FC Dallas notched a 2-0 win the in the resumption of May’s abandoned game against St. Louis City SC.
After holding off the Western Conference leaders’ high press in the first 50 minutes last month, the intensity of that press was missing in the second part.
“It was weird,” said FC Dallas Head Coach Nico Estevez. “You could see the players on both teams had some missed touches, weren’t understanding things, and rushing the play. It was something new for everyone. One of the things we talked about was being aggressive playing behind the backline and I think we did it. Today, we had better execution than other games and we’re thankful to score the chances we created.”
Coach Estevez was limited to what he could do with an almost-locked-in lineup from the first game. The only changes from May 6 came about through injury as Paxton Pomykal and Sebastian Lletget were replaced by Alan Velasco and Edwin Cerrillo to set the team in a 4-4-2.
Paul Arriola also started the game but was replaced by Jesus Jimenez in the first half.
The game started from a goal kick at the North end of Toyota Stadium with, somewhat coincidentally, another storm system hovering around the vicinity.
Coach Estevez predicted a hectic start earlier in the week, and it certainly wasn’t that. The only thing that happened in the first 15 minutes (50-65) was a clash of heads between Jader Obrian and Johnny Nelson that left the former FCD full back bloodied.
The other former draftee on the St. Louis side, Lucas Bartlett, earned a yellow card in the 68th minute. After Roman Bürki got caught in possession before clearing down-field. As Dallas recovered the ball and Geovane Jesus broke into the visitors’ half, Bartlett put an arm across Geovane to impede the run.
Finally, something happened in the 80th minute after half an hour of lackluster soccer. Nicholas Gioacchini played a blind pass directly to Edwin Cerrillo as St. Louis attempted to break forward. The defensive midfielder immediately found Jader Obrian on the halfway line, and the ball was immediately pushed forward into the path of Jesus Ferreira‘s run between the two center backs. The homegrown happily took his chance to equal Kenny Cooper‘s career mark of 46 goals for FC Dallas and take a share of the lead in the MLS Golden Boot race.
“For me, I’m just happy I can keep scoring goals and helping the team win,” said Ferreira. “I’m excited to keep helping the team with goals, and I love scoring goals as a striker. I want to make history in the club. I grew up watching FC Dallas and my father played for this club. I have always looked forward to making history and I feel like I am achieving that and putting my name at the top of the record book.”
With the lead, Nico Estevez turned to Nkosi Tafari in the 88th minute. Tafari – who was out injured for the initial game – replaced Alan Velasco as FC Dallas adopted a 3-4-3 to close out the game.
Despite the defensive shape, Dallas doubled the lead just a minute later through an unlikely source. Jesus Ferreira carried the ball to the edge of the City SC box, spreading the play out wide to Jesus Jimenez. The Spanish forward looked to aim a low cross at Ferreira, but the ball went through traffic with Marco Farfan making the back post run to get his second career goal.
The win saw FC Dallas leapfrog LAFC for third in the West before the Black & Gold took on Atlanta United in a late kick-off. Remarkably, Dallas earned its first home clean sheet of 2023 at the ninth attempt.
Despite the short shift, it’ll be a quick turnaround for the Hoops with a 9:30 pm Sunday kick-off in Portland before a Wednesday night in Austin.