FC Dallas loses late to officially end playoff hunt

FC Dallas were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention after a close contest with LAFC. Dallas twice took the lead and spent most of the game on the front foot, but for a hat-trick from Cristian Arango.

“I think for an observer, a fun match to watch. Back and forth, two teams fighting extremely hard. Credit to LAFC getting the result at the very end, but I’m very proud of our boys and the way that they played, the standard that they kept.”

Marco Ferruzzi

The big news coming into the game was that Ricardo Pepi missed out. El Tren sustained a foot contusion in the USMNT’s win over Costa Rica that required a stitch. Phelipe kept the start ahead of Jimmy Maurer in a lineup that otherwise virtually picks itself at present.

FC Dallas found itself in possession around the LAFC box in the 9th minute. Patiently spreading the ball around, Ema Twumasi was released into the area from a Jader Obrian pass. An attempted shot from the former fell to the latter, who smartly feigned a half-volley to square the ball central to Jesus Ferreira. The homegrown attacker laid the ball back for Ryan Hollingshead to stroke home his third goal of the season.

If the surprise lead wasn’t enough, FCD almost doubled it three minutes later. A sublime pass from a wide position by Brandon Servania tempted Jamal Blackman off his line leaving Franco Jara the opportunity to chip the former Chelsea goalkeeper. The ball could only find the crossbar, while Blackman recovered to hold on to Paxton Pomykal’s acrobatic follow-up.

Bob Bradley made a double change in the 27th minute to switch formation, with the visitors reaping the rewards soon after, levelling from the penalty spot. Matt Hedges clipped the foot of Raheem Edwards – one of the two two early subs – as the Canadian winger attempted to flick the ball over the GOAT’s head on the edge of the Dallas area. Chris Penso initially let play go as Edwards continued rolling around in the box, but the replay showed just enough contact to justify Arango’s soon-to-be successful spot kick.

Dallas retook the lead in the 45th minute through Franco Jara. A giveaway in the midfield led Ferreira and Obrian through the LAFC half with Jara applying the low finish from the edge of the area.

Bob Bradley’s men thought they’d equalized in the 52nd minute through Cristian Arango, only to see the offside flag raised against Latif Blessing. The veteran coach had every right to feel aggrieved as Blessing wasn’t involved in the play, but was in the line of sight of FCD keeper Phelipe. A similar case to Ryan Hollingshead’s disallowed goal against Minnesota United of VAR holding to the letter of the law in a situation that doesn’t necessarily meet the spirit of the game.

Somewhat ironically Arango did go on to score a goal that appeared to be offside in the 75th minute. The Colombian was clattered by Phelipe in an effort to prevent the goal with the stadium left wondering whether the goal would stand. While Danny Musovski appeared to be offside from multiple angles in the build-up, no conclusive angle was available to confirm or deny whether Ema Twumasi kept the LAFC substitute on.

By the time play eventually resumed, Arango would only have to wait a minute to complete his hat-trick. Twumasi turned a low cross by Mamadou Fall into Arango’s path, and he made no mistake with the finish.

Arango had swapped jerseys with Jader Obrian at half time, a year after finishing behind the FC Dallas winger in the scoring charts in Colombia with 10 goals to Obrian’s 13. While Obrian’s two-assist game was a success, the night belonged to Arango who made it 11 goals in 13 games since making to move to MLS.

MLS officials will be kept busy by action after the whistle. Franco Jara took exception to Raheem Edwards’ comments towards the FC Dallas fans that soon turned into a scrum of players and coaches. Edwards was seen to grab Ryan Hollingshead around the throat, a kick seemed to be thrown, and at least one object was thrown from the blue seats around the players tunnel.

“We want to protect the fans that come out and support us. We want to we want to make sure that we protect them and we let [Edwards] know that you don’t mess with our fans.”

Jesus Ferreira

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