Everybody had been saying FC Dallas has no offense without Mauro Diaz. Dallas had two straight games at home that saw them get a tie. Dallas is playing the defending champ on the road. Dallas has never won in Portland. All that frustration seemed to show last night in a 3-1 win last night. Within thirty minutes, the game felt over as Barrios, Castillo, and Tesho all got in a goal. Most of the goals were scored off terrible errors from Portland, but also great play by Max Urruti; last year we talked about how great David Texeira could be if he found his scoring ability. Urruti has the same work rate of Texeira, and he is a big enough threat to score goals that he has to be respected. That will open up room for Diaz, Castillo, and Barrios.
The midfield duo of Gruezo and Ulloa I like a lot. It lets Gruezo be more free to attack, and it lets Ulloa play defense which is what he excels at doing (watch the first two minutes of the game last night, and my point will be proven). Gruezo will be out on Sunday because of yellow card accumulation, but that just means Vic and Kellyn will return to the CDM roles. That duo took FC Dallas to the conference finals, not a bad “second team”.
The defense played great. It is nice to have Atiba Harris and Zach Loyd come off the bench. Two veteran players who can help shut the game down late. Walker Zimmerman really killed off the last bit of momentum late in the game when he cleared the ball off the line. I know a lot of people like Zach Loyd over Walker Zimmerman, but if you want Dallas to win a championship, set piece defense is crucial. Walker is better on set piece defense. This does not mean Loyd is useless. Dallas still have a utility defensive player who can contribute anytime.
Dallas now have a chance to grab six points in a week and hand Sporting Kansas City two losses in a week. It will be interesting to see if they can pull it off, but it will help going into the roadtrip.