish that, the FC Dallas head coach’s parking spot will likely be his for a long time.

    Five things to know about Peter Luccin, FC Dallas’ interim head coach
    FC Dallas announces the departure of manager Nico Estévez amid a slow start to the 2024 season

For more FC Dallas coverage from The Dallas Morning News, click here.

By meerna

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