Winning always feels good but there was something special about last night's 2-1 win over the LA Galaxy. Maybe it had to do with Landon Donovan's final regular season visit to Frisco. Maybe it had more to do with the fact that FC Dallas is playoff bound for the first time since 2011. Whatever the case may be, it was a truly fun night.
Diving into the game last night there were plenty of items to take note of. The play in the midfield by Victor Ulloa, the linking up again between David Texeira and Andres Escobar to the impressive performance in the back by Matt Hedges.
Bend and not break on the counter
Three or four times early in the match last night, FCD had a bend and hope not to break look to the defense. LA was bringing their style of play to the field that really allowed FC Dallas to dictate the flow of the game and create a ton of set piece chances. Because of all those set piece it played right into the hands of the Galaxy where they are able to catch teams on the counter attack.
Maybe it was partly due to having Walker Zimmerman back and Zach Loyd on the right wing again or just for the fact that the four guys in the back may be the best set of defenders together that FCD has at the moment. Either way, the defense held up on the counter and limited what the Galaxy would do in those rare moments. Containing guys like Donovan and Gyasi Zardes is never easy but this group continues to prove that they can handle the best attackers in the league without giving up too much.
That DP connection
While Mauro Diaz continues to sit out for FC Dallas (though he was back in training late last week), the other two Designated Players continue to show us exactly why the Hunts spent the big money this offseason to get these guys. Escobar and Texeira continue to link up well in the attack, leaving me to wonder if we're going to see more of Tex in the starting eleven in the final games of the season rather than Tesho Akindele.
What I love about watching those two link up is that it really doesn't take too many moments for them to break lose and do something special like they did on the first goal of the night. Texeira commented on how he focuses on what Escobar does in one-on-one situations, which has been key in setting up Texeira's three goals in the last three games.
Everyone knows that he is a skilled player, right? With his skill, when he has the ball one-on-one with a defender, I expect that he will beat them. I focus on that. He will get the ball. He will send in the cross. He will assist me.
I mean what else can you say about this ball?
Also, that is a finish you have to make. Kudos to Tex for putting hit home when the club needed him to.
Same can be said about Fabian Castillo's game-winning header too.
Two left with a lot on the line
I plan on talking about the importance of home field advantage tomorrow but two wins in the final two weeks are huge. We all know this is a league of streaks and teams that enter the playoffs hot, typically do well.
For FCD to enter on a three game winning streak would be massively important for so many reasons. First of all, RSL doesn't have a give-me type schedule that we all kept saying they did a month ago. Going to Portland on Friday is not going to be an easy task for them considering Portland is back up against a wall here. They lose that one while FCD wins and then wins again at home in the finale would be huge. Even if somehow both RSL and FCD ended level on points, FCD should end up with the first tiebreaker (most wins).
I keep bringing it up but it is worth noting right now. Getting those six points could also have a huge implications as to whether or not FCD could potentially host MLS Cup too. I know that feels like a thing that is super far away at the moment but with only one Eastern Conference club behind them on points at the moment, I can't say I would want to see FCD make a MLS Cup and have to go to New England.
There is still a ton of soccer left to be played. These last two weeks are going to be fun.