FRISCO, Texas (Wednesday, Oct. 14) – FC Dallas (16-10-6, 54 points) equaled the best record in MLS with a decisive 2-0 win over Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Toyota Stadium Wednesday night.
Whitecaps FC controlled the opening 10 minutes, but FC Dallas awoke with counterattack chances in the 11th in 12th minutes. Mauro Diaz set up both opportunities. The first sprung Michael Barrios in on goal from midfield. The Colombian faked going straight to goal and delivered a perfect pass to David Teixeira inside the area. The pass left Vancouver goalkeeper David Ousted helpless, but the score stayed level as the left-footed strike smacked off the left post and was cleared away.
One minute later, Diaz found an overlapping Je-Vaughn Watson and the Jamaican tested the goalkeeper low to his left side. Ousted stayed true to his form against FC Dallas this season and made a solid diving save to his left side to keep the home team off the scoreboard.
Vancouver answered with its own shot off the post in the 19th minute. Kekuta Manneh began the play on the right flank, where he opened up space and got off a low cross into the area. Octavio Rivero set up Gershon Koffie with his first touch and the Ghanaian tried to beat FCD goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez low to his left side with a bending shot with the outside of his foot. Fortunately for the home side, the attempt found enough of the post to stay out of net.
Teixeira opened the door for a hard strike by Barrios in the 30th minute. The shot from the right side, well inside the area near the end line was slapped away at the last second by Ousted.
Two minutes later Barrios finally unlocked Whitecaps FC’s defense thanks to the beautiful build-up play orchestrated by Diaz. The No. 10 worked the left side with Hollingshead and found Barrios at the back post after receiving his second return pass in a crowd of Vancouver defenders. Barrios feinted inside, took the ball to the outside, and beat Ousted down the middle of the goal with a right-footed shot to give FCD a 1-0 lead in the 32nd minute.
Barrios worked his magic again in the 42nd minute after picking off a poor pass from a Whitecaps FC defender. The Colombian sprinted down the left side and cut back at the end line before being brought down in the area by Vancouver defender Tim Parker. Referee Jose Carlos Rivero immediately pointed to the spot, where Diaz stepped in to take the free kick. The Argentine went to the left side of the goalkeeper but Ousted saved the day once again by making a diving save to keep it at a one-goal lead heading into the break.
Diaz made up for not finishing his penalty kick attempt seven minutes into the second half. He recovered the ball deep in Vancouver’s half of the field and put on a dribbling display. The Argentine stepped away from the first defender, nutmegged the second and dribbled outside of the third before beating Ousted low to his right side to make it a 2-0 game in the 52nd minute.
FC Dallas’ Gonzalez sewed up his fourth clean sheet of the season with his first save of the match in the 82nd minute. The 20-year-old maintained his focus on the ball through a crowd of players and was able to get his knee down to stop a low shot from the top of the box and preserve the shutout.
The strong defensive effort was reliant on the stellar play of center back Zach Loyd. The UNC product stepped in to make several crucial stops throughout the match and limit Vancouver to a single shot on goal.
FC Dallas and the New York Red Bulls are evenly matched with 54 points and 16 wins at the top of the league table heading into the final two matches of the regular season. The Dallas side hits the road for a match at Real Salt Lake on Saturday, Oct. 17, while New York hosts Philadelphia on Sunday. FC Dallas will host San Jose in its final regular-season match on Oct. 25 at Toyota Stadium.
DAL – Michael Barrios (Mauro Diaz, Ryan Hollingshead) 32
DAL – Mauro Diaz 52
FC Dallas – Jesse Gonzalez, Je-Vaughn Watson, Matt Hedges, Zach Loyd, Ryan Hollingshead, Ezequiel Cirigliano, Victor Ulloa, Michael Barrios, Mauro Diaz, Tesho Akindele (Rolando Escobar 69, Atiba Harris 81), David Texeira (Blas Perez 77).
Substitutes Not Used: Dan Kennedy, Michel, Walker Zimmerman, Danny Garcia, Blas Perez.
Total Shots: 14 (David Texeira 4) Shots on Goal: 6 (Michael Barrios 3); Fouls: 14 (2 with 3); Offsides: 1; Corners: 6; Saves: 1 (Jesse Gonzalez 1).
Vancouver Whitecaps FC – David Ousted, Stephen Beitashour, Pa-Modou Kah (Christian Dean 81), Tim Parker, Jordan Harvey, Matias Laba, Russell Teibert (Robert Earnshaw 76), Kekuta Manneh, Octavio Rivero, Deybi Flores (Marco Bustos 61), Gershon Koffie.
Substitutes Not Used: Paolo Tornaghi, Cristian Techera, Jordan Smith, Diego Rodriguez, Diego Rodriguez.
Total Shots: 10 (Kekuta Manneh 3) Shots on Goal: 1 (Kekuta Manneh 1); Fouls: 13 (Matias Laba 4); Offsides: 3; Corners: 4; Saves: 4 (David Ousted 4).
VAN – Pa-Modou Kah (caution) 46
VAN – Jordan Harvey (caution) 55
DAL – Tesho Akindele (caution) 64
DAL – Je-Vaughn Watson (caution) 80
Referee: Jose Carlos Rivero
Referee’s Assistants: Adam Garner, Jonathan Johnson
Fourth Official: Nima Saghafi
Weather: Clear, 88 degrees