FRISCO, Texas - With 17 goals scored through seven games, the FC Dallas offense has more than doubled the goal output of over half the teams in MLS. In Saturday night’s 2-1 come-from-behind win over Toronto FC, one of FCD’s biggest weapons in the arsenal, corner kicks, played a front and center role.
FCD set a new franchise record with 16 corners against Toronto FC and found paydirt in the 37th minute as Matt Hedges headed home a Michel corner kick to tie the match.
“We’re one of the best set piece teams in the league and Oscar says he thinks we’re one of the best in the world at it and I can’t say I disagree with it,” Hedges said after Saturday’s win. “We’re always dangerous with Michel & Mauro always serving it in and we’ve got big guys in the box that win all kinds of balls. It helps us win a lot of games. When the offense isn’t clicking, we can always try to get a set piece and that’s a dangerous weapon.”
Indeed it was FCD’s most dangerous weapon on Saturday as Hedges came within inches of finding another almost identical goal in the second half. While the Dallas offense wasn’t bad on Saturday night, it was clear that with Michael Bradley and multiple TFC players packing the center of the park, finding space to operate would be very difficult. Instead, Dallas chose to attack down the wings, earning corner kick after corner kick.
“The team continues to put pressure on and the result of that is getting a lot of set pieces and corners and free kicks,” Oscar Pareja said after the match. “All those things are coming due to the pressure put in there.”
As Hedges said after the match, the set piece prowess means that just when an opposing defense thinks they’ve done the job, there’s always a sting in the tail.
“Getting a lot of corners shows that we’re getting into the box and creating dangerous play,” said Hedges. “Even if we don’t [score] those chances on goal, we’re creating another opportunity to score from the corner kick.”