Jara on the mark as Dallas tops Miami

After a tough couple of weeks littered with poor performances and struggled in front of goal, FC Dallas outworked and outshot an Inter Miami side loaded with household names as the Hoops looked to cement a playoff place.

Luchi Gonzalez had to deal with a revolving door at the heart of defense as Matt Hedges returned from injury, while Reto Ziegler announced that his wife had come into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and that he would have to isolate away from his team mates. One other change came as Fafa Picault returned with Tanner Tessmann making way, Jesus Ferreira slotted into Tessmann’s midfield spot.

FC Dallas had the ball in the net as early as the fourth minute with Ryan Hollingshead racing through midfield to receive a square ball from Franco Jara that hit the post and Ben Sweat on the way in. Unfortunately for the fan favorite, Jara was offside receiving the initial pass.

The two sides traded goalmouth scrambles as the half carried on. In the 17th minute an Andres Ricaurte free kick saw a Hollingshead effort pushed along the line, and Bressan’s follow-up effort ballooned up off a defender, hitting the crossbar before the Inter Miami defense could clear the danger.

“The first half I thought we did some really good things. We put some things in the box that we were unlucky to not to not put away, and then they got their goal. The first half can be a little bit more balanced, and we’ve got to be strong defensively. We can’t just open ourselves up too early.”

Luchi Gonzalez

At the other end, a Matias Pellegrini long ball was punched by Jimmy Maurer, who had to react quickly as the ball fell nicely for Lewis Morgan to shoot from the edge of the area.

Michael Barrios should have scored his second goal of 2020 after a ball over the top from Thiago Santos was headed on by Jara. Barrios ran clear of two defenders to go one-on-one with John McCarthy but could only produce a weak touch around the keeper that Leandro Gonzalez Pirez was able to comfortably stop.

With the let off, Miami almost immediately took the lead through Mexican star Rodolfo Pizarro. After Pellegrini won a 50-50 challenge with Santos, the ball fell kindly to Gonzalo Higuain. With the Dallas back line frozen, the former Juventus striker played a pass between Matt Hedges and Bressan, while Pizarro peeled off the shoulder of Bryan Reynolds to pick up the ball and slot past Maurer.

“I feel like I kind of misjudged it. I felt like we were gonna win the ball at first. I was kind of caught in a half space, because Matt was going to step to Higuain. I feel like Matt should have been more tucked in and Bressan could have stuck, but it was just an emergency moment.

“I just need to scream at Matt like ‘Yo, man behind you’ just to give him a heads up. I feel like I could help that out more.”

Bryan Reynolds on what he saw of Miami’s goal.

The second half began slowly but Dallas were able to create an opening in the 55th minute. Michael Barrios played a through ball into the path off Bryan Reynolds until Gonzalez Pirez, already sitting on a yellow card, took the Homegrown down with referee Victor Rivas pointing to the spot. After a three minute delay for a VAR check, Franco Jara finally stepped up to roll the ball down McCarthy’s right side to level the score.

Just after the hour and both sides again traded blows as Blaise Matuidi directed a free header into the hands of Maurer a minute before Fafa Picaul saw a headed effort of his own tipped over the bar.

The visitors moved into a low block, placing nine men behind the ball, and brought on former Huntsman Victor Ulloa looking to secure the point or use the pace of Morgan and Pizarro to support Higuain on the counter attack.

Ema Twumasi followed Ricardo Pepi as the team’s second sub in the 82nd minute and was immediately involved in giving Dallas the lead. Twumasi laid off Reynolds’ throw in close to the Miami byline. The Ghanaian laid off to Michael Barrios, who played in Reynolds. The 19-year-old dropped a shoulder on Leandro Gonzalez Pirez and whipped a cross low across the six yard box that Ryan Hollingshead slotted home.

Miami turned their attentions back to the attack, bringing on Higuain’s brother Federico and Julian Carranza, but the Eastern Conference side couldn’t boost their playoff hopes with an equalizer.

“Obviously this year is not not a normal year for us, our league – or any League or any sport in the world – so it’s about adapting. I think the best teams, the ones that can end the season the strongest, are the ones that are adapting quicker. We certainly have had our challenges and our adversities this year, but we keep asking each other to to give everything and keep adapting and keep an open mind.”

Luchi Gonzalez on the uncertainty of how the season will be decided.

Dallas pulled alongside LAFC on both points and points-per-game before the California outfit took to the field against Houston for the evening’s final game.

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