After The Smoke Clears – FC Dallas 2, at Philadelphia Union 0

After a physical first half that saw more yellow cards than shots on goal, it was a 41st minute red card to Zach Pfeffer for an elbow to the face of Mauro Diaz and the exact right move from Pareja to start the second half that let to two goals for Dallas and another FCD win.

After subbing on Ryan Hollingshead for Michel, Dallas turned up the jets and within four minutes of the halftime break, had the opening goal courtesy of the hard work of Tesho Akindele. Ten minutes later, it was the hard work of Fabian Castillo, at the spear point of a 30 second passing series that included most of the squad, that gave Hollingshead the ball with space at the top of the area to score the insurance goal. After that, Dallas managed the match the rest of the way to take the 2-0 victory home.

High Points

  • Oscar Pareja’s moves. He has been the puppet master of the league this season, and his moves paid off handsomely by way of a dominant second half by Dallas and the clear road win.
  • Tesho Akindele got his first goal of the campaign, and it was typical Tesho. High pressure forced a turnover and the 2014 MLS Rookie of the Year used his speed to get off a shot before the Union could recover effectively.
  • Ryan Hollingshead continued his hot 2015 season by once again coming off the bench to raise the tempo of the game as he entered. This time he took advantage of a great series of team passes to score his first Major League Soccer goal.
  • Fabian Castillo. Once again, most dangerous player on the field and while he has yet to score, he loosens up opposing defenses so others do.

Questions

  • Atiba Harris. Still some vulnerability there even though he did not give up and dangerous chances, earn a yellow card or make as many errant passes. The return of JeVaughn Watson makes this less of a concern in the long run.
  • Michel was subbed at the half, probably in part because he once again had a rash challenge. In the preseason match against DC, it meant a red card. In this game, it was only a yellow, but red cards are a trend this team cannot afford to repeat from last year.
  • Has this team been challenged yet? Two homes games against average opponents and a road game against a crippled home team. Is it ready for a Seattle team that is likely still fuming after its embarrassing loss to San Jose last weekend.

Alarms

  • None (yet).

The Big Takeaway

This team is flexing its muscles at a pace and with an intensity that surpasses every team it has faced. Will it continue in the game against Seattle? The team certainly has the weapons to get the job done, both on offense and defense, although six international call ups is going to strain the limits of that depth. And you have to like the cohesion the team is showing right now. But Sports Happens, and this run cannot last forever. So when will it end?

 

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