After another win for FC Dallas against Real Salt Lake, the Colorado Rapids and FC Dallas are the only two teams to have played only eight matches this MLS season so far. Every other team has played either nine or 10 games. The difference between FC Dallas and the Colorado Rapids is that FC Dallas is in the 1st place position in the Western Conference, and Colorado is dead last in the entire league, West and East.
Here are a couple of takeaways from the match on Saturday:
Hedges should be playing (starting???) for the USMNT
Bruce Arena should really call up Matt Hedges for the USMNT. Hedges had another outstanding defensive performance and earned himself his fourth shutout of the season. There is no better defender in the league than Hedges, and games like this one against Real Salt Lake happen on a weekly basis for FCD's captain.
Aside from his defensive work, Hedges can score goals, too. He scored a brilliant header off a corner kick which was the important second goal that FC Dallas wanted to spread out Real Salt Lake. He and Zimmerman both are some of the best center backs in the league at scoring from set pieces. That was no easy header and is another reason he should be playing for his country. Hedges is one of the best in the league in every aspect of a center back's game.
Urruti could be "that 15-goal striker"
What struck a lot of people after the match was finding out that Maxi Urruti already has six goals in league play this year out of eight games. There are only two players who have more goals this year, CJ Sapong and Cubo Torres, with seven goals each. Technically, Urruti is right up in the mix in the Golden Boot race for now.
Having played eight games so far this season, Urruti only needs nine goals in 26 more games to be "that 15-goal striker" that FC Dallas fans have been waiting for. After having a strike rate of about 86% per game so far this season (six goals in seven games. He didn't play in the first SKC match this year), Urruti only needs to score in about 35% of FC Dallas' remaining games to get to 15. In comparison, at the start of the season a forward needs to score in 44% of his games to get to 15. If Urruti takes FC Dallas' penalty kicks like he did this game, it will be that much easier to get there.
This game against Real Salt Lake was an excellent example of how Urruti has been stepping up this season. Games like this against a weakened side like RSL should be wins, but they aren't always. A two-goal performance from our forward of course helps a lot.
Urruti was interesting last year because his workrate, defensive ability, and energy he brought to the side were well-appreciated, but fans also had been dreaming about a guy who could score 15+ goals in a season. Urruti scored only nine goals last year, but also helped out FCD in other ways. This year, he is already two-thirds of the way to his goal count last year, and has continued to help FC Dallas in his other ways. He could be the first to get to 15 goals in a season for FC Dallas in several years.
Colmán is really fast. Cristian Colman came off the bench and had great opportunities that he missed, but he showed some real speed and knew where to be to cause problems to the RSL backline.
Another solid game by Acosta. Kellyn Acosta had another clean performance.
RSL issues. The injuries are extremely unlucky for Mike Petke and Real Salt Lake. It's tough for Petke, who got the head coaching job after this season started, and hasn't had time to make trades or transfers. RSL had trouble especially in the backline in this match. The RSL staff are going to have a lot to work on in the summer transfer window.