FRISCO, Texas – All FC Dallas needed were a few minutes at the end of the first half against New York City FC – and a rare Olimpico goal – to keep pace in the Supporters’ Shield race with a 2-1 win Saturday night at Toyota Stadium.
Tesho Akindele’s missile at the 45-minute mark and then Michel’s perfectly curled-in corner-kick goal four minutes later gave FCD a 2-0 lead that would stand up despite a late Patrick Mullins penalty kick that kept things interesting.
The win, FCD’s third straight, moves them to within one point of Shield and Western Conference-leading Vancouver Whitecaps with 47 points from 27 matches. The loss for New York, meanwhile, is yet another shot to their waning playoff hopes, their third straight loss to keep them in ninth place in the East with 28 points from 28 games.
Dallas’ opening goal was well earned after controlling large portions of the first half.
After Dallas defended an NYCFC counter in the 45th minute, Michel sent a high, flying pass from the Dallas third to a streaking Akindele down the right flank. The 23-year-old year-old Canadian bested defender Jason Hernandez in a one-on-one battle and blasted a shot from the right side of the penalty box to the top, left corner of the net to give Dallas a 1-0 lead.
Akindele nearly added another goal in three minutes of stoppage time, but his shot from nearly the same spot was deflected wide right of the net. However, Michel, who made his first appearance since playing one minute on July 11 against Orlando, sent a bending line drive from the ensuing corner that slipped through the NYC defense and past goalkeeper Josh Saunders to put Dallas on top 2-0 heading into the half.
It was Michel’s first goal of the season.
NYC cut into that lead in the 70th minute, however, after Dallas defender Atiba Harris fouledNed Grabavoy by swinging his left arm near the midfielder’s face on the left portion of the penalty box. Mullins, who subbed into the game at halftime, drilled the PK to the right of the incorrectly guessing Jesse Gonzalez to trim the deficit to 2-1.
The visitors continued to pressure Dallas in attempt to equalize the score, including a series of set pieces and breakdowns of the Dallas backline. But they could not find a way to finish outside of the PK.
Both teams had chances throughout the first half that nearly went scoreless.
In his first game back from playing with the Colombian national team, Fabian Castillo created two one-on-one opportunities against Saunders. Both came in similar fashion, approaching from the left flank, but Saunders was able to best Castillo on each chance.
NYCFC had a handful of opportunities in transition as well, but FCD defenders blocked three of their five first-half shots. All three of NYCFC’s Designated Players were subbed off after the first half, with David Villa being replaced at halftime and Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlocoming off in the 66th minute.
Both teams have less than a week to prepare for their next opponents. New York City play host to Toronto FC on Wednesday, while Dallas travel to Sporting Kansas City for a Friday night Western Conference showdown.