FRISCO, TX – FC Dallas got a big win at midweek at Portland. They got an even bigger win just a few days later. The thunderstorms that had pounded North Texas let up just enough to give the fans and players dry enough conditions at Frisco’s Toyota Park. The field had drained, “but it was heavy.” FC Dallas coach, Oscar Pareja said at his post game presser. He would know, he was spotted checking the field conditions with his bare feet about 90 minutes before the match. Did he have a special technique to determine the sogginess of the pitch. “Just coaches being crazy.” He said, with a slight blush in his cheeks.
He had no reason to blush about his teams’ performance. He was halfway expecting his team to be tired after the long trip to the Northwest, but their energy surprised him. “The character and enthusiasm and energy we had in Portland the whole 90 minutes was crucial, and I knew that today we were going to be off a little today.” Pareja continued. “It was too much to ask from me to have the same energy. I knew they were going to be tired tonight, but they surprised me.”
But it had to take a goal from visiting SKC to start FC Dallas’ engines. As is almost always the case for possession based teams, defending set plays are crucial, and FC Dallas let a ball bounce through several defenders and Goalkeeper Chris Seitz. All Lawrence Olum had to do for KC was put his body in front of it. 1-0 KC after 22.
Despite missing their playmaker, Mauro Diaz, who is not fully fit enough for game duty, FC Dallas still has a stout and creative midfield, and Michael Barrios equalized things about 10 minutes later as he outran the KC defense to collect and beat the keeper.
Their could be some arguments made as to whether or not FC Dallas’ midfield is the best in the league, but it certainly might be the deepest. 2nd half substitute, Mauro Rosales placed a free kick just out of reach and that was the ball game.
Chris Seitz, who has come on after replacing Mexican U23 keeper Jesse Gonzalez during the international break, made some key saves down the stretch to preserve the victory.
The two wins has put FC Dallas atop MLS. And if beating two of the top teams in the league just 4 days apart is any indication, FC Dallas has not only taken the early pole position as a title contender, it should also give coach Pareja some confidence as he plans for the rest of the season, which includes mid-week ties in the Concacaf Champions League.
It was a big win in Frisco Sunday night. FC Dallas passed their first early test. There will be more. FC Dallas will be ready.
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