FRISCO - We’re down to two. FC Dallas’ 2017 season will be decided over the next 180 minutes of action on consecutive Sundays after a 1-1 draw this past weekend in Colorado. Before we look ahead, let’s take a look back at three things we learned from the match.
Oscar Pareja said his team was a bit passive over the opening 35 minutes, dominating possession at over 65 percent, but not creating many threatening chances at goal with just two shots. Colorado, like we saw the week before in Frisco, was content sitting back and playing on the counter attack, and the transition was exactly how they scored their lone goal of the match.
Over the final 10 minutes of the first half, FCD began to come alive offensively with four shots and then carried that momentum out of the break with another three in the opening five minutes of the second half, eventually leading to Atiba Harris’ second goal of the year. They would add seven more shots in the final 35 minutes, but the quick starts that Dallas was successful on in their previous two matches wasn’t there in the Rockies.
Maestro