FC Dallas Recap vs Montreal Impact
Recap and Outlook: FC Dallas and the Canadian Two-Step
Dallas Gets 3 Points Across The Border
FC Dallas traveled northeast into Montreal this past Saturday in search of 3 points on the road. Missing starting keeper Jesse Gonzalez, defender Matt Hedges, and midfielder Kellyn Acosta, the Hoops looked to stay in the top three of the Western Conference.
It was a shock to hear that No. 10 play-maker Mauro Diaz did not make the trip north, picking up a groin injury the days prior to the flight north. This left Oscar Pareja with the decision to play a 4-4-2, with homegrown Victor Ulloa and Colombian stalwart Carlos Gruezo running the midfield.
The decision was also made to start Cristian Colman up top with Maxi Urruti. Colman, who looked poised to score tons of goals as the new #9 for FC Dallas, had yet to make his scoring debut in MLS.
Probably the second biggest surprise for this matchup involved Maynor Figueroa. The Honduran International flew into Montreal just some 24 hours after a loss in the Gold Cup in Arizona. He would lead the back line with Atiba Harris, Ryan Hollingshead, and Hernan Grana.
Goals, Goals, and no Goals
FC Dallas came out looking fresh and revitalized after a long hiatus between the U.S. Open Cup and league play. There were chances back and forth early, but nothing really threatening. The 21st minute saw Colman score his first goal – that was not called a goal. Dallas’ Ryan Hollingshead quickly attacked down the left flank and into the box. Colman found the ball at his feet, and after 2 attempts, poked the ball across the line. Montreal’s Daniel Lovitz found himself just inside the goal line and headed it clear, but the ball had passed the line. The nearside linesman seemed to be in position to make the call, but a goal was not given.
No more than 2 minutes after Colman’s attempt, Montreal came down the field and scored in the 23rd minute. Carlos Gruezo found himself on the wrong side of Michael Salazar, who headed a cross off the inside of the left post and into the net. FC Dallas failed to find any real rhythm after finding themselves down halfway through the first half.
Montreal would hold a 1-0 lead going into halftime, but it wouldn’t last long.
Colman Comes to Life
Dallas looked alive early and often. Retaining possession after a corner, Maxi Urruti was eventually found on the wide left side and quickly drilled a low ball across the box. Evan Bush was unable to come out and Cristian Colman found himself at the back post, finishing his first goal in MLS play.
Colman wasn’t done though, and 10 minutes later he tallied his and Dallas’ second goal of the night. A beautiful through ball from Gruezo found Colman winning a footrace against the Impact backline. He took a quick touch off the chest, rounded Bush, and finished in style for his second and game-winning goal.
FC Dallas then switched to a more defensive stance, which nearly cost them several times. Montreal attacked in waves, as Dallas’ defense seemed to become a little too lax. But several good saves from Seitz and sliding challenges from the back line resulted in 3 points for the north Texas side – seeing them go top of the table in the Western Conference.
A Look Ahead
Dallas head home with a 1 point lead and 2 game advantage atop the Western Conference. They look forward to a home this Saturday the 29th against Vancouver Whitecaps, who are coming off a loss at home against a slightly depleted Portland side.
Suspensions, Sunshine, and Stars
Dallas’ Maynor Figueroa picked up a yellow in the match against Montreal, and will be suspended against Vancouver due to yellow card accumulation. Walker Zimmerman is coming off a lingering injury and could be poised to start Saturday if Oscar Pareja deems him ready.
It doesn’t take a meteorologist to predict July and August weather in north Texas: it’s gonna be hot. Temperatures have been hovering around 100, and will more than likely be doing the same when Vancouver comes into town. The Pacific Northwest side will need to adjust to the heat, and quickly. FC Dallas thrives at home, especially in the heat, and was recently described as the toughest location to play in MLS.
The Gold Cup wraps up Wednesday and FC Dallas will be getting back the 3 players mentioned earlier in this article: Gonzalez, Hedges, and Acosta. Permitting they stay healthy and injury-free, we could see all 3 coming right back and starting against Vancouver. We’ll also need to keep an eye on the Mauro Diaz situation. With these additions lingering in the wake, FC Dallas could switch back to their normal attacking 4-2-3-1 formation. But with Colman finally getting on the score sheet, it may not be a bad idea to go with a 2-front forward system again. Oscar “Papi” Pareja has a lot to consider in the coming days before his side looks to extend their lead atop the West.