The visiting Toronto FC were in first place when the game kicked off, but saw their lead in the standings slip as they exited Toyota Stadium with just their third loss of the season. FC Dallas pounced on an early defensive mistake to take a quick 1-0 lead, courtesy of Roland Lamah and never looked back.
Lamah would double the lead in the 20th, for his sixth goal of the year, and Maxi Urruti would finish it off late in the 2nd half, but Dallas wouldn’t have secured the three points without a little help from an unsung hero; Victor Ulloa.
Victor the Great
Perhaps overlooked in this game was the influence of Ulloa. He took two hard challenges that saw him fall to the ground, grabbing his back but found a way to shake it off and make significant contributions to stifling Toronto’s attack.
Defensively, Ulloa didn’t put a wrong foot forward. He carefully maintained defensive positioning, protecting his center backs Maynor Figueroa and Atiba Harris. Very rarely where they caught isolated in a one-v-one battle, and they have Ulloa’s commitment to his teammates to thank for that.
In terms of possession and keeping the ball moving for Dallas, Ulloa was no slouch either going 46/51 (90%) with his passes for the evening.
Ulloa’s game, while not flashy, continues to impress as he’s consistently gotten the little things right over and over again.
Fan favorite Ryan Hollingshead also made his return, starting his first league game of 2017. With Roland Lamah ahead of him and given Lamah’s preference to cut inside, I expected to see a lot of Hollingshead bombing forward and overlapping. Unfortunately, we were not treated to that and instead saw him play a rather conservative game and almost mimicked Figueroa when he’s at the left fullback position.
It looks like this was by design as Dallas opted instead to hit hard on the right flank with Michael Barrios and Hernan Grana. This may have been an attempt to let Hollingshead ease in a bit more as he finds his fitness, or he wanted to stay closer to his defenders and make sure TFC never had a chance to break.
Either way, great to see Hollingshead out there again given his accident during the off-season.