Whatever it is about Kansas City, Luchi Gonzalez is a fan. Three of the FC Dallas coach’s six MLS away wins have come at Children’s Mercy Park, and Luchi’s record against Peter Vermes is now five wins and a tie from six games.
The win marked FC Dallas’ first points on the road of the season, and combined with last week’s home win against the LA Galaxy, forms a great starting point to try and turn the season around.
“Last week was an amazing win, but it was going to count as nothing if we didn’t continue that. I think last week was a good step in the right direction of where we want to go and the type of game we want to play. Today we showed that we are keeping the momentum. This is a good start of where we want to go, so it’s up and three points at a time. We’re kind of showing the game we want to play.”Jesus Ferreira
Buzz nailed his prediction earlier in the day, as Justin Che was not able to get fit after a lower leg injury sustained in Tuesday’s practice. Ema Twumasi filled in for the Homegrown, behind Paxton Pomykal. Pomykal shifted to the right wing to accommodate for Szabolcs Schon on the left, with Jesus Ferreira backing up Ricardo Pepi once again.
It took just two minutes and twenty four seconds for FC Dallas to take the lead, through arguably their most creative player – Paxton Pomykal. Ryan Hollingshead won the ball from Johnny Russell high up the Dallas left, squared the ball to Paxton Pomykal 20 yards out, and Pax shot right footed past Tim Melia. The goal was FC Dallas’ first from outside of the area in 2021.
The chance came from Bressan, then Ryan Hollingshead stepping up to push numbers into the midfield, and Ricardo Pepi had the ball at his feet in the box from a similar start. Facundo Quignon stepped up to head the ball towards Pomykal , who found Pepi down the left side of the box. This time however, Tim Melia was ready for the chance.
Dallas heavily favored the right side in the first half, as Szabolbcs Schon seemed to have the better of Graham Zusi. In the 20th minute, Schon tested Melia with a low drive inside the box after pulling down a ball from Quignon and cutting inside Zusi.
“There’s still definitely room for improvement game by game, that we’re hitting more in sync and comfortable with each other in the final third. We scored two goals today that you might not score on a different night but I felt like we had other opportunities that might have been better chances in front of goal.”Paxton Pomykal
It seemed most of the game was coming down the Dallas left, but that included SKC’s first real look at goal in the 32nd minute. Graham Zusi managed to find a rare gap in the Schon/Hollingshead combination, playing a cross for Gadi Kinda.
Kinda was able to slip in around Nkosi Tafari before directing a header goalwards, but the effort was slow enough for Jimmy Maurer to comfortably hold.
Although neither side could claim dominance, FC Dallas seemed to have the most of the first half with the second starting similarly with an early goal from outside the box. Sporting peppered Dallas with crosses, but an incredible 16 clearances from Nkosi Tafari really eliminated the threat on Jimmy Maurer’s goal for most of the game.
FC Dallas had the ball teed up for a Ricardo Pepi effort from just beyond the 18 yard line, only for Sporting to recover the ball. The hosts effort to pass down the left was met with a tackle from Nkosi Tafari, who found Pepi in the attacking third. Pepi fed the ball left to Schon, who in turn threaded a pass between defenders to Jesus Ferreira. Ferreira took a touch to take the ball on to his right foot and away from Andreu Fontas before curling past Melia to double the score just five minutes into the half.
Sporting Park halted to a standstill at the hour mark. Gadi Kinda evaded a Bressan tackle before seeing a shot saved by Jimmy Maurer. Daniel Salloi went for the rebound but Ema Twumasi was able to shut the Hungarian out. Trainers worked on Bressan’s hamstring while the video assistant referee ultimately decided Twumasi’s contact on Salloi did not constitute a penalty.
Kinda did have the ball in the net in the 74th minute, but Luis Martins was flagged offside. Bressan was once again down. Paxton Pomykal was replaced by Johnny Nelson, while Brandon Servania switched in for Jesus Ferriera. Jader Obrian had checked in a few minutes prior, in place of Schon.
Bressan’s night did come to an end in a disappointing way for the Brazilian moments later. Matt Hedges made his return, but referee Alex Chilowicz opted to show a yellow card for timewasting as Bressan handed off the captain’s armband. An overstep by the referee placed Bressan back in danger of a suspension after seeing one card rescinded for good behavior of late. Franco Jara also replaced Ricardo Pepi.
Johnny Russell was by far and away SKC’s best player through the night, but he seemed to be the one setting everything up. The Scot’s fourth goal against FC Dallas came in the 85th minute to cut the deficit to one. Salloi took down a cross-field pass from Graham Zusi, and floated a cross to the back post where Russell had comfortably got in front of Jader Obrian to power a header past Jimmy Maurer.
As is often the case between the two sides, tempers flared towards the end of the game. In injury time, Ilie Sanchez may have been lucky to stay on the field after an elbow to the head of Brandon Servania in stoppage time as FCD held on to pick up its first points on the road in 2021.
Awesome game!!! A thought a cured to me last night when I was watching the game. Luchi’s system requires the players to play with a lot of quick one & two touch passes in the final third to break down a defense and it looks like when you play Paxton, Jesus, Pepi, Cerrillo, and Schon . they execute it a lot better than the veteran TAM players because Im guessing young players are more likely to take instructions from Luchi than the Ricaurte’s and Jara of the world. They also have more energy to press and get back on defense. I guess I just always figured that professional players just do what the Managers instruct them to do. Or maybe I have a tendency to rate foreign players higher than your domestic players?