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The basics of the FC Dallas 3-4-3 – 3rd Degree



The basics of the FC Dallas 3-4-3 – 3rd Degree

Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Dante Sealy.

With FC Dallas continuing to use the 3-4-3 at such a high rate this spring – about 90% of the time – I figure it’s time to talk about how it works. It’s not a widely used shape and many people may not be familiar with it.

This isn’t going to be a nuanced breakdown, there are small tweaks and subtleties to how FCD plays that might change from game to game and/or player to player. Coach Nico Estevez will even use hybrid positions with flex roles.

But for the portion of our audience that’s not familiar with it, it’s worth taking a macro gander at the basics of the 3-4-3…


Or as FC Dallas calls the shape on socials, presumably cause the Coach identified it this way, the 5-2-2-1.

So Is It 3-4-3 or 5-2-2-1?

They are the same thing. We use 3-4-3 for simplicity.

Here, let me show you. First, the base 3-4-3. Three center backs, two wingbacks, a double pivot in front (two six/eight types), and a front three.

Here is the shape (left) with the 3-4-3 groupings circled and (right) with the 5-2-2-1 circled.

See? Same thing.

Tactics are fluid.


The Basic Shifts

As always these days, FC Dallas is about transition and a fluid shape that changes as they get forward or back.

First, let’s talk wingbacks. They are the ones who drive this shape. They are given the entire wide space, end line to end line, to operate. They have complete responsibility for these wide areas. It’s in the name, “wing” and “back.”

Yes, it’s physically demanding.

Wbs Run

You can easily see why the wingbacks need to be quite vertical with an engine to run and will to work. They are responsible for getting forward into the attack and getting back on defense.

The Attack

When the wingbacks get forward…

Wings Into The Offense

By using this system you get the same front-5 shape as last year in the attacking phase but without making your 8s overwork themselves (the wingbacks do the work).

Instead, the double pivot is more stable with less demand getting forward and you outnumber the opposition 4v3 in midfield. Something that should benefit Asier Illarramendi, for example, as well as Paxton Pomykal.


The Low Block

Then on defense, the wingbacks compress back into a low block just like Coach Estevez likes.

A.k.a, the 5-4-1.

Low Block 5 4 1

While the wingbacks are the engine of this formation, there is another key to making it all work: the 10s.

The 10 Key

The front three – more specifically the position of the 10s – is the key and that’s why Coach and FCD specifically say “2-1” up top and not the simplified “3” we say.

These two players – who in a 4-3-3 were wingers – are in this 3-4-3 underneath the 9 playing as double 10 attacking mids. In the attacking phase, the wingbacks occupy the wide spaces leaving the 10s underneath in the half spaces.

Wings Into The Offense

This halfspace underneath role for Jesus Ferreira is, perhaps, the most important reason to choose this formation. Paul Arriola, Alan Velasco, Enes Sali, and Sebastian Lletget should also like it.

When FCD’s 3-4-3 Goes Wrong

Yet, as we saw last year, when the 3-4-3 is misplayed, it can be a disaster.


So what makes this disaster happen?

When the other two front players get it wrong and occupy the wide spaces… like they did last year. Like this.

Wrong Wings

That width wrecks the tactics.

Why? Allow me to show you.

By taking up the wide wing spaces, the “wings” block the wingbacks, making said wingbacks one-dimensional and static. It turns the wingbacks into normal outside backs and disarms their attacking danger, defeating the tactical purpose of the 3-4-3.

Wrong Wings Problems

And on top of that, by taking up the wide space, the “wings” abandon the midfield – notably the massively important “zone 14” under the striker atop the opposition box – and leave the double pivot isolated in the middle and outnumbered 3 versus 2 for the bulk of the game.

Your team will end up with very little possession, dominated in midfield, facing a team that can carve you apart, right up the gut.


That’s not good.

A Depth Chart

Now that we understand how it works, let’s look at how will it deploy with players in it. Let’s plug in some names.

3 4 3 Depth

Don’t take the above as set in stone and it’s not complete with 30 names. There are still two weeks left before the season starts, several injuries, positions are up for challenges, and the tactics and personnel are quite obviously going to change as the season wears on.

Who knows how much we will even see this formation once the battle lines are crossed.

Heck, Ferreira isn’t even healthy yet. Let’s see what the club does against DC United in the final tune-up game next weekend.

But hopefully, you now know what to look for when FCD does roll out the 3-4-3.



Yes, FCD needs another center back if they are going to play this way. See center back, left.

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Dallas, TX

FC Dallas Kicks Off The 2024 Season On Saturday – D210SPORTS



FC Dallas Kicks Off The 2024 Season On Saturday – D210SPORTS

FRISCO, TEXAS — In three days, FC Dallas will open up the 2024 Major League Soccer season at home against the San Jose Earthquakes.

Just over 100 days ago, FC Dallas ended their season with a loss to Seattle Sounders FC in the MLS Cup Playoffs.

And in the past 100 days, history has been made.

Returning to the Cotton Bowl again for the first time in 15 years was special. Announcing a partnership with S.L. Benfica just over a week ago will have major implications on the talent development side in terms of the club’s future.


And signing Petar Musa from Benfica, for nearly $10 million? That’s pretty historic.

In fact, it’s a club-record signing.

But you won’t be seeing Musa play on Saturday—you will have to wait a few weeks for that.

Dallas has not beaten San Jose since Aug. 14, 2022, and have tied them their last three matchups.

With opening day right around the corner, will Dallas fans get a win to cheer about over the club’s former head coach, Luchi Gonzalez? Or will the Quakes spoil the home opener in North Texas?


Find out on Saturday, Feb. 24 when it kicks off at 7:30 p.m.

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Dallas Home Decor Brand The Citizenry Acquired by Havenly



Dallas Home Decor Brand The Citizenry Acquired by Havenly

The Citizenry, a Dallas-based direct-to-consumer home decor brand that partners with artisans around the world, has been acquired by Havenly, a Denver-based interior design service and home furnishings company.

The acquisition will allow the socially motivated home decor company to continue to scale the availability of its sustainable artisanal furniture and goods, further multiplying its impact, Citizenry said. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


“We set out to prove retail can be a force for good. Not only does the Havenly team appreciate our values, they have fallen in love with our unique design aesthetic, product line, and most importantly, our commitment to fair trade,” Rachel Bentley, co-founder of The Citizenry, said in a statement. “They’re the right partner to lead our next chapter of growth. We worked with almost 3,000 artisans last year, and with this step—that just feels like the beginning.”

Havenly said it anticipates retaining much of The Citizenry team, including Bentley, who will serve as president of The Citizenry, and Co-Founder Carly Nance, who will transition to serve as an executive brand advisor.

The Citizenry co-founders Rachel Bentley (left) and Carly Nance [Photo: The Citizenry]

Focused on fair trade—and poised for growth

The Citizenry joins Havenly as part of its ongoing efforts to build a collection of home brands and technologies that appeal to the next generation of shoppers, the companies said.

The deal will allow Havenly to expand its fair-trade initiations with The Citizenry and across other areas of the business.

The Citizenry

The Citizenry co-founder Rachel Bentley visits with an artisan in Morocco, from our 2016 profile of the company. [Photo: The Citizenry]

Since its founding in 2014, The Citizenry has expanded its offerings to cover the whole home, while supporting the work of thousands of artisans around the globe at pay rates that average twice the fair trade requirement.

From its beginnings, The Citizenry said it set out to build a design-forward company that celebrates the people behind its products and sets new standards in social responsibility for the industry. The Citizenry adopts a fair trade business model, and its following has grown the company into the largest U.S. home decor company to have 100% of its products sourced according to the rigorous standards set by the World Fair Trade Organization.

In 2021, The Citizen raised $20 million in Series B Funding from San Francisco-based NextWorld Evergreen, a growth equity firm with a focus on conscious consumer brands. And just last September, The Citizenry launched a new brand campaign, “Uncontained,” to highlight a deep lineup of new brands hitting shelves at nearly 100 Container Store locations nationwide.   

Rolling out its collections across Havenly’s platforms

The Citizenry said that with the acquisition, it will roll out its iconic collections to audiences across the Havenly platforms, expand its retail footprint, and scale its global network of artisans and heritage manufacturers to new levels.


“We’ve always said that our business marries old-world values with new-world market strategies,” Carly Nance, co-founder of The Citizenry, said in a statement. “We’ve grown to where we are today by being customer-centric and digitally-driven. This partnership provides even more strategic firepower in those arenas. The Havenly team is passionate about the same things we are—building potent, meaningful brands designed to stand the test of time.”

Mercado storage baskets from The Citizenry. [Photo: The Citizenry]

Havenly’s third acquisition in 36 months

This is Havenly’s third acquisition in 36 months, with past acquisitions including Interior Define and The Inside. Havenly said the deal cements it as the largest digital-first, DTC platform in the home decor market with a strong strategy for sustainable growth.

“As a personal customer of The Citizenry, I’m thrilled to bring the brand into the Havenly family,” Lee Mayer, co-founder and CEO of Havenly, said in a statement. “Rachel and Carly’s unrivaled commitment to sustainability, social impact, and support of artisans combined with premium quality and exquisite design is truly something revolutionary in the space, and a big reason why The Citizenry has long been a favorite among our customers. We’re excited to build on the work they’ve done to promote more sustainable values and help usher in the next era of great home brands for the modern consumers.”

Organic Turkish cotton duvet from The Citizenry. [Photo: The Citizenry]


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  • North Texas has plenty to see, hear, and watch. Here are our editors’ picks. Plus, you’ll find more selections to “save the date.”

