FC Dallas made it nine Texas Derby home games unbeaten (6W, 3D) behind goals from both of the team’s recent big-money signings on Saturday night. FCD may have retained El Capitan pending any other Texas Derby games in the increasingly unclear regular season.
Luchi Gonzalez stuck with a four-man backline against the Dynamo after an encouraging second half in Minnesota earlier in the week. Matt Hedges returned after clearing concussion protocol to anchor the defense with Reto Ziegler. Bryan Reynolds kept the start on the right with Ryan Hollingshead restored to left back.
The big change came further up the field as Andres Ricaurte made his first start alongside Tanner Tessmann in the midfield.
Unlike the past couple of games, chances were slow to come in this one as the Texas Derby foes felt each other out in the midfield.
Dallas brought the game to life just inside the opening half-hour after Darwin Ceren pulled back Andres Ricaurte 35 yards from goal to earn a yellow card and a Dallas free-kick.
Matt Hedges headed back Reto Ziegler’s delivery to Franco Jara at the corner of the box. Jara’s cross is cleared out as far as Ricaurte, who smashes volley from 23 yards for his first goal for his new club, and an immediate Goal of the Season candidate.
“That goal was a special goal. Obviously that’s not something that a coach can influence. That’s just something that a coach can enjoy.”Luchi Gonzalez on Andres Ricaurte’s goal
Houston came close to an equalizer as Mauro Manotas stole the ball off the feet of Bryan Reynolds – who had just made a stop on a through pass – on the edge of the area before Kyle Zobeck got low to make the stop.
If FC Dallas’ goal wasn’t technically from a set piece, Houston’s equalizer certainly was. Matt Hedges fouled Mauro Manotas on the edge of the area leaving Memo Rodriguez to rifle in the free kick across Zobeck’s body high into the corner.
The hosts went into the break level but likely the happier of the two sides as they largely kept the Dynamo out of the defensive third, and were having success in getting in behind Houston’s fullbacks.
A derby game that was largely without controversy fell by the wayside just over a minute into the second half as VAR got involved. Santiago Mosquera hit a low shot off a Bryan Reynolds cross with Houston’s Marko Maric scrambling to claw the ball off the line.
While there wasn’t a wholly definitive camera angle, play was held up until the Video Assistant Referee could determine that there was no clear and obvious error from referee Joe Dickerson.
“The VAR checked all the angles available, with the best angle being the Right Goal Camera, and was unable to determine if the ball had wholly crossed the goal line. The on-field decision of no goal stood as it was not a clear and obvious error.”The statement given by the Professional Referees Organization when asked if there was a definitive angle in deciding not to review the play.
The two teams endeavored to find away round each other’s stubborn midfield as central play went out of the window. Dallas was boosted by a stellar defensive showing by both Thiago Santos and Andres Ricaurte, who each recorded 11 defensive actions in the game.
It would be Dallas to find their way with a play that began in true Luchi-ball fashion, starting with right back Bryan Reynolds before cycling through the defense and up the left side.
Just after the hour mark, that play advanced through a Santiago Mosquera cross that missed the mark but was recovered by Michael Barrios. The Colombian played a series of one-touch passes with Tanner Tessmann and Ryan Hollingshead before chipping the ball over the Dynamo back line for Franco Jara to deftly lift over the keeper’s head to Return the Dallas lead.
Just a minute later Darwin Quintero, who had endured a difficult first half, makes a run into the Dallas area before laying off wide to Adam Lundkvist. Houston get three shots off in the box looking for an immediate reply as Reto Ziegler and Thiago Santos block shots either side of Hollingshead heading the ball off the line.
Dallas began to cede possession as a frustrated Houston side passed the ball around the middle third hoping for an opening to appear. Coach Gonzalez soon shut that door in bringing on Brandon Servania and Edwin Cerrillo to shore up the midfield defensively before finishing the game with a 3-5-2 as Bressan replaced Jara late on.
“In those last ten minutes, I have to just be conservative and defend, defend, and defend for our lives get to three points. I feel really good playing with Mikey [Barrios]. I feel like we get forward pretty well together and I’m just excited to keep playing with him.”Bryan Reynolds on his right-side partnership with Michael Barrios and adapting to defensive duties with the first team.