FC Dallas took advantage of a late first half red card to Union midfielder Zach Pfeffer with a strong early part to the second half, scoring two goals by the 60th minute to take the win from the home side.
As part of a physical first half, Pfeffer was challenging Mauro Diaz for the ball in the 41st minute when he caught the Argentine with a high elbow and was sent by Jose Carlos Rivero. The half ended 0-0.
To start the second half, FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja opted to shift to an aggressive 4-4-2/4-2-4 formation that the team used successfully for much of 2014 by bringing off Brazilian midfielder Michel in favor of UCLA product Ryan Hollingshead. The move paid off handsomely as Tesho Akindele scored the opening goal four minutes later off of a forced turnover in midfield where the Colorado School of Mines forward stripped Fabinho of the ball and raced in on goal, finishing the chance firmly into the left side of goal.
“I think it’s just all about confidence, right now our team is feeling confident,” Akindele said after the match. “We feel like our defense is playing well – shutting people out – and we’re finding goals everywhere, and on offense we’re pretty confident.”
Hollingshead added the insurance goal in the 59th after Fabian Castillo took the ball into the left corner and pulled the ball back to the top of the area. The second year winger moved the ball to the right to create some space, then placed the ball in the same corner of the net for the second tally of the match. It was Hollingshead’s first goal in Major League Soccer.
“For me, I see the team effort as a unit – I don’t really single one out, I think it’s everybody’s effort that’s taken us to this point so far,” Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. “Everybody is doing a great job, our boys including the guys who come from the bench, they are doing a lot of stuff to help the team get points.”
In the 79th minute, Pareja pulled Blas Perez for Kyle Bekker and shifted the team back into the 4-2-3-1 and shut the game down. Dallas got a few chances on the break, but overall, just controlled the match and kept the Union from any significantly dangerous chances.
The win keeps Dallas undefeated and untied, and also at the top of the MLS table with 9 points. The Union fall to 0-1-2. Dallas now prepares for their next home game against the Seattle Sounders on March 28.
“We enjoyed a big three points today, but the team understands it’s a journey,” Pareja said. “We’re focusing on the next one. That’s the way we operate here. Now we are going to start our preparation for the next match, which is not just important but against a very good team and at our home, so we keep going.”
The following, along with the quotes in this article, appear courtesy of FC Dallas.
DAL – Tesho Akindele 49
DAL – Ryan Hollingshead (Fabian Castillo) 59
FC Dallas – Chris Seitz, Moises Hernandez, Matt Hedges, Zach Loyd, Atiba Harris, Victor Ulloa, Michel (Ryan Hollingshead 46), Fabian Castillo, Mauro Diaz (David Texeira 87), Tesho Akindele, Blas Perez (Kyle Bekker 79).
Substitutes Not Used: Jesse Gonzalez, Kellyn Acosta, Walker Zimmerman, Je-Vaughn Watson.
Total Shots: 11 (Fabian Castillo 6) Shots on Goal: 4 (Fabian Castillo 2); Fouls: 15 (Ryan Hollingshead 4); Offsides: 3 (Atiba Harris, Mauro Diaz, Blas Perez); Corners: 2 (Michel 2); Saves: 5 (Chris Seitz 5).
Philadelphia Union – Rais M’bolhi, Steven Vitoria, Ethan White (Michael Lahoud ), Raymon Gaddis, Sheanon Williams (Fabinho 22), Andrew Wenger (Eric Ayuk Mbu 74), Vincent Nogueira, Maurice Edu, Zach Pfeffer, Sebastian Le Toux, Fernando Aristeguieta.
Substitutes Not Used: Dzenan Catic, John McCarthy, Vrian Carroll, Richie Marquez.
Total Shots: 12 (Fernando Aristeguieta 5) Shots on Goal: 5 (Fernando Aristeguieta 3); Fouls: 12 (Steven Vitoria 3); Offsides: 2 (Andrew Wenger, Sebastian LeToux 1); Corners: 5 (Zach Pfeffer 4); Saves: 2 (Rais M’bolhi 2).
PHL – Vincent Nogueira (caution) 23
DAL – Michel (caution) 26
DAL – Victor Ulloa (caution) 31
PHL – Fabinho (caution) 32
PHL – Zach Pfeffer (ejection) 41
PHL – Sebastian Le Toux (caution) 86
DAL – Ryan Hollingshead (caution) 90+1
Referee: Jose Carlos Rivero
Referee’s Assistants: Peter Manikowski, Eric Weisbrod
Fourth Official: Robert Sibiga
Weather: Sunny, 50 degrees
Time of game: 1:53