FC Dallas, fresh off the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup triumph in midweek, played out a 2-2 draw at fellow Supporters’ Shield contenders New York City FC on Saturday evening. It looked like the hangover from the trophy celebrations were still ongoing when Thomas McNamara scored early on to give NYCFC the lead, but goals from Maximiliano Urruti and Michael Barrios turned things around to give FCD the lead. And just as it looked like Dallas were going to hold on for a priceless away win, Khiry Shelton popped up late on with a header to salvage a point for the home side. The game could still have been won on either side before the end with glorious chances for Stiven Mendoza and Tesho Akindele, but they failed to take them and it finished two apiece.
When taking into consideration the difficulty of the opponent, the importance of the game, and the relatively poor state of the Yankee Stadium pitch, as well as the fact that FCD were coming off a cup final and trophy celebrations in midweek, creating eighteen scoring chances and six on target was an impressive amount which could have resulted in at least a couple more goals by the end although the team ultimately had to settle for two.
On that same note, what was also impressive is that the team managed to compete well physically throughout the entire game despite the fact that Oscar Pareja fielded the exact same lineup from Tuesday’s match. With NYCFC pretty much at full strength and going into this one with the luxury of not having played a midweek game themselves, this shows that FCD’s individuals are at a good fitness level and ready for battle with each game as the MLS Cup playoffs draw near and that Pareja has done a good job of rotating the squad around throughout the year to get them to this point.
We also saw some good performances from a few individuals, including Mauro Rosales who bagged two assists on the night, Urruti who scored a beauty and is now up to eleven goals for the year, Barrios who finally netted again and is up to ten, and the pairing of Kellyn Acosta and Carlos Gruezo who produced twenty-six defensive actions which without Dallas wouldn’t have stood much of a chance of leaving NYC with a point.
Defensively, FCD had whole sorts of problems to deal with and even looked unstable at the back at times with NYCFC carving their way through on a few occasions, but regularly failing to take advantage of the opportunities that they were getting. With Dallas now having failed to have kept a clean sheet in each of its last ten fixtures in all competitions and the team’s fallacies at the back getting exposed against opponents who create few or many chances, the defense has once again become a concern and it is a worry with the lack of form and confidence that they’re missing at the moment and with every game meaning something from here on out until the end of the year.
In what was quite a physical game, Dallas produced sixteen fouls and received four yellow cards which, as brought up in the past, needs to be cut down and limited in order for the team to avoid disciplinary problems going into the last few games of the season. The team has done well to largely avoid red cards this year, but yellow card accumulations can be just as detrimental and must be limited in order to avoid badly timed suspensions.
FC Dallas will now get the midweek off in the schedule before traveling to Utah once again to face Real Salt Lake in what is another pivotal game in the race for the Supporters’ Shield plate.