Maybe it was the Texas heat. Maybe it was the All-Star Game announcement for Fabian Castillo. Or maybe it was a mix of just a good team beating another good team. Whatever the case may be, seeing how FC Dallas won their game on Saturday night against D.C. United gives me plenty of hope for the rest of the season.
More and more this team is starting to round into form that fans should be excited by too. A young group of players with a few key veterans leading the charge help down a very good United squad on Saturday. Sadly, that game will get overlooked by many around the league. But I won't worry too much about that.
Top to bottom, this was a total team effort on the night by FC Dallas. For a while it also looked like it was a night that was going to end up being 'one of those nights' where the ball just didn't find the back of the net too. I continue to say this, but there is no way this group of players would have found this result a year ago. Definitely not two years ago even.
Oscar Pareja needs to be commended for his second half adjustments too. In the first half, United ended up with a lot of possession on the ball. That possession translated into a lot of corner kicks and chances on goal. Pareja was wise to make some tweaks in the second half to ensure that possession arrow went towards the home side. Maybe it was the heat that helped Dallas out in that regard but United didn't see nearly the same amount of possession in the second half. Pareja opted to stretch the field more in the second half, which resulted in more chances.
Dallas kept pushing too. Chance after chance thanks to the magician work that Mauro Diaz was bringing to the field. Players were stepping up left and right too. Kellyn Acosta had what felt like a half dozen shots on the night from outside the 18-yard box but the one that went in would end up being from four feet away. Again, resilient effort.
And while United would find a response just minutes after Acosta's goal, Dallas pushed for three points.
Diaz would link up well with guys on the wing in this one, which helped create the two goals. And before you knew it, Castillo, the Dallas All-Star would score his team-leading eighth goal of the season to win the game.
Weak links and scapegoating
I know some are quick to point out Atiba Harris as a weak link on the night but to me that is just silly scapegoating for the sake of doing it. Was he out of position on the United goal? In a way yes, but seeing how Taylor Kemp, a DCU full back made a run up the field leaves me to believe that Harris was fine being sucked into the middle of the field by marking the play he was expected to mark. Harris had to make the quick decision to leave his mark and go after Kemp, who had loads of space.
Michael Barrios on the other hand, was not back in time to pick up Kemp. If you need a scapegoat, there it is.
I get that people love to find someone to rag on here but the hate on Harris continues to make me laugh. A couple years ago it was Michel. Then last year it was Je-Vaughn Watson. Now it is Harris. Or for some of you it is David Texeira. When a team wins, the need for a scapegoat goes out the door in my opinion. Especially when the team plays very well in the process. I'm fine finding fault in someone's play when the team wins and doesn't look good in the process.
Nice crowd. For as hot as it was on Saturday, the 16k or so at Toyota Stadium sure sounded louder than what we've heard in the last coupe home games.
Bobblehead. I'm not gonna lie, the team needs to do more bobblehead promotions. I love the crazy look on the Oscar bobblehead doll's face. He's going to sit on my office desk next to a mini replica of the MLS Cup trophy. Or I should say, he will stare it down for the rest of the year. Seems fitting.