  • Peruse Dallas Innovates’ special once-a-year magazines. Each edition is a keeper.

  • Dallas Innovates, the Dallas Regional Chamber, and Dallas AI are teaming up to launch the new AI 75 program at Capital Factory’s Future of AI Salon today. The first-ever list will recognize Dallas-Fort Worth innovators in artificial intelligence. Nominations are open through March 11.

  • You’ll find deadlines coming up for a new accelerator program; and many more opportunities.

  • Usually they race for the end zone, but Wednesday some of the Dallas Cowboys’ top players swung for the fences at the Reliant Home Run Derby in Frisco. And whether they got dingers or popups, it was all for a good cause. Find out which Cowboy won for the second straight year—as two all-new ‘Pokes players joined in the fun.

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Shop Vintage Home Goods on These Dallas-based Instagram Accounts



Shop Vintage Home Goods on These Dallas-based Instagram Accounts

There is a new energy around vintage shopping. Proof is in the sell-out crowds at Round Top, influencers’ “come with me to the thrift store” videos, and Facebook furniture flips. But sifting through dusty antique malls can be daunting; no one wants to be the literal bull in the china shop.

But we come bearing good news: The world of vintage shopping has transformed from your grandma’s garage sale to Instagram accounts with thousands of followers waiting to snatch up the best deals. To help you find your next sideboard, here are our favorite local accounts for unique throwback treasures. Pro-tip: Turn on post notifications—items tend to go fast!

Context Vintage 

Context Vintage.


Established in 2008 by Mila Goldman Moore, Context Vintage offers casually luxurious vintage with a little quirk. The trained architect specializes in finding rare, high-end pieces that each come with their own story. You can learn more about her story in this recent podcast episode from Sistain, a Denver-based home goods store. 

Cycle Etc. Vintage 

Cycle Etc. Vintage.


While most vintage sellers specialize in one arena, Kaleigh Bergstrom sources everything from clothes to furniture and home accessories. In 2023, D Home named Bergstrom “Best IG and IRL Vintage Seller” in our annual Best of Big D awards. You can shop her finds on instagram or at one of several local partner shops, like LulaB’s and the Forestwood Antique Mall. 


Dallas Classic Finds 

Dallas Classic Finds.


Located in Lake Highlands, Dallas Classic Finds collects and sells all things vintage with a few miscellaneous items in between. “Our goal is to find pieces that we could see someone falling in love with while also being reasonably priced,” founder Liz Molina told D Magazine in 2020.

The Eclectic Den Dallas 

The Eclectic Den.


Founded in 2016, the husband-and-wife team behind The Eclectic Den offers “slow vintage” for you and your home. Named “Best Insta Vintage” in 2019’s Best of Big D, this account is your go-to for all things mid-century mod. And if Instagram shopping isn’t your thing, they also have a website. 

Fort WORTH the Wait 

Fort WORTH the Wait.


Fort WORTH the Wait is a seeker of decor and lover of all things eclectic, both vintage and new. The account features a charming mix of decor finds and family. If you prefer in-person shopping (and measuring), find their booth at The Mercantile antique mall in Fort Worth. 7200 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth

Krisen Home 

Krisen Home.


Since 2016, Krisen Home has been a resource for furniture made from the 1950s to the 1990s. While she hasn’t been sharing at the same pace as years past, owner Lindsey Overton is planning to add home styling services to her repertoire in the near future.

Scooped in Dallas

Courtesy of Scooped in Dallas
Scooped in Dallas.


In 2022, two sisters were on the hunt for CorningWare, vintage glass ceramic cookware, and visited an estate sale. Since then, they’ve grown their Instagram shop to 8,000-plus followers, selling all things vintage, from side tables to oil paintings to candlestick holders. Remember: if you see the ice cream cone emoji, that item has been “scooped.”


Shop Vintage Dallas 

Shop Vintage Dallas.


Owner Leslie Thorn launched Shop Vintage Dallas in 2015. Here, you can find a solid mix of  mid-century, art deco, Danish modern, post-modern decor, and more. Thorn also sources an intriguing range of mixed-material and unconventional art pieces. 

Table Heirloom

Table Heirloom.


Incomplete china sets can be the bane of your butler’s pantry. But for Beth Pollok, it’s the start of something new. She mixes and matches porcelain and bone china plates, chargers, tea cups, and more to craft fresh and colorful dinner services. You can shop her collections on Instagram, or join her nearly 12,000-member Facebook group.

Wrecking Ball Collective 

Wrecking Ball Collective.


Wrecking Ball Collective focuses on vintage furniture and small home decor pieces, like brass figurines, art prints, and needlepoint. This Jess Jamison-run Instagram shop lists new items weekly, and she keeps available stock on both her website and on Chairish. 


Jessica Otte

Jessica Otte

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Jessica Otte is the executive editor of D Home and D Weddings. In 2006, she helped launch D CEO as…

Melissa Tallo

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