It seems hard to believe it but FC Dallas picked up their first win on the Fourth of July since 2009. It has been a long and frustrating road in those annual Independence Day games at the stadium in Frisco but finally the large crowd was rewarded with fireworks from goals scored and from the win.
Just like in other wins, it wasn't always pretty but the 2-1 scoreline was enough to beat the Philadelphia Union on Friday. A beautiful goal from Tesho Akindele and an own-goal thanks to some offensive pressure to begin the second half was all Oscar Pareja's club needed. Oh, and a couple guys came back from injury to make the night even more memorable.
Another injury concern
I'll try to get the negative out of the way first. While Mauro Diaz and Hendry Thomas appeared on the field for the first time in a couple months, FCD saw one another starter go down with an injury. Chris Seitz took a goal kick midway through the second half and appeared to do some serious damage to his leg.
Pareja said afterwords that it didn't look good but the club would know more over the weekend as to the extent of the injury to Seitz's right quad. Based on how he went down on that kick, I would imagine he will be out for a while. Those kinds of injuries are a tricky subject to get over but one thing I do know about Seitz is that he is one tough dude. He bounces back rather quickly from injury.
The good news is FCD does have a capable guy in goal with Raul Fernandez, a 2013 MLS All-Star, ready and waiting to get his shot for this season. The only issue here is, if Fernandez goes down while Seitz is out, that leaves FCD with a very inexperience keeper left to put on the field in Homegrown 19-year old Jesse Gonzalez.
Crazy to think the experience Gonzalez is going to get just being on the bench for these next few weeks or however long Seitz will be out.
Offense still had life without Castillo
There was a bit of a concern going into this past weekend's game against Philly on the offensive side of things. The Union had scored nine goals in their last three. How would FCD keep up without their speedy Colombian on the left wing? With no Fabian Castillo to drive at the Union, FCD did what they had to do and thankfully guys like Andres Escobar and Je-Vaughn Watson stepped up to pick up the slack.
This was good considering how the Union didn't arrive in Dallas until Friday at noon due to travel complications. Escobar took full advantage of some tired legs on the left side and kept the pressure up until FCD got their first goal.
The pressure was the same in the second half as FCD looked to take the lead. Blas Perez and Watson were able to do a nice give-and-go situation that lead to the second goal. Their pressure down the middle of the field caused the Union to quickly clear a ball out of the box only to be redirected off another Union defender and into the back of the net. It wasn't a pretty goal by any stretch but one that FCD would take.
Now FCD has picked up four points during this suspension for Castillo. If the club can keep things up Wednesday with him on the field in the quarterfinals of the US Open Cup, I think we'll be fine.
Oh and let's not forget that the club is off this weekend. That gives Diaz time to get ready for next weekend's game against New England at home.
Moves to be made or not
We discussed over the weekend that FCD has an open roster slot available right now. Throw in the fact that Diaz, Thomas and soon enough Kellyn Acosta will all be back from injury and it will sort of feel like FCD has already made their midseason moves. This was the plan all along from Fernando Clavijo as he stated several weeks ago that he didn't seem to think that the club would be making any moves once the summer window opened up in July.
After the sale of Richard Sanchez I see that mood changing for Clavijo. One open slot available, plus if George John ends up going on the injured reserve like I think he will here soon, that opens up another spot for FCD to work with here this summer.
Two spots to work with at this time of the year is pretty huge considering where FCD is at. They'll be able to bring in one more piece to the defense and likely another midfield player if they decide to here. At this point I'm all for the club adding the right depth where they need to. A center back seems like the right call for now with John out but the other options could be argued out as well for that second potential spot. If I still had my pick, filling in that backup role to Diaz would make a ton of sense.