Editorial (May 13, 2018) – Long story short, I couldn’t make the game or watch it (DVR epic fail). But I was able to listen on the radio (old school is good school). I was then fortunate to be able to re-watch the first half online (thank you Twitter) and I had the full picture. Mauro Diaz reigned supreme for FC Dallas yesterday, and the stars seem to be aligning once again.
From The Car: Mauro Diaz Magic for FC Dallas
I’ll keep this one short and sweet: when Mauro Diaz is on, just pray.
Oscar Pareja went back to “old reliable” in the 4-2-3-1 formation. Kellyn Acosta got his first start, Diaz starting in front of him, and the Dallas lineup looked good before the first whistle. Not getting as much time as he usually does, Diaz looked fresh and sharp with every touch.
Having been able to watch that first half, the first 24 minutes were worrisome. The LA Galaxy were on the front foot, and Dallas struggled defensively in their own half. A Romain Alessandrini rip from 20 yards out forced Jimmy Maurer into a fantastic diving save, but this would ironically turn the tide for Dallas.
Defensive Struggle to Offensive Execution
Dallas seemed to really struggle early in the first half, but once they settled in, it all clicked. Despite still allowing the Galaxy to attack down the wings, Dallas looked just as dangerous in the attacking final third. Nearing the half hour mark, Dallas really cranked up the heat (partial pun intended).
Mauro Diaz would be behind all three goals for Dallas on Saturday, but the first one was classic Maxi Urruti. Diaz drove down the left side into the final third and placed it to Urruti. With his back to the goal, and a defender right on his back, Urruti took a wide turn to the right, gave himself space, and from 25 yards out, just ripped one to the bottom right corner for his fourth of the season.
Back and Forth
Dallas would find their second of the afternoon just before halftime. Again, Mauro Diaz with time and space in the middle, delicately placed a through-ball between two Galaxy defenders. Roland Lamah took it in stride behind the defense and deftly finished low and across goal to put Dallas up 2-0.
But the Galaxy came back with a vengeance. Ola Kamara would use his size and strength to win a header off a corner and bring the visitors back to within one.
But Mauro Diaz decided to take things into his own hands, as he danced around a handful of Galaxy defenders and found Lamah again. This time at the back post, Diaz floated a ball on point to Lamah, whose header with power was too much for David Bingham to keep out.
Dallas’ Reto Ziegler would pick up two yellow cards in a 15-minute span, and Dallas would let one more slip past them. But the home side was able to hold on late and in dramatic 10-man fashion to get all 3 points.
It was a packed house for Zlatan Ibrahimovic in Frisco yesterday, but the home fans left happy. Zlatan was kept in check most of the game, except his free kick that nearly broke the goal in half. He also had several half chances throughout the match, but never a clean or clear chance on frame in open play.
Diaz leading the attack like a point guard was great to see again. Dallas looked confident in attack, and for once this season were lethal with their finishing. Pareja likes to stick with what works, so his midfield lineup decision-making is getting tougher and tougher as nearly everyone is back healthy and 100 percent.
Dallas will host Vancouver next weekend before déjà vu kicks in. After Vancouver, it’s up to Toronto, but then Dallas will face the Galaxy in the StubHub Center on May 30th and then host LAFC back in Frisco the week after. Now in fourth place in the Western Conference, Dallas will look to their stonewall defense and menacing midfield attack to remain a threat in the league.