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Sat. Jun 15th, 2024

Recording of the FC Dallas press conference after the Nico Estevez era

By meerna Jun12,2024

Editor’s note: This is Drew. I thought I’d start with this since the press conference with Dan Hunt and Andre Zanotta had just finished to paint a bit of a picture in this post. I posted a few quick tidbits on Twitter, but I don’t plan on doing anything else there (it’s already pretty quiet on that platform).

This morning, Hunt and Zanotta spoke to the media in Dallas following the firing of Nico Estevez. I wanted you to have full context of the most important quotes without having to look at them in paraphrased form. They are summarized below and have been lightly edited for clarity.

I will delve into these matters in more detail today (time permitting) or tomorrow.

You could also watch it the entire press conference myself. There’s nothing wrong with it. I know I didn’t cover everything that was in the press conference below.

Hunt: It’s time for a change. We have 18 games left in the regular season, and many teams in MLS history have shown that being below the playoff line doesn’t matter now. It’s about making the playoffs, and a few of them have won the MLS Cup.

So we needed a change of environment and mentality. And also for Peter Luccin’s new staff to have enough time to implement these changes. Plus we’re in the quarterfinals of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, we have three games and you can win a trophy there and all the great things that come with it. Finally, we had a lot of success in the League Cup last year. So it will be a new tournament in a new format when we get there. We wanted to make sure Peter had enough time to implement his tactics, strategy, environment and culture so that we could win this tournament. This gives this staff, Peter and the people he employs, a wide range of opportunities to change where we are today and be very successful.

Zanotta: Peter was the right choice for us at least. Piotr represents this club. It’s been here for so long. He knows what it takes, he knows the club’s values ​​and he knows what it takes to win here. He has worked with various coaches and assistant coaches; it was just his moment. I feel this is the moment where he has to bring in these players and take our team to the level we expect it to play at, to a better position. We have a lot of talent in the locker room. Peter collaborated with many of them from an early age. Peter knows many of our young players; our domestic players have been working with him since the Academy.

Peter understands the game very well. He has experience playing in MLS and working, as I said, with Oscar, Lucci and now Nico. And just excitement. Obviously he had a very good relationship with Nico, but he’s excited about this opportunity and we trust him to do a great job in the future.

Hunt: Yeah, I think so. With a healthy Alan Velasco, right? You know we were missing part of our salary cap for the first part of the season. Jesus, Alan, Paxton, Sebastian Lletget, Geovane. We were missing a lot of salary and many of our most talented players. I think if we were 100% healthy, it would be an amazing squad. The 2016 team was an amazing team and the players performed exceptionally. You need those special performances; it can’t just be about talent. Players have to really stand out, right?

It’s always hard to say, isn’t it? If we had some of these players back, would they change the results or was it just time for a change of environment and mentality? It’s so hard, it’s hard to say that we believe we’ve talked about this a little bit before. We have a lot more goals in us than we scored this year. Petar can score a goal, Jesus can score a goal, Paul can score a goal. We believe Eugene has goals within him. Bernard, we have many players, but they were not having their best moments right now.

On player decisions:

Hunt: We’ll leave the decisions to Peter. I think you can see changes and shifts in some formations. You know, given our staff, we also, I mean Andre mentioned this, we relied on Paxton to help us. There are many talented players, but I think Peter will bring a very fresh perspective to the game and the way he plays.

About improving goal scoring:

This is not lost on anyone here; you know, expected goals per match is the most telling statistic, right? This is something that needs to change immediately because again we have players who can put the ball in the net, but we also need to create those opportunities. Peter is focused on increasing his expected goals per match.

What has made this club so successful over the last few years is their ability to score enough goals and defend well. We were one of the best defenses in the league and I think if we get back to our roots of defending well and creating chances, we will quickly climb up the table.

We weren’t heading in the right direction. The obvious conclusion was that one of the most important things we need to fix immediately is how we score goals. And, you know, we talked about it and spent time on it. We have the players who can do it. They have done this in the past and we have not changed in ways that provide and create these opportunities. And you know, our defense wasn’t what it was the last two years. So we felt that maybe a new, fresh face, new thoughts and maybe new energy for the group would help them revitalize it because there were a lot of great players there. I mean, I was looking around the locker room this morning and I saw a lot of talent. I just don’t think we’re at our best.

And we played, you know, a few games in a season where in most places, in most leagues it’s 16 games, that’s maybe four, six or eight games, as you well know, but we believed in Nico. You’re right. It was two unbelievable playoff seasons, lots of emotion, drama and great things, and we are so grateful. But you know, after 18 games, we weren’t close to what we needed.

Zanotta: The first thing we asked Peter, it was obvious that he knew that the assistant coach had a position of trust that he wanted to learn to work with. The first name he immediately mentioned when we talked to him was John Gall. He has known John Gall for a long time. John is doing fantastic work in North Texas. Taking him out of that position wasn’t an easy decision for us and for John, but John, I spoke to John yesterday and he really thinks this is a great opportunity for him to help Peter get into the first team, and this is for him next step.

Who will take over NTSC:

Michel had been an assistant coach since day one of the North Texas competition, so now was his chance. We’re leading the league and he’s been with John for almost a year. We believe that they will be able to lead the team throughout the match.

Hunt: We wanted to make sure that Peter had a long enough audition and enough opportunities because it would be a drastic change, but it’s his audition. He’s ready for it. He was ready for this moment. He wanted to be a head coach in the MLS, so this is a great opportunity for him. There are 18 games left, the US Open Cup quarterfinals and the League Cup.

Hunt: We had a very comprehensive process last time. When we hired Nico, we had coaches, international coaches and coaches who understood the league. It was a very extensive search. This will be a global search. The number of candidates we went through last time was truly amazing. It is a profession that many people want to pursue. It is an important club on the market with a great history, which has developed many talents related to the national team. I think there is a lot of interest in this work. We want the best possible candidate and we may already have that with Peter. He understands this club. We really want someone who understands the culture; the development of young players is extremely important to us. We need to develop players for the U.S. national team, but we also want to win.

The great thing about Major League Soccer’s growth is that there are now so many coaching candidates who understand MLS.

Zanotta: Here at the club, it’s never what I want or what the coach wants. It’s never down to the scouting director’s decision, it’s a combination of what the club wants. We sit down. We always sit down. It was with Lucca. That’s how it was with Nico and that’s how it will be with Peter. And now with the addition of Sandro and all the experience he’s gained, he’s been a Scout and he brings a lot of experience to us. So we sit down. We filter the discussion with Nico before and now with Peter. What are our main needs for this window? They start bringing us, we filter the profiles. We decide three or four. We present to the trainer. We all decide together who is the plan, A, B, C, and my job is to try to make it happen and bring in the players.

So it is a collective decision. It won’t be Peter, it won’t be me, but it will be a combination of what we all think is best for the development of the club, which is the type of player we need to bring in to raise the level of the team.

By meerna

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