Both Kellyn Acosta and Maxi Urruti scored second half goals on Sunday evening at Toyota Stadium in FC Dallas’ 2-0 home win over the Vancouver Whitecaps.
The victory extends FC Dallas’ home unbeaten run to 17 matches in MLS play, while also putting Dallas six points clear of Colorado in the Western Conference and Supporters’ Shield standings.
Manager Oscar Pareja named a strong starting eleven for the match following an extended eight day break for most of the FC Dallas squad, with the exception of MLS All-Star Game participants Mauro Diaz and Acosta. Both Diaz and Acosta started in the FC Dallas midfield though, along with Carlos Gruezo.
Defender Aubrey David was given a rest after starting several matches upon his arrival on-loan in Frisco, allowing Matt Hedges and Walker Zimmerman to start at the two center back spots. New Brazilian striker Getterson was not named to the matchday roster despite training with the first team this week, allowing Urruti to start up top with Ryan Hollingshead and Michael Barrios on the wings.
The hot temperatures at the 5:00 p.m. kickoff of the match contributed to the game’s slow start, with neither side forcing the issue too heavily. Diaz began what would become an FC Dallas shooting gallery in the 12th minute, firing just over the goal of David Ousted from the top of the 18-yard box.
Urruti had the best chance for either side to take the lead in the first half just before the 30 minute mark, working his way past the Vancouver back line before woefully skying a shot into the vacant South End bleachers at Toyota Stadium.
Several half-chances were presented to FC Dallas before the first half cooling break due to the heat, but Zimmerman, Acosta, Maynor Figueroa and Hollingshead were all unable to put the ball past Ousted. Vancouver for their part didn’t do much to trouble Chris Seitz in the FC Dallas net, with leading scorers Pedro Morales and Christian Bolanos neutralized well by Figueroa and company.
The 0-0 score at halftime was largely the fault of FC Dallas and Urruti in particular for failing to take advantage of several promising chances that were presented to the home side.
However come the second half, Dallas became clinical finishers in front of goal, finally punishing the Whitecaps for their lazy defending.
Acosta latched onto a pass from Diaz in the Vancouver penalty area and fired a low drive under the arm of Ousted for the game’s opening goal in the 56th minute. The goal, which would stand as the game-winner, capped a big week for Acosta, who also turned 21 years-old and made his first MLS All-Star appearance.
Ousted was partially at fault for the goal though, as the goalkeeper who leads MLS in saves made was disappointed at not being able to reach the strike.
The Dallas lead was doubled just three minutes later through Urruti, who did wonderfully to race onto the end of a pass from Atiba Harris before firing past an on-rushing Ousted. The goal was Urruti’s sixth of the season and ties him with Barrios for the team lead.
It was smooth sailing from then out for Dallas, with the Whitecaps never really threatening to get back in the match. Striker Blas Perez was unable to make an impact in his 63 minutes of game action upon his return to Frisco, although the former FC Dallas player was given a good ovation when he was pulled from the match by Vancouver manager Carl Robinson.
Tesho Akindele, Carlos Lizarazo and Mauro Rosales were the three FC Dallas substitutes used on Sunday, although not much was required of them as Dallas cruised to a 2-0 win in front of 13,824 spectators.
Hollingshead and Urruti in particular were bright spots in the victory, which improves Dallas’ record to 13-6-5 (W-L-D) and gives them 44 points on the season. Dallas also moved into the league lead for shutouts with the clean-sheet win, the ninth this year for the club.
The rumored Fabian Castillo transfer to Trabzonspor was an interesting subplot throughout Sunday’s match, with FC Dallas officials and several soccer journalists reporting that the deal is now off between Dallas and the Turkish club.
Pareja addressed the drama surrounding Castillo’s potential departure in his post-match comments.