Speed. It's a necessary component to play the beautiful game. In this week's FIFA14 preview, FC Dallas used theirs to score early and often against a visiting Vancouver side that didn't really have an answer.
In the 24th minute, Andres Escobar made a nice run up the wing and cut inside, finding Tesho Akindele for the easy tap-in. Vancouver defenders seemed pretty overmatched both in agility and speed.
Later in the first half, Fabian Castillo went all Fabian Castillo. He cut inside from the left side, split a pair of defenders and fired a super-accurate shot into the far left corner of the net to give the Hoops a 2-0 lead. Castillo has been in a little slump lately, but Vancouver seems like just the kind of team to help him break out of it.
Vancouver showed a little bite in the second-half, taking advantage of some weak passes at the back of the Dallas midfield to get a goal from Pedro Morales in the 66th minute. Morales is a really solid number 10. He controlled the ball throughout much of the second half, putting a lot of strain on the central midfield of Dallas.
Raul Fernandez' play was especially noteworthy in the second half. The young keeper made five saves in the second frame, stopping numerous long-distance shots from Vancouver. Fernandez is starting to get comfortable and, while the defense did give up a lot of shots, they were mostly from far-enough away that Fernandez could get a good line and stop the shot.
The Hoops central midfield that had been sent scrambling to star the second half eventually got its revenge. In the 82nd minute, substitute Mauro Diaz got a cross from Escobar. Instead of hitting it the first time, Diaz got a touch to control the ball and ended up scoring what would be the final goal of the game. For Dallas to make a run to the playoffs and then make some noise once they get there, having a weapon like Diaz healthy is a must.
I feel good about the way this game went down on the video game. FC Dallas has often been playing a counterattacking game that makes fans nervous about the little possession they have much of the time. But their speed is suited to a direct style and that style has been working over the past few months. Look for more of the same as Dallas puts up three more goals on Vancouver and earns three more points in the playoff race.
FIFA14 Final - FC Dallas 3, Vancouver Whitecaps 1
My Prediction - FC Dallas 3, Vancouver Whitecaps 1