Another home game down, another home game win. FC Dallas continues it’s mid season resurgence with a comfortable victory over a Vancouver side that was unbeaten in their last four league matches. With the travel, heat and busy upcoming schedule, the Whitecaps were always going to struggle to get a result Sunday evening. FCD came out strong and dominated the run of play. As a fan, it was just a waiting game until Dallas finally broke through. Once they did, Vancouver didn’t have much of an answer. Overall, it was a solid team performance, that got FCD another big three points. Let’s jump in and see how the team graded out.
Maxi Urruti (A) - It was nice to have Maxi back in the starting lineup. He offers more up top than Tesho or Michael Barrios. Aside from scoring a goal, Maxi did a nice job Sunday of just pressuring the backline of Vancouver. The Whitecaps were okay to sit back and kick the ball across the backline and stay compact. With Maxi constantly attacking the ball, Vancouver’s backline turned the ball over numerous of times. Also, it was nice to see Urruti net a goal on Sunday and continue his nice run of form. Lastly - we might need to rename Main street to ‘Maxi Way’ if he keeps shanking balls onto the road.
Mauro Diaz (A) - Mauro left Sunday tieing his highest assist total in an MLS season. He now has 10 assists on the season (2nd in the league), with 10 matches left. Diaz has finally been healthy this year, and become the best player on the team as well as one of the best in the league. Once again Sunday, Mauro controlled the midfield, spraying balls all of the field. If not for some misfires from finishes, Maruo probably should have had another assist or two.
Michael Barrios (B+) – Decent match. He was active but unable to really get behind the backline of Vancouver. When teams are set up in a holding position, it’s always going to be harder for Barrios to get a goal, with his pace is really being neutralized. Luckily, FCD has other ways of unlocking defenses. Michael did end up with an assist on the evening, which is nice. Whether he meant to play the ball to Acosta or not, he ended up getting there. Overall, a solid match from the winger.
Ryan Hollingshead (B+) - Looked more comfortable as a winger Sunday evening. He was more dangerous and was able to create some quality scoring chances. It’s always going to be hard to get results on crosses sent into the box from the wingers. With that being said, Ryan did a nice job of getting to the end-line and crossing the ball back into danger zone. When Hollingshead is in the lineup, the team does feel a little more balanced. He doesn’t offer the flashes of brilliance that Fabian Castillo can achieve, but the team does keeps a better shape and allows for a more possession oriented attack.
Carlos Gruezo (A) – It’s the same thing every week. Doesn’t stop running, even with the heat. Closes down really well on midfielders with the ball, takes away passing lanes and tracks back very aggressively and purposely. With Castillo out of the lineup, Carlos has done a really nice job of jumping into the attack. He has been able to help keeping the ball moving and probing for an opening take advantage of.
Kellyn Acosta (A) - Came away from Sunday’s match with the game winning goal. Soccer is interesting in that there are incredible shots that don’t go in the net for whatever reason, and other shots that are scuffed, that end up finding a way into goal. At the end of the day, all goals count the same and Acosta probably doesn’t care, which he shouldn’t. Kellyn did a nice job of making the run into the box and ended up finding the ball and putting it away. These last couple of months have been outstanding for Kellyn. He has become such a mainstay in the midfield and is directly related to the success the club has had over that stretch.
Matt Hedges (A) - Another victory and shutout. Matt and Walker didn’t have a lot of work on Sunday. With Vancouver sitting back for most of the match, they only managed six shots on goal and one on target. When they would try to break on the counter attack, Matt was able to match the pace of the attacking players and handle anything Vancouver threw at him. His great form continues and hopefully will get a break this week with only a CCL game on the schedule.
Walker Zimmerman (A) - Another solid performance. A lot like Hedges, Walker didn’t really have a lot of work for most of the day. When called on, he was able to dispose of the attack pretty easily. This defense has been in a place over the last two months, where they are able to control the match and really limit the amount of quality scoring chances. It’s a good sign going forward and could really help come playoff time.
Maynor Figueroa (B+) - Played a solid match Sunday night. He really wasn’t challenged defensively and did a nice job of getting forward. It’s always humorous to me when the backline stays up with the attacking group after set pieces. It’s like they are bored and want to get in on the fun. All jokes aside, Maynor has settled in nicely with this team and has really become an asset out wide.
Atiba Harris (A) – Great performance by Atiba. He really wasn’t challenged that much defensively, but when he was, he was able to handle the situation. Now going forward, he was great. That assist was something else. Perfectly weighted, splitting the centerback and fullback and allowing Maxi to run onto it and finish. It was nice to Atiba have a solid showing with no mental errors. He is going to be important to this team going forward and hopefully performances like this can only help.
Chris Seitz (A) – Chris ended up make just one save on the day, but it was really all that was asked of him. Overall, Vancouver had six shots at goal and Seitz had them all covered, even if they didn’t reach him. It was his seventh shutout on the season, which is tied for the most in the league and he has the second highest win percentage.
Oscar Pareja (A) - Had the guys ready to go and took the life out of Vancouver early. Oscar has done a really nice job of changing the system with the Castillo being gone. When Fabian was in the team, 43% of the attacking play was down his side. Now that he is gone, the team feels more balanced. They are still using the quick attacks of Maxi and Barrios, but FCD is starting to utilize more of a build up style of play. It looks like Oscar hasn’t lost the team with the Castillo situation but still might have some hurdles to get over looking forward. As of right now, the team is in a good place, and is playing great.
Mauro Rosales (NA) - Came into the match to see the game off. Was able to see the thing home and get the three points. It’s nice to get Mauro out on the field since he will be needed down the stretch. The fresher the second tier guys are the better.
Carlos Lizarazo (NA) – Came in to see the match off. Carlos really hasn’t been able to adjust to the physicality of the MLS game. He gets knocked off the ball quite easily. Hopefully, with more game time, that changes, but as of right now, he doesn’t look suited for big time MLS minutes. That’s not to say that he won’t be used in CCL. He should be able to use his pace and get free in that competition, which is probably why he was brought in from the beginning.
Tesho Akindele (NA) - Came in to see the game off. Had a few opportunities late but wasn’t able to capitalize. The big thing with Tesho, is keeping him in form, especially with CCL and USOC coming up on the schedule. We will need him to show up and play really well if this team has any chance of progressing in the tournaments.
We are now over two-thirds of the way through the season. The team is in first place and playing great. They haven’t lost a game at home all year and are one of four teams still alive in USOC. As a fan, in regards to the performance on the field, we really couldn’t ask for much more up to this point. This next week is going to be a change of pace, with a Concacaf Champions League match Thursday and a US Open cup match next Wednesday. Let’s hope the changing of the squad, for these competitions, is nothing more than a player rotation and the team keeps rolling on. As always, your feedback is welcomed!!