FC Dallas recorded another win on Sunday evening, a 2-1 victory over Sporting Kansas City which leaves FCD once again at the top of the pile. Lawrence Olum gave the visitors an early lead with a header from a poorly defended corner before FCD turned things around with a Michael Barrios equalizer and a Mauro Rosales freekick proving to be enough for the points, despite some late pressure from SKC. A week of three games ended with a very satisfactory seven points and now FCD can go into three successive away games knowing that they're sitting healthy at the top of the league. Here's five things we observed in this game:
1. This team can also win games coming from behind. We saw in the last two home games that FCD could rally from behind to save a point, now we learned that they could also go one further and win the game too. It's another testament to the resolve and character this team possesses which is a sign of the winning mentality that Oscar Pareja was talking about instilling during the off-season. There's no better way than showing mental fortitude by going six games unbeaten and being top after THAT defeat so seeing the team win points in adverse situations in recent weeks is a great sign of a team that wants to win the championship.
2. Mauro Rosales is an extremely useful offensive tool coming off the bench. Rosales added a spark to this team off the bench in recent weeks in the absence of Mauro Diaz and it was no different last night. He came on and managed to score the game winning goal with his very first touch of the ball, doesn't get much more impactful than that. His vision and creativity add a spark and a different dimension to a team that possesses everything else while his set piece abilities further add to the team's repertoire. There's no substitute for his experience either and in such short time, he's proving to be a good depth addition and an alternative for Diaz that FCD didn't have last year to go the distance.
3. The Colombians are getting back to their best. The wing pair had their best game of the season last Wednesday at Portland and had another very good one again here. Fabian Castillo, although still indecisive with his final plays at times, looks to have his confidence in beating defenders back again and Michael Barrios is continuing his ruthless efficiency in front of goal while putting in his share of work for the good of the team off the ball too. It's a great sign for FCD that these two tricky speedsters are starting to express themselves on the pitch again and when Diaz returns to the fold soon, it'll only get better with them when they have the playmaking support to further bolster their production.
4. Zach Loyd is making a strong case for a starting role. Loyd was arguably the man of the match last night as he put in a commanding display and manned the fort well in the absence of captain Matt Hedges. Loyd hasn't been a regular fixture in the lineup since the end of last year and whilst there are question marks as to why, he certainly isn't letting it affect him as he's taken every chance he's gotten this year well. If Loyd can keep playing like he did against SKC, then even when Hedges makes his return to the team, a real argument can be formed that Loyd should keep his place in the lineup.
5. Defensive set pieces are a real Achilles heel for this team. It was almost like a carbon copy of the goal Columbus scored a few weeks ago here with a corner aimed for the near post not handled well by the defense and the ball ended up in the back of the net. That time we noted that Maynor Figueroa was at fault, this time it was a collective failure from Maxi Urruti who didn't get a touch on the initial ball in, Chris Seitz who got nowhere near a ball that went across his six-yard box which is always a sin for a goalkeeper, and Ryan Hollingshead who lost Olum too easily. FCD may be good at a lot of things, but defending set plays is not one of them and the more evidence the rest of the league gets of that, the more they'll try and hurt FCD in that area. Whether the marking needs to improve or it's just a matter of communication or not being strong enough in the air, something needs to change and be worked on because allowing goals of such nature should not be happening for a team as ambitious and talented as this FCD.