With seven players away on international duty and with FC Dallas' poor record in the nation's capital over the years, many feared another trip to RFK Stadium was going to end with FCD leaving empty handed. Instead, the team rallied and won by a 3-0 scoreline with two goals from Michael Barrios and one from Maximiliano Urruti. A first road win of the season achieved at arguably the unlikeliest of grounds judging by recent years' performances there and another statement made by Oscar Pareja's hungry squad. Here's five things we learned from this game:
1. This team can control games even by playing solely on counters. Dallas were outshot and out-possessed, at one point comfortably second best in both statistics, yet won comfortably in the end. Not just won comfortably on the scoreboard, but always looked in control of the way the game was going. D.C. had more of the ball and created more chances, but Dallas limited their options well by controlling the spaces and making it difficult for them to turn their ball possession into anything penetrative. Unlike what those biased commentators were saying during this game, you can be the better team and control games even with less of the ball and Dallas demonstrated that theory quite well in this match.
2. Fabian Castillo's defensive game is improving each year. The Colombian was pretty quiet on the offensive end throughout Saturday afternoon, but a lot of that had to do with the fact that he was working hard on the other side of the pitch. We often complain amongst ourselves about how little effort Fabian actually puts in when he doesn't have the ball, but in this contest, there could be no such complaints. He recorded seven tackles and recoveries each with two interceptions which was a team high as far as defensive plays went here. It was a testament to his improvement on his defensive game and work ethic and showed that he could do the dirty work too whenever necessary of him. A sign of maturity and coming of age.
3. When needed, Michael Barrios can be a decisive player for this team. While Castillo was helping out MLS rookie and debutant Aaron Guillen on his side, it was up to Barrios to bring the goods up front instead and he duly delivered with his first goals of the season. It's not very often that we see Barrios taking a leading role in attack and Castillo taking more of a back seat, it's usually the other way around. However, on this showing, Barrios proved that he too can make the impact when he has the freedom to do so and it just adds to Pareja's repertoire and weaponry to know that he can count upon another player to win him games when others cannot.
4. Chris Seitz is still a dependable goalkeeper. Things have been kind of rough and harsh for Seitz who's found it difficult to get playing time since his brief retirement for humanitarian purposes in late 2012 and most recently, the emergence of Jesse Gonzalez in goal. But on Saturday afternoon, Seitz stepped in for Gonzalez, away on international duty with the Mexican Olympic team, and not only kept a shut out, but even saved a penalty in the process. How's that for a return to MLS action? In his first league appearance in over eleven months, Seitz showed that he's still got the quality that he had a few years ago and can be counted upon when needed, which he will be when Gonzalez goes to the Olympics in August later on in the year.
5. Although his performance can still improve, Urruti could be the 15-goal striker FCD was looking for. It's now three goals in four games for the Argentine which might indicate that everything's going well from the outside. However, it's not so rosy if you watch the games and see just how often he goes missing for large periods during each of them. With that said though, playing as a striker in this team is not easy and requires a period of adaptation in order for him to produce his best performances later on. These early goals are just boosting his confidence each week and once he's fully settled into the group, we may see him go on to become the striker everyone's been crying out for since Blas Perez began to decline. We may, here's hoping, have yet to see the best of Urruti and that has to be reassuring, at least for now.