Toronto, Ontario, Canada (May 25th, 2018) – FC Dallas began their weekend in Toronto against the reigning MLS champions Toronto FC. Jesse Gonzalez would get his first start of the season for Dallas, and it was one he’ll never forget.
Jesse Gonzalez Heroics Save FC Dallas
FC Dallas entered a stretch of three games in nine days Friday evening. Facing a Toronto side picked apart by injuries, Dallas would look to secure points in only their fourth road match of the season.
The Dallas defense was put to the test early and often as Toronto came flying out of the gate. Gonzalez would find himself busier than he had hoped, making an incredible nine saves on the night. Five of those saves, including a penalty against Sebastian Giovinco, came in the first half.
Survive The Storm
The first 10 minutes of the match were spent primarily in the Dallas defensive third. The young Dallas midfield struggled defensively and left a lot of work to do for the back line. Anton Nedyalkov picked up a knock in training during the week, leaving Maynor Figueroa to play the left back position.
Jesse Gonzalez made several acrobatic reactionary saves leaving the crowd wondering how they weren’t up by at least three goals early on. Giovinco would have a handful of great chances, but Jesse was there each time to deny. It seemed to be going all Toronto’s way until Dallas pulled a rabbit out of the hat in the 11th minute, completely deflating the atmosphere at BMO Field.
A Goal From Nothing
Figueroa took a throw-in from about midfield and launched it down the line towards Santiago Mosquera. Mosquera then shielded his defender off and let the ball run past him, leaving him the entire Toronto half to run into. Toronto were completely caught off guard by Mosquera’s turn and were forced to chase back as Dallas attacked in numbers and with speed.
Mosquera would finally be caught up in the box, but he hit a cross through the box just missing Michael Barrios. Kellyn Acosta would have a first-time try go back across goal, right into the path of Maxi Urruti, who put it back across the other side of goal and into the net. A purposeful redirection by Urruti left no chance for Clint Irwin in goal.
Maxi's goal in the 11th minute marks his sixth of the season. Already halfway to his twelve from last year. 🏹🎯
— FC Dallas (@FCDallas) May 26, 2018
Stoppage Time Déjà Vu
Dallas would sit back the vast majority of the match, absorbing waves of attack from the home side. Despite several players going to ground for cramping/injuries, most people were surprised to see seven minutes of stoppage time added. Dallas fans were quickly reliving the nightmare from last Saturday’s seven minutes of stoppage time where they gave up their lead. But seven minutes and seven yellow cards later, Dallas came out victors with all three points.
Gonzalez has been working through minor injuries early this season. Having watched Jimmy Maurer make every start this season and do a fantastic job, he knew he would need a bit of luck to get back out there. Maurer did not have his best match last weekend, and so Oscar Pareja was ready to make the change.
With a match midweek in Los Angeles and then next Saturday back in Frisco, Dallas will most likely rely on their full squad this week. Matt Hedges will be out for the match against the LA Galaxy due to yellow card accumulation, and we haven’t heard a timetable for Nedyalkov’s return. The Dallas backline could be stretched thin over the next eight days, so the midfield must do a better job of clogging lanes and retaining possession. Zlatan Ibrahimovic midweek and then LAFC’s attack next weekend will really put this Dallas side to the test.