The electrifying offense and beast-like defense merge for the most complete FCD performance of the year.
The opening fifteen minutes of the match were extremely telling on how the game would go. Both teams went flying from the get go to gain hold of the match. Each side was working to get the other to back down so they could control the match going forward.
In the 7th minute FCD got a 3v1 but Mauro Diaz failed to slot the ball to either Perez or Castillo who would have been in on goal.
It was rough to see Moffat come off after only 10 minutes with a hamstring injury. We can only hope it isn't serious.
In the 15th minute Castillo found space in the middle and slotted the ball to Watson on the right who was 1v1 with the keeper, but was flagged offside.
It was Chivas who backed off after 15 minutes as a more dominant FCD offense took it to them. Chivas was forced to play on the counter from this point forward.
In the 17th minute Castillo, again, tucked inside to find space and drove down the middle of the pitch. He looked up and found Watson and slid the ball to him on the right, who then slid the ball back to the middle but was unable to connect with Perez.
It was interesting to see FCD focus on attacking down the right, whereas they went down the left in the majority of the first two matches. Castillo was seen tucking inside numerous times in the match to find space and expose the gap in between the Chivas midfield and defense.
In the 25th minute Mauro Diaz recovered a loose ball and chipped it to Perez who was 1v1 with Kennedy, but failed to convert on a chipped shot that went well over the goal. It was a stunning pass from Diaz to get the ball to Perez.
30th minute now and Diaz finds Blas wide open 6 yards out on a corner, but Blas heads it low and straight to Kennedy for an easy save; Blas should have finished that one.
Chivas earned a free kick in the 39th minute and Rosales put it in towards Seitz and Keel who worked to clear the ball. It was a teaser, but in the end Keel was fouled and nothing came of it.
Again in the 43rd minute Chivas had a counter and played a ball into the box, but Seitz read it well and came out to snag it before any damage was done.
FC Dallas settled down before halftime, but there best chance here came from a Hendry Thomas long ball for Castillo on the left flank, but Castillo failed to find someone to play in the box and caused no harm.
First Half Recap
FCD was the dominant side, but failed to convert on several chances; it could have easily been 3-0 by this time. Chivas were looking to go forward, but a dominant Dallas midfield limited their opportunities.
As the second half started, FCD was right back to work in the 48th minute when Castillo cut in from the left to curl a shot to the back post but a deflection sent it out for a corner. The match got quiet for a few minutes as both teams settled in, but the match was starting to open up as both teams went back and forth in the tactical battle.
In the 65th minute, Jacobson went down and had to be stretchered off after a nasty challenge; I really hope it is nothing serious, as it looked very bad in real time and replays.
David Texeira came on to replace, as Diaz slid back into AJ's role. Diaz now sits beside Thomas, playing the same role you would see Luka Modric play beside Xabi Alonso for Real Madrid. Both will work defensively, but Diaz will be a deep-lying playmaker.
69th minute and Benitez plays a long free kick into the box that Texeira nods over the goal; nice to see Texeira separate from the defenders well.
Just two minutes later in the 71st Mauro Diaz hits a free kick that Hendry Thomas so calmly nods down for Fabian Castillo who blasts it into the back of the net for the 1-0 FCD lead. This lead was a long time coming from the dominant Dallas players.
Blas Perez earned a much deserved break as he was subbed off in the 76th minute for the super-sub Michel.
Just a couple minutes later Mauro Diaz dribbled the ball 30 yards and past three Chivas players before hitting a driven ball 50 yards on the ground for Watson, who takes one touch past Kennedy and then slots it home; 2-0 FC Dallas in the 78th minute. Mauro Diaz is a true magician.
Chivas weren't going to let it slip away that easy as Erick "Cubo" Torres showed a touch of brilliance as he worked his way through the middle for a Messi-like play. He gave the ball up to a player on the outside, made a run towards the front post demanding the ball back, and then tapped it in brilliantly. 2-1 FCD with a slim lead.
Chivas' hopes of a stellar comeback wouldn't last long as Michel hit a strong free kick on the ground (with help from a deflection) to the front post and behind Kennedy for the 3-1 killshot. The super-sub shows his magic once again.
In the 93rd minute we saw Thomas with a silly challenge against Bofo, going two feet out with studs exposed. Hopefully just a one-match ban after putting the opponent in harm's way and by the look of it, Thomas knew he was going to be shown red.
Shortly after that the ref blew for full time. 3-1 for FCD!!
FCD dominated a large chunk of the possession and deservedly collected three points in the process. The attack was solid again, as well as the defense. In the first match we saw Dallas with a strong offense but no defense, then the opposite in Kansas, but this game was complete. Dallas was solid on both sides of the ball and 3 points were just.
Notes on the match:
- Mauro Diaz has accepted the fact that teams will come out looking to foul him, so he is working that much harder off the ball to find more space and when he does get the ball he is moving it much quicker before he gets hit hard. If you let Diaz get space, you will be punished (just a warning, because I know Caleb Porter reads this site.)
- Castillo worked just as well attacking down the middle as down the left. It looks as he can become more of a creator if he stays in the middle, whereas he seems to go for glory more often down the left.
- Chris Seitz was much better coming out for the ball. He didn't have any troubles (except the one where Keel was pushed into the ball) while coming out for crosses.
- Hedges truly could be a future USMNT candidate, but I don't see it happening in this cycle. Not enough time to get acclimated to the speed before we match up against three fast teams in Ghana, Portugal and none other than Germany.
Benitez handled the pressure Chivas threw at him well. It was obvious Cabrera told his squad to target Benitez and he showed his maturity and dealt with the threats in a calm manner.
- Best matches of the season from Acosta, Benitez, AJ and Watson. All four players showed why they have been given plenty of minutes to start the season. Hopefully they continue down this path (and hopefully AJ is alright.)
- David Texeira is great at drawing contact which is nice when you have an extremely deadly team with free kicks.
With our 3 first choice D-minds possibly out for the next match it should be interesting to see who fills that void against the Timbers.
Questions this match created:
- Is Seitz your starter next week with Fernandez fit?
- What is the midfield going to look like?
- Is Watson for real?
- (Bonus) Any suggestions for the name of this article going forward?