As the dark Frisco sky was lit up by the fireworks show to end a great evening, the 11 men in red started the whole festivities by putting on their own show by dominating every facet of the match against the New England Revolution. Personally, I have not seen FC Dallas put together a more complete 90 minutes than this one. Every player (yes, that includes much maligned David Texeira) executed their responsibilities to perfection and helped secured a valuable three points that catapulted Dallas safely into fourth place of the Western Conference standings with 29 points in 18 matches.
There are plenty of accolades to throw around for this one, from Mauro Diaz doing whatever he wants with the ball, to Fabi doing Fabi things and the defense putting together another clean sheet. We'll start this whole thing with the defense as they set the tone for the entire evening.
If you thought that Je-Vaughn Watson was having a good game, then you were wrong - he was having a great game.
His defensive stat line was off the charts: 5 tackles, 4 interceptions, 2 clearances, 1 blocked cross and 13 recoveries. If you were wondering why Moises Hernandez couldn't get on the field anymore, this is why. Watson's read of the game from the defense has improved vastly over the past year and he has learned to combine that with his speed and athleticism to break up plays and regain possession.
But it wasn't just Watson who delivered, the whole backline (yes, Atiba Harris too) blanketed the Revs attack and limited them to just 7 shots, six of which came outside or right at the edge of the box. That lone Charlie Davies shot inside the 6 yard box was the only major goal scoring chance that the Revs generated and Dan Kennedy came up huge to make the stop.
The Homegrown pairing between Victor Ulloa and Kellyn Acosta kind of makes you salivate. Two players born and bred in the Dallas area, developed by our own and now showing the rest of the country just how good the soccer scene in DFW can be.
That's an astonishing 82/97 passing for the evening. Four of their 15 misplaced passes were under 15 yards and if you look closely, what they missed were passes into the box or raking passes across the field. My only two concerns about these two this season was their ability to one, have the vision and ability to make that long diagonal pass to a streaking attacker and two, putting shots in the back of the net. The goals don't look to be coming for another year or two, but from their passing attempts you can see that they're developing that long range pass. If that can be developed by the end of this year or early next season, this Dallas side will have a very strong and near complete midfield pairing at their disposal.
Get Out of the Way
Before the game started I had one expectation or hope for David Texeira: get out of the way, drag a defender with you and create space for Mauro Diaz and Fabian Castillo. Thankfully he did just that. His chalkboard was nothing to sniff at, his touches were pretty meh, but the one thing he did right was his movement off the ball. In fact, I thought he did his best Blas Perez impression, harrying the ball carriers from time to time and made himself big when the ball came and did a simple lay off to help the team maintain possession.
So while Texeira did the dirty work, it gave Super Mauro and Fabi all the space and time in the world to do what they do best: score and create goals.
The game plan was to go at Kevin Alston all night, and so Diaz drifted to the left with Watson and Castillo, overloading and confusing the Revs defense. And poor Alston could not get a break, injuring his left hamstring trying to keep up with Castillo.
This puts Dallas on a two game league winning streak before the Gold Cup takes the remainder of the international call ups away from this club, but perhaps the soccer gods are evening things out for the Hoops. With that red card Kaka picked up last night, he is going to miss next weekend's clash between Orlando and Dallas. On top of which DC United will be without Fabian Espindola as he also picked up a red, and their next match isn't until they visit Frisco in two weeks. There are chances for points in the upcoming weeks and here's hope that Dallas can build on this performance to start a second half of the season surge.