FC Dallas returned to Frisco following a disappointing draw to San Jose last week with a point to prove that they can kill off a game. Dom Dwyer and co. kept trying to break down the Dallas defense, but Matt Hedges, Walker Zimmerman and Jesse Gonzalez all had stellar games to see off SKC. Here are some talking points from the match.
Carlos Gruezo was immense
When it comes to the FC Dallas roster, not many starters are as underrated and unheralded as Carlos Gruezo. He has been the solid midfield destroyer that he does best. The 22-year-old Ecuadorian is a big piece that makes Hedges and Zimmerman so successful, because of his defensive contributions have helped the two Americans when they shift wide to cover the fullbacks.
Couple of Huck observations:— The 19th Minute (@The19thMinute) April 23, 2017
This has been Gruezo's best game of the season so far.
Lamah leaves me wanting more constantly.
On Saturday, Gruezo had five tackles and a 95% passing accuracy. With these tackles, they promptly started a couple of counter attacks that nearly led to goals. Switching to a 4-3-3 allowed Gruezo to go forward more often creating a unique double pivot between the Ecuadorian and Kellyn Acosta. As a player that does not get much recognition because he does all of the dirty work, it was difficult to miss the impact he made on Saturday. His on the ball efforts earned him the #BudMOTM.
Barrios the Supersub
Michael Barrios did not start on Saturday due to a formation change and favoring Tesho Akindele. Without the pacy Colombian, it looked as if Dallas was missing a piece of energy. This was shown in their stats, for instance, Dallas only had 38.9% possession. This is a low number considering this was a home game. It did not take long for Barrios’ entrance to become noticed. His speed down the flanks provided that extra step in their counter attacks that Roland Lamah and Tesho had been unable to do.
Barrios even provided a lovely assist. Following a pass from Grana, Barrios dribbled to the end line, lobbed a cross across the six yard box, and Figueroa was there to provide the booming header across the goal to give Dallas the winner. You can see below, fast forward to 1:16.
Barrios has been a solid impact player for this team. Once the 26-year-old gets settled in, Barrios is one of the most underrated attackers in the league. He will leave players in their tracks, out skill and out dribble many opponents. This helps show that even off the bench, the small winger can make an impact at any point in the game.
Then there was one
Only one undefeated team remains in the MLS: FC Dallas. What does this mean? Dallas has had a red hot start, granted one of two slip ups, Dallas has still been fantastic. Saturday night was enough to put the three points in the pocket.
Being able to do this while competing in the knockout stages of the CONCACAF Champions League is no small feat. Facing a home and away against a strong Sporting Kansas City, a newly revamped Minnesota United, a strong home team in San Jose, and an always difficult road trip to Los Angeles, Dallas has been able to win points every game while heavily rotating players for some games. There is no telling how long this unbeaten streak will last, but we can celebrate that Dallas is the only unbeaten team remaining and that there will be a target on their backs.
One final fun stat, Dallas’ home unbeaten streak is now at 12. Can Pareja and his men beat the record they set last year? Time will tell.