This week's edition of the FIFA14 preview showed us why FC Dallas has a really high ceiling. While Dallas has several players whose current form is up compared to what FIFA14's standard is, Colorado had seven of its starters whose form was down. How did the match go?
Blas strikes first
Blas Perez got the first goal of the match. Catching the Rapids' defense taking a high line in the back, Perez took a Ulloa through-ball and banged it into the far corner of the net in the 14th minute for a 1-0 lead.
Perez has been playing really well most of the season. What impresses me most about the striker is his willingness to track-back and defend a little when his teammates are caught out of position. His situational awareness has always been great, but combined with a willingness to do the hard work, Perez has been a key to opening-up the offense for others.
In the virtual world, a nice run up an inside channel proved too much for Colorado to handle.
Colorado equalized late in the first half. I don't know why or how, but there were like five additional minutes of stoppage time, and the Rapids took advantage.
Marlon Hairston took a nice flick-on, fended off two defenders and beat Raul Fernandez. Instead of focusing on controlling the defenders, I should have brought out Fernandez earlier. My hesitation cost me and halftime came with the score knotted at one apiece.
My starting midfielders were tired, especially Adam Moffat and Ulloa. In came Mauro Diaz and Michel to play with Fabian Castillo and Andres Escobar in the midfield. With that quartet, I didn't think I'd have any problem scoring. I was generally mistaken though.
Colorado played really solid defense and possession-oriented soccer in the second-half, but eventually I got through their stout defense. In the 67th minute, Diaz passed out wide to Castillo, who cut inside on two Rapids defenders like he was shot out of a cannon. Sprint mode while dribbling is generally a horrible idea in this game, but Castillo maintained possession and actually blasted a shot with his right foot, beating Colorado's Clint Irwin for the final goal of the game.
Final score - FC Dallas 2 - 1 Colorado Rapids
I'm ready to say it. FC Dallas is explosive. It doesn't necessarily mean they'll win every match. It doesn't even mean they'll make the playoffs. It does mean that they have the ability to strike at any time and are generally extremely fun to watch. I expect that with continued health, they'll continue to play a fun and exciting brand of soccer.
Castillo is finally being recognized, at least by EA Sports, as a legitimate threat. Diaz continues to gain confidence in his leg. Escobar and Tesho Akindele are finding their way and Perez is there to help facilitate it all -- kind of a soccer "glue guy." What it adds up to is a team that is difficult to prepare for.
FC Dallas continues their mini-roll.
FC Dallas 2 - 1 Colorado Rapids