Fabian Castillo’s rabona assist stole the show and FC Dallas reclaimed the Brimstone Cup on Saturday night, as Dallas defeated the Chicago Fire 3-1 at Toyota Stadium.
Goals from Maxi Urruti, Mauro Diaz and Mauro Rosales powered FC Dallas to the win, extending the club’s home unbeaten run to 16 matches in the process.
The Dallas starting 11 named by manager Oscar Pareja was again a surprise to most, with goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez earning his first MLS start since May 7th. Defender Walker Zimmerman was left off of the game day roster in another surprising move by Pareja, with the center back potentially resting for Wednesday’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal at Houston.
Many familiar names returned to the lineup though after the Seattle match, with defender Matt Hedges, Diaz and Urruti all earning starts.
Despite Chicago manager Veljko Paunović also making surprise changes to his lineup (goalkeeper Sean Johnson and midfielder David Accam were both left off the game day roster), it was the Fire who got off to a better start.
Striker Kennedy Igboananike found space in behind the FC Dallas defense and was able to fire a shot from inside the penalty box. But Gonzalez was equal to the effort, making a kick save to deny Chicago an early lead.
FC Dallas’ early efforts on goal were restricted to a single chance presented to Urruti, who fired well over the goal of Fire goalkeeper Matt Lampson in the 16th minute.
After a rather timid opening 20 minutes, the game roared to life on 23 minutes when Urruti scored his fifth goal of the season via a header.
It was Castillo’s individual effort to generate the cross for Urruti’s goal that will steal the headlines though, as the Colombian split two Chicago defenders before producing a spectacular rabona cross that found the head of Urruti.
The FC Dallas pressure continued on the goal of Lampson after Urruti’s header, with Kellyn Acosta, Diaz and Michael Barrios all having cracks on goal in the ensuing minutes.
Diaz stamped his mark on the game with a goal in the 41st minute, as his powerful strike from distance evaded the dive of Lampson to put the home side 2-0 up.
Lazy defending from the Fire allowed Diaz to have tons of time and space after receiving a pass from Acosta, which the Argentinian put to good use. The midfielder’s strike kissed the inside of the left post and went in, with the pace of the shot presenting Lampson with no opportunity to save it as FC Dallas took their 2-0 lead into halftime.
Chances for each side were reduced following the halftime break, as both team began to tire. Barrios came close to giving FC Dallas a third goal in the opening minute of the second half, but he was unable to finish from a tight angle after beating Lampson.
Chicago for their part did generate chances at the other end, although they were few and far between. Midfielder John Goossens had one of the best opportunities of the match for the visitors, but his low shot from distance was pushed wide by Gonzalez.
Tesho Akindele, Victor Ulloa and Mauro Rosales each entered as second-half substitutes for FC Dallas, with Rosales seeing his first game action since early June.
Former FC Dallas midfielder Arturo Alvarez pulled Chicago back into the match during second half stoppage time, when he curled a free kick over the wall and past Gonzalez to make the score 2-1. The goal gave the Fire hopes of pulling out a draw from the match, although they were left with less than two minutes to grab an equalizer.
Instead the visitors conceded a third as Rosales tapped-in from a Castillo cross for his second goal of the season. Castillo’s hard drive to the end line sucked in the goalkeeper Lampson, who over-committed and allowed Rosales to finish into an empty net.
The win lifts FC Dallas’ record to 12-6-4 (W-L-D) and gives them 40 points in the 2016 season, as they continue to lead the Western Conference and Supporters’ Shield races by three points over the Colorado Rapids.