FC Dallas recorded a comprehensive 4-0 victory over Eastern Conference rivals Orlando City on Monday. Centerbacks Walker Zimmerman and Matt Hedges both scored from set plays either side of yet another Michael Barrios goal before Fabian Castillo wrapped up the win with a close range strike deep into stoppage time at the end of the match. It was a comfortable win that not only saw the team put up its best showing of the year, but one that was also viewed by a season sell-out crowd of 16,195 as part of Monday's Fourth of July celebrations at Toyota Stadium and one that also finally put Dallas back at the top of the league standings again and in control of the Supporters' Shield race following Colorado's goalless draw with Portland.
Plenty of good on store for FCD in a holiday stroll, aided by the fact that Orlando looked as bad and as disorganized in every facet of play as they could possibly be on the night. Dallas dominated possession for much of the game and created as many as nineteen chances, ten on target, and took full advantage of the spaces that Orlando was leaving in behind their defense and the disconnect between them and their midfield. Orlando's attacking players rarely got involved in the match as well, including their talisman Kaka who only managed twenty-six touches of the ball, and it was always an easy night on the other side of things for Dallas at the back as they kept a seventh clean sheet of the 2016 season.
Mauro Diaz, who was man of the match, followed up his great play from the games against Real Salt Lake and Colorado last week with two assists from dead ball situations here for Zimmerman and Hedges who were dominant aerially on both ends and cleaned things up well at the back throughout the evening. Kellyn Acosta and Carlos Gruezo dominated the midfield battle and were always superior to their Orlando counterparts, the Colombian wingers had another solid display with goals to their name once again, and Maximiliano Urruti as well as Tesho Akindele both registered assists and looked lively and confident during their time out on the pitch.
It was as comfortable a match that Dallas has had in quite some time and one where victory was never in any doubt from the first whistle. While Orlando are left to reflect on what went wrong in a miserable evening for them, Dallas managed to stretch its unbeaten home streak to nineteen games, its longest ever run in club history.
There weren't any bad performances to note on Monday evening, but the foul count of fifteen and three yellow cards were again a little too much to pick up in what was an easy win for Dallas and something that the team is failing to improve on with time and if not handled properly, could lead to sanction problems later on in the season when it matters most.
After winning three straight home games in the space of nine days, Dallas will now begin a two-game road trip starting with another visit to California to face San Jose Earthquakes on Friday night as the team looks to strengthen its grip on first place in the table ahead of the chasing pack, albeit with more games played than most of the other teams in the league.