FC Dallas put forth arguably its best performance last weekend vs. the New England Revolution rolling to an easy 2-0 in a scoreline that could have been three or four goals in favor of the home team had the ball bounced their way a few more times than it did. The team showed as a cohesive unit, interchanging and playing well as one entity. There was no gap in quality between the Hoops' offense and defense in this match, shutting down the Revs attack while managing to send in wave after wave at Bobby Shuttleworth (who had a spectacular game trying to keep his team in the match.) There really was nothing bad that I witnessed firsthand from the east sideline, so this edition will focus on a few splendid nuggets that were unearthed as a result of this victory.
Raise your hand if you were scratching your head at why FC Dallas paid big bucks for a guy who could not stay healthy and looked "meh" at best when he was on the field at the beginning of the season. Almost all of your hands should be up in the hair. Andres struggled to adapt to this team in the first few weeks of the season, picking up a knock or two at the beginning of the season. Lately though, Mr. Escobar has been "en fuego." Having to shoulder the offensive midfielder load while Mauro and Fabian were gone has done Andres very well. He has rekindled his confidence and come up big for his coaches and teammates. Without Escobar, FC Dallas would not be on the good run of form they are having right now. Respect to you, Mr. Escobar. I "andrestimated" you.
Complete Defensive Performance
For the first time in a LONG time, we finally got a top-to-bottom complete defensive performance from this team. Hedges and Keel had each others' backs all night. Mo Hernandez and Zach Loyd picked their moments to join the attack while showing an incredible commitment to come back to solidify their ranks after a turnover missed opportunity. For the first time in FOREVER, the Hoops' defense froze the opposition, giving Raul Fernandez relatively nothing to do for 90+ minutes. I was very impressed with the completeness of the effort last Saturday. Ulloa and Moffat helped watch their men and prevent as many passes as possible from reaching the back four. As good a performance as you will see from this defense. We can hope that it is a sign of things to come for this team and the days of silly defensive mistakes are behind FC Dallas.
Midfield Going Forward
Tesho. Blas. Andres. Mauro. VIc. Adam. Almost every name in the FC Dallas attacking half responds favorably in my mind for his performance against the quelled Revolution. The only player who did not have an extraordinary match was Je-Vaughn Watson and even he had some dangerous runs in the first half before being pulled for Mauro, "the Magician", Diaz in the second half. Tesho Akindele and Blas Perez play off each other so well and seem to have a friendship and understanding that extends beyond the playing field. Escobar and Diaz are game-changers. Running at people, they have the ability to change any game in an instant.
You get the point, right? This was a captivating, motivational, and thorough performance by our Hoops. The offense fed off the defense and vice-versa. I do not want to over-emphasize a victory against a lowly New England team at the moment, but that could be the kind of outing that pushes this team to put together a few results in a row and cement that playoff spot North Texas desperately wants from this team.