FRISCO, Texas — For the sixth-straight Fourth of July match, FC Dallas came out victorious, defeating D.C. United, 2-0, and the win couldn't have come at a better time. FCD had dominated its past two matches for the majority of the 90 minutes against the Vancouver Whitecaps and Portland Timbers, but only managed to come out with one point in total.
Thursday night was an opportunity to bounce back in a big way, facing off against the No. 2 team in the Eastern Conference, headlined by Wayne Rooney. From the first whistle, FC Dallas took control and never let go. Santiago Mosquera and Bryan Acosta were making their first starts since returning from injury and international duty, respectively, and both thrived on the pitch against D.C.
"Santi’s dangerous and outside backs and center backs don’t want to play against him, he’s very crafty," FC Dallas attacker Dominique Badji said. "Also, when we have Bryan in the middle, more solid base, he’s a very good defender and is dangerous going forward. With them healthy, we are a very dangerous team."
Mosquera bagged his first goal of the 2019 season on Thursday while running rampant on the left wing, and Acosta strung 68 passes together, the most out of any player on either team — he did it with 89.7% accuracy, too.
There wasn't much that FC Dallas didn't do right Thursday night, defeating D.C. United in just about every facet of the match. United only mustered eight total shots and just one on target. The back line stayed solid throughout the night, a part of the pitch FC Dallas Head Coach Luchi Gonzalez was proud of following the loss to Portland. The center back duo of Matt Hedges and Reto Ziegler kept Rooney and the rest of the attack at bay, and the back line didn't flinch throughout all 90 minutes — finishing with its fourth clean sheet this season.
While Acosta and Brandon Servania held their own in the midfield, Paxton Pomykal was everywhere in both the middle of the pitch and the final third. Pomykal created two chances, had the third-most touches on the team with 71, and he maintained an 84.6 passing percentage. He made multiple runs from the midfield all the way into the box, finding his teammates when spaces closed up ahead of him.
"Everybody being on the same wavelength, when one man pressed we all pressed and we stuck to our gameplan, so not only myself in the midfield by Bryan and Brandon covered a lot of ground, and yeah, we combined really well," Pomykal said.
Bottom line, this was a match that the team needed to win to get back on track following two disappointing results — and FCD dominated against one of the best teams in MLS this season.
"Since last week, we buckled down and saw video, we showed accountability and a desire to be open and take feedback and communicate to each other to do better the next time we're in that situation," Gonzalez said. "It was a little different, just because they were a man down, but I thought we showed maturity and we grew from last week to this one. We want to keep on it."
It was a physical match, one that saw six total cards given out to both teams, including one red card issued to United's Luciano Acosta in the 73rd minute after fouling Pomykal, just 15 minutes after he subbed into the game.
FCD is hoping this is the kind of match that gets the team back on track heading deeper into the second half of the 2019 season. Getting the job done at home against one of MLS' best, and jumping into a tie for third place in the Western Conference is the right way to start that trend.