Dallas heads to Pachuca with 2-1 aggregate lead in CCL Semifinal
FRISCO, Texas – FC Dallas fell behind early, but came from behind with goals by Maxi Urruti and Kellyn Acosta to win Leg One of its CONCACAF Champions’ League battle with Liga MX side Pachuca, 2-1, tonight at Toyota Stadium.
FC Dallas gave up a goal to Pachuca in the third minute of the match when Erick Aguirre walked down the left flank, cut towards goal along the end line and centered a pass to forward Franco Jara. Jara came together with FC Dallas midfielder Carlos Gruezo when the ball arrived but the pass sat up perfectly for the striker and he volleyed a shot off the inside of the near post and into the back of the net.
Dallas battled back in the 20th minute, earning consecutive corner kicks, but U.S. international Kellyn Acosta could not connect with his intended targets.
Acosta nearly unlocked Pachuca’s defense with a one-touch pass to Cristian Colman inside the area in the 27th minute. The Paraguayan arrived first to the through ball and attempted to volley a shot past goalkeeper Oscar Perez, but the pressure from two Pachuca defenders forced Colman’s attempt wide.
Hernan Grana sped up the right side and delivered a perfect pass to Colman in the 37th minute. Once again, the striker got off a good shot but the attempt was blocked away by Pachuca defender.
Dallas pulled a goal back just before the half when Michael Barrios and Grana combined on the right side. The right back’s overlapping run was met with a slicing pass and Grana whipped in a cross that challenged Perez. Pachuca’s goalkeeper came off his line to punch the ball away but the rebound fell to Maxi Urruti, who finished with a volley straight down the middle of the visitor’s goal.
Maynor Figueroa found Acosta with a pass at the top of the area in the 48th minute. The Plano-native cracked a first-touch shot hard towards the post to Perez’s right side, but the Mexican goalkeeper made an outstanding save, diving low towards his post and slapping the chance away from danger.
Acosta gave Dallas a 2-1 lead in the 58th minute after Urruti earned a free kick for the MLS side, 25 yards from goal. The midfielder stepped up to take the set piece, lifting a brilliant shot over the wall that curled and dipped underneath Perez’s crossbar before the goalkeeper could react.
Pachuca nearly hit a streaking Omar Gonzalez on a set piece of its own in the 82nd minute. The driven pass whizzed past the Dallas-native’s head and FC Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz did well to maintain focus on the initial shot and make an important save.
Seitz made two more huge saves just before the final whistle, falling back to push a headed attempt over the bar before fighting his way through the crowd to punch away a corner kick in the fourth minute of stoppage-time.
FC Dallas takes a 2-1 lead into the second leg in Pachuca on Tuesday, April 4.
PAC – Franco Jara (Erick Aguirre) 3
DAL – Maxi Urruti 44
DAL – Kellyn Acosta 58
FC Dallas – Chris Seitz, Maynor Figueroa, Matt Hedges, Walker Zimmerman, Hernan Grana, Carlos Gruezo, Kellyn Acosta, Michael Barrios (Tesho Akindele 81), Roland Lamah (Aaron Guillen 90+3), Maxi Urruti, Cristian Colman (Atiba Harris 84).
Substitutes Not Used: Jesse Gonzalez, Carlos Cermeno, Javier Morales, Paxton Pomykal, Aaron Guillen.
Pachuca – Oscar Perez, Stefan Medina, Oscar Murillo, Raul Lopez, Victor Guzman (Braian Rodriguez 74), Omar Gonzalez, Jonathan Urretaviscaya, Erick Gutierrez, Jorge Hernandez, Erick Aguirre (Roberto Alvarado 82), Franco Jara,
Substitutes Not Used: Sergio Vergara, Antonio Figueroa, Oscar Perez, Alexis Pena, Pablo Lopez.
DAL: Matt Hedges (caution) 33
PAC: Stefan Medina (caution) 35
DAL: Hernan Grana (caution) 45
PAC: Oscar Murillo (caution) 57
DAL: Carlos Gruezo (caution) 62
PAC: Jorge Hernandez (caution) 90
Referee: Sorin Stoica. AR1 (bench): Claudiu Badea; AR2 (opposite): Jonathan Johnson; Fourth official: Allen Chapman.
Weather: Cloudy, 33