FC Dallas recorded a massive 1-0 victory over Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday night at Toyota Stadium. Walker Zimmerman’s lone headed goal late in the first half was enough for not only a vital three points for FCD, but also locked up the team’s top two status in the Western Conference for the second year running, ensuring that Dallas won’t have to play in the playoff knockout round and will instead begin their MLS Cup playoff journey in the conference semifinals.
This win also put an end to LA Galaxy’s hopes of winning the Supporters’ Shield while boosting Dallas’ in the process on a weekend where Toronto and RSL both also fell out of the running.
Aside from the importance of the victory which has already been stated and can’t be stressed enough in one article, the most impressive aspect of the performance was the defensive solidity that the team showed for the second straight MLS game. After shutting down a weakened RSL offense a week ago, Dallas did the same on Saturday night against a full strength LA team. The visitors only managed to create one shot on target which was dealt with fairly comfortably by Chris Seitz and that is a big testament to how well the team did at the back against an attack consisting of players like Keane, Giovani, Gerrard, Lletget, Donovan, and Boateng. It looks like the team’s recent defensive problems are now put behind them as they’re defending again exactly how’d you expect them to do so in playoff games.
A big reason for that is how well a lot of the individuals played. The back four were strong and sturdy at the back without allowing much to get past them while Kellyn Acosta and Carlos Gruezo were just as formidable in front of them and up front, Maxi Urruti worked his socks off by pressing tirelessly for the entirety of the game and not allowing LA defenders to live life peacefully at the back. Mauro Diaz, Michael Barrios, and Tesho Akindele had limited opportunities to impact the game in the offensive third but did well when they got the chance and did their job off the ball as well, while Ryan Hollingshead and Mauro Rosales also had impressive cameo appearances off the bench.
It wasn’t a vintage Dallas performance going forward nor could anyone have expected it to be in a game of such importance and margins, but the end product was lacking at times, especially in the second half, as the team failed to take its chances to kill LA off to ensure a less nervy finish. Barrios, Urruti, and Hollingshead all had their opportunities to score but none of them took theirs as the question marks continue to mount over whether the players up front can make use of the service that they get in decisive playoff matches, something we’ll find out soon enough. Not too many negatives to note from this one otherwise.
FC Dallas now have two weeks off due to the international break before returning to action with another home game against playoff hopefuls Seattle Sounders in what will be the beginning of a three-game week that will mark the end of the regular season.