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What we learned against LAFC: Roland Lamah must start at home

How Michael Barrios, Roland Lamah, and Mauro Diaz are making this year different.

MLS: Los Angeles FC at FC Dallas Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas dominated LAFC Saturday night, out shooting them 19-8. With that win Dallas have moved into first place in the Western Conference.

Barrios the super sub

I’m not sure what happened to the Michael Barrios that challenged for the league lead in assists last year, or the Barrios that was capable of scoring goals, but I’m fairly content with the one we have as a super sub this year. Santiago Mosquera given Dallas the luxury to bring Barrios off the bench. Barrios’ speed against tired legs has proven to be dangerous. Just his presence changes the way the other team has to defend. When Barrios is subbed on, they can’t be as aggressive as they would like to be. If they commit too many players forward, then Barrios can make them pay on the counter. Barrios is one of the best ways that Dallas can protect a lead. He helps them absorb pressure by giving them an outlet up top. Hopefully he can start to be a little more clinical, but I love what he brings to the table in his new role as a super sub. Players like Barrios are key being a deep team that can challenge for the Cup.

Lamah continues his excellent home form

A lot of Dallas’ recent squad rotation has to do with match congestion, so it’s hard to put too much weight on the personnel decisions Oscar Pareja is making, but one decision has been taken out of his hands: Roland Lamah has to start home games. Why is Lamah a different player at home than on the road? I don’t know. But I do know that he is a must-start player when Dallas are at home. That leaves Pareja with an embarrassment of riches to pick for the rest of his attacking players. He can slot Mosquera or Barrios in on the right, play Mauro Diaz as a 10, and start either Maxi Urruti or Cristian Colman up top. Or he could play a 4-4-2 and let Lamah drift inside while Anton Nedyalkov (when healthy) provides width on the left.

Lamah’s performance this season has gifted Dallas with a lot of options in configuring their attack. Even if he only starts home games, he’s undeniably one of Dallas’ most valuable players this season.

Mauro works his magic

I am a firm believer that there is no player in the league more entertaining to watch than Diaz when he’s on his game. And Saturday night, he was on his game. He recorded seven key passes (passes that led to shots) and influenced the game from all over the pitch.

Mauro’s key passes

I say this every week, but to win the Cup in this league you only have to be hot for a few weeks and if Mauro gets hot during the playoffs I think he’s capable of leading us to silverware. The difference between this year’s team and last year’s is that if Diaz isn’t up to the task of leading the attack on any given night, then he has a supporting cast that can create goals. Urruti is liable to pull a goal out of nothing, if it’s a home game then Lamah is good for a goal, Colman is getting better about being able to put away opportunities, and Mosquera is very close to opening a floodgate of goals. As the unbeaten streak continues, it’s hard not to be optimistic as an FC Dallas fan.