FC Dallas brought themselves back to winning ways on Saturday evening at Toyota Stadium with a 2-0 victory over closest Western Conference rivals, third placed Real Salt Lake. Kellyn Acosta set the team on its way to the win with an early first half goal from close range before Fabian Castillo, who's been linked with a move to Turkey this week, capped it off with a quality finish that we just haven't seen too often from him this year. Mauro Diaz had a massive role to play in both goals with two excellently timed passes in the buildup plays to them, signaling a return to form for the Argentine playmaker as well.
It turned out to be a comfortable night for the Hoops as FCD recorded a third straight home win over RSL, whose woes in Frisco, having won once here in the last eleven years, continued. The result leaves Dallas in second place in the standings, one point off Colorado who have two games in hand, and RSL four points adrift of them albeit with them also having two games in hand to play. Let's look at the highlights and lowlights of this one.
Things picked up offensively in this game with the front four functioning well as a unit and playing their part in an important bounce-back win at home. Diaz, as mentioned above, played a big part in the lead up to both goals with a couple of delightful passes while Castillo showed some signs of what he can still do which was promising, even if his finishing wasn't very sharp on a day when he could have easily scored a hat-trick. Michael Barrios was effective in the final third once more with an assist while Maximiliano Urruti, who hasn't scored for three months now, brought the energy and industry up front that just does not get enough credit as it should from regular followers of this team.
Defensively, things were as good as they could get with RSL not managing to get a single shot on goal throughout the entire game. Of course, a portion of that goes down to RSL missing some important players and not having a particularly good day going forward, but some credit needs to be given to the defense which has not quite played as well as this very often this year, even if it has been improving in recent weeks.
Seeing the team put up a solid, balanced performance on both sides of the ball is a good sign that things are finally coming together for Oscar Pareja and his tactical system with the team cohesion really beginning to improve and reap rewards which makes it even more exciting to see how things will develop as the season progresses. If things are really clicking now, then by the time October and the playoffs come around, we should be seeing an FCD team in full steam.
Not many negatives to talk about here aside from the slightly poor finishing as this game could have easily ended with at least a couple more goals in the back of RSL's net. Urruti and Castillo have had their struggles in front of goal since the first month of the season and they continued here, but there were some promising signs that they might just get it together soon. If they do, then the finishing problems should become a thing of the past in the near future and the FCD attack could add a new level of danger to its firepower.
The foul count was a bit high once again at fourteen with two yellow cards earned as well which is another thing that may need work and need to be minimized, otherwise it could lead to disciplinary problems for Dallas later on in the year and quite possibly at the worst possible time as well. That is something that certainly needs to be avoided at all costs.
FCD will host Colorado in a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 fixture on Wednesday night between the current top two sides in the West before returning to MLS action with a third consecutive home match against Orlando City during next Monday's Fourth of July celebrations.