FC Dallas came from behind with a late Jesus Ferreira winner to finish out an incident packed second half at Toyota Stadium.
“We are happy with the win, winning at home is important,” said Head Coach Nico Estevez. “The boys know that and in the second half they turned it on and showed we were hungry for the win.”
Coach Estevez made one change to the lineup from the 1-1 draw in Vancouver. Jose Martinez got the nod over Sebastien Ibeagha to partner Nkosi Tafari. Jesus Jimenez finally received his visa and took up a place on the Dallas bench.
Peter Vermes has a few players stuck in the trainer’s room. Johnny Russell, Alan Pulido, Gadi Kinda, and Kortne Ford have yet to appear for Sporting in 2023. Despite missing three strong attacking talents, SKC led MLS coming into the game in both shots and shots on target. The caveat was that those failed to produce a single goal.
It looked like Dallas was going to grab an early goal, taking advantage of SKC’s high line. Instead it was Daniel Salloi getting the visitors’ first goal of the year in the 11th minute. Nkosi Tafari took the ball off the feet of Erik Thommy just outside the box. Salloi picked up the loose ball and his shot took a big deflection off Edwin Cerrillo on its way past Maarten Paes.
The narrative heading in to the game was that SKC created half chances in high volume. Somehow a throw-in in the SKC half almost produced a goal after Willy Agada easily pushed off Jose Martinez before trying to catch Paes off his line from around 50 yards out. The Dutch keeper scrambled back to stop the effort.
Dallas had struggled to create clear-cut chances in the opening half hour. Paxton Pomykal – on a run down the right – squared a pass to Jesus Ferreira in the box. Ferreira took the pass behind him as his marker slid to try and intercept the ball. It looked like a gimme, 15 yards out on his left foot under little defensive pressure, but John Pulskamp was able to tip the low effort wide.
The hosts struggled with the low block that SKC collapses to, with nine players around the edge of the box. Paul Arriola found a gap in the third minute of stoppage time, but Paxton Pomykal slipped as he tried to take possession on the edge of the box. A pretty solid analogy of a first half that saw plenty of slick play from Dallas but completely falling apart as they approached the Kansas City area.
“the only thing I told him the halftime is we need to believe that we’re good,” said Estevez of his adjustments at the break. “That we’ll go out there and we’ll win this game.”
Dallas started the half brightly again, finally breaking down Kansas City with a goal from almost the same spot as Salloi’s in the 55th minute. Alan Velasco took down a long ball from Jesus Ferreira out of the midfield. The Argentine ran down the left to the edge of the area, with the SKC defense edging towards covering Paxton Pomykal’s overlapping run, Velasco fed Sebastian Lletget inside. Lletget tapped the ball back to Velasco, to curl the ball into the far corner.
Paxton Pomykal limped out four minutes later to be replaced by Tsiki Ntsabeleng. Coach later said Pomykal felt some sornesss, so they opted to be cautious.
Sporting Kansas City had two opportunities from the spot after the hour. Maarten Paes brought down Willy Agada after a phenomenal pass from Ben Sweat on the left split the Dallas defense. The Dutchman parried Agada’s effort from the spot wide to his left before a VAR review led to a retake. Erik Thommy took the ball this time, with Paes pushing away an effort destined for his top right corner.
There was a second, and third, coming of Jesus in the 81st minute. Jesus Jimenez made his debut in place of Sebastian Lletget, and Geovane Jesus replaced Ema Twumasi. Lletget had been pushed higher to sit behind Ferreira, the FCD Homegrown dropped into that spot with Jimenez playing to more traditional higher line.
We were immediately treated to a Jesus-to-Jesus goal in the 84th minute. Geovane chased down an attempted clearance by Ben Sweat. The Brazilian played a one-two with Paul Arriola and crossed low for Jesus Ferreira. Pulskamp managed to keep Ferreira’s first effort out but could do nothing about his follow-up.
The final three minutes of regular time were as dramatic as could be. Referee Pierre-Luc Lauziere pointed to the spot once again as Agada went down in close proximity to Paes. The Dallas keeper strongly denied any contact but was shown a second yellow card. With Paes waiting on the touchline to see if he needed to walk back to the locker room, another video review found that there was an offside in the build-up that kept the ball off the penalty mark and Maarten Paes on the pitch.
Estevez immediately reacted to the decision. Sebastien Ibeagha and Facundo Quignon shored things up in the back, with Paul Arriola and Alan Velasco taking a seat. Dallas sat back in almost a flat 4-5-1 – a defensive form for the 4-2-3-1 they’d adopted – for the eight minutes of stoppage time before securing a second win of 2023.
Next up is a trip to reigning MLS champs, LAFC. The California club has won both home games this season, scoring seven times in the process.