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FC Dallas vs Houston Dynamo: The Good and Bad

A late Castillo goal sends FCD into the last four of the U.S. Open Cup at the expense of their rivals.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

FC Dallas recorded a dramatic late 1-0 victory on Wednesday night over Houston Dynamo down south to secure a place in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinals, marking their third qualification for this stage of the competition in the last six seasons. In what was a open but tight affair, it always seemed like one goal could be enough to decide the game and so it was with Fabian Castillo beating three Dynamo players near the edge of Houston's penalty area and then finishing with his left foot to put Dallas through in stoppage time.

In a week where all three fixtures are key and vital to the development and direction of Dallas' season, it's been a successful one so far with two wins out of two, including victories in the Brimstone Cup and the Texas derby as well as a passage into the final four of the USOC and thankfully, without the need of another extra time period with Colorado looming on Saturday in an important match in the race for this year's Supporters' Shield.

The Good

Although the team didn't manage to bag a goal until the very end of the game, offensively throughout Dallas posed plenty of problems and created some good chances going forward that just weren't taken. Mauro Diaz's recent sublime passing form continued with another exceptional display in that department here, despite the fact that he was the most fouled player and obvious target of Houston's physical strategy. Castillo as always was looking to beat men and persevered with it all the way through and got his reward in the end, despite having some frustrations in that area earlier on.

We also saw some good performances from Kellyn Acosta and Carlos Gruezo who have well and truly solidified themselves as the main central midfield pairing and have built a good understanding with each other as expected to happen at some point since the Ecuadorian's arrival, while Aubrey David continued his strong start to life in Dallas with another solid display in the Trinidadian's third game in a week since arriving on loan from Costa Rican club Deportivo Saprissa. If he can keep playing at this level through the rest of the year, it wouldn't be surprising to see the club come back and try to acquire him permanently during the off-season and exploring the avenues to make it happen to keep him here longer term.

Chris Seitz had a strong game in goal and made a couple of excellent reflex saves which, in counterpart to Jesse Gonzalez's shaky display at the weekend against Chicago, exemplifies why he is the current first choice goalkeeper for Oscar Pareja and why he has been for the best part of the year.  Seitz has been taking his chances well and hasn't made any real costly mistakes during his time in goal and has become a dependable, experienced presence that seems to suit this team for the time being and it has required Jesse to work a lot harder for his place than most thought he'd have to when the season began back in March.

The Bad

Defensively, there were a few shaky moments that the team managed to get away with and was perhaps a tad fortunate not to concede at some point. Keeping a clean sheet anywhere on the road is difficult, let alone in a Texas derby, but seeing how Houston's front four cut through the defense on several occasions with their passing and dribbling was concerning and made the game as nervy as it was. Captain Matt Hedges wasn't there obviously, but it'll take a more convincing display at the back to pull out a result in Colorado on Saturday where the defense may not have as much luck as they did here to get away without conceding at least a goal or two.

Not the best of nights for Michael Barrios and Maximiliano Urruti who wasted a few chances in front of goal to score long before Castillo's goal arrived whilst they both had problems trying to find much success in the game, a lot of which should be accredited to a fine performance from Houston's left-back Abdoulie Mansally who locked down his side all night long. Atiba Harris was once again unconvincing himself and picked up another unnecessary caution, which doesn't endear his claim to stay in the starting lineup. With Zach Loyd returning soon from injury and it being only a matter of time before Ryan Hollingshead gets his sharpness back, it may not be long before Harris is displaced as the starting right-back once again.

Dallas will now turn its attentions to the big game in Colorado on Saturday against the Rapids as they continue our three-pronged assault for silverware this year, while Houston are now left with just a mountain to climb in the league following this devastating USOC exit to their biggest rivals.