I always like to recap previous week winners of this here "internet fan" prize. But I missed a week in the mad rush and cluster of games over these past few weeks, so let's set the record straight:
- Kellyn Acosta dominated voting for his amazing performance against the Houston Dynamo.
- Matt Hedges claimed the prize for his performance at Vancouver.
- Zach Loyd is safely on his way to victory at home against Vancouver, one of the great performances ever by a FCD defender (in my opinion).
Now that we are caught up, let's look at what happened at Real Salt Lake, a tough place to play for FCD, made worse by weather conditions. Jeff Cassar, Real Salt Lake head coach, at one point looked on with a miserable scowl on his face, drenched, angry, but unable to do anything about it. Poor guy.
This game was in a lot of ways a slog. Real Salt Lake played better, especially in the first half, but FC Dallas found a way to keep their defense organized well enough with a few huge stops by Jesse Gonzalez. In the second half, FCD waited for their opportunity and grabbed a gorgeous goal as RSL's backline fell asleep for Diaz and Texeira to do the damage needed. Great, great stuff.
As Jason Poon points out in his excellent chalkboard piece, these kinds of wins have been non-existent for FCD this season. It's either feast or famine. Away games have broken down this team far too many times, and so as the team looks to the playoffs, this may be a glimmer of what is possible. A 1-0 win or a 0-0 draw can help this team find a way to advance toward the MLS Cup.
Go ahead and vote below for the Workhorse of the Week with one more game looming on the schedule. Where has the season gone?
This Week's Strong Recommendations
There is debate ongoing about Jesse and whether the No. 1 spot is his. I still think that debate needs to happen, as Jesse has looked darn good but... inexperienced. There is no room for error in the playoffs, and so I fully expected Kennedy to get the start at RSL. Luckily, Pareja did not call me for advice. Jesse had a massive game, even if he did have a slip up here or there. We'll see what Pareja decides to do in the coming weeks, but for now, it appears that Gonzalez has this job locked down.
Best game for EZ thus far in a FC Dallas kit. He is getting his legs beneath him and promises to be a great presence either in the starting XI or off the bench for the stretch. I asked in the game thread, as good as EZ is with Victor Ulloa, how much better might he be with Kellyn at his side?
Matt is fearless. Matt is courageous. Matt is reckless. Matt... is damn good at soccer.