This midfield pairing has been something FC Dallas fans have been drooling for, for the past two seasons. Kellyn Acosta emerged two seasons ago as a potential star for this team at the right back spot and has found his place in the middle of the field as the team's engine and disrupter. Whereas last season's HGP breakout, Victor Ulloa came almost out of nowhere to cement his spot as the team's undisputed calming influence and tempo setter. What we witnessed last night was the two homegrown players play up to their potential and absolutely destroy the Eastern Conference leader's, DC United with their fitness, vision and composure.
This was really just a matter of time. Victor Ulloa and Kellyn Acosta, especially Acosta last night, had been taking a more advanced role on this team in terms of generating shots from outside the box as of late. It's been unlucky that neither of them have found the back of the net up until now, and while Acosta's poacher's goal was a little anticlimactic from his other long range efforts, a goal is still a goal and a worthy honor for their work and growth as players collectively.
Above is Acosta's passing chart which features an insane perfect 21/21 passing inside the opponent's half. (He was 35/41 for the whole evening.) He's always had the motor to be a disrupter in the midfield (1 tackle and 6 recoveries), now he's combined it with slick passing and astute care of the ball, elevating him to another level. He is still just missing that raking long ball behind the defense a la Michael Bradley, but it's good to remember that Acosta is 19 with a solid 8 years to grow before he hits his prime. Definitely looking forward to see him grow and develop in the years to come.
Victor Ulloa continues to remind me of a former USMNT legend, Claudio Reyna. The game looks slower and simpler when Ulloa has the ball on his feet and he has the wonderful ability to dictate the tempo in favor of Dallas with every touch. Obviously he's not at the same level of Reyna (yet) but the similarities are there.
This team does well whenever Ulloa gets touches all over the midfield. His passes are mostly short and to the wings where it helps Dallas create the space that Mauro Diaz and Fabian Castillo so desire. There's nothing flashy about Ulloa game but much like Reyna, it's simple and effective soccer and ultimately gets the job done.
I probably don't need to point out how good Mauro Diaz was to you, but just look at where his passes were going. He was threading the DC defense and putting balls into the box. Unfortunate that no one was able to finish off all those wonderful chances he created.
Rather than write more, I'm just going to leave these here for your enjoyment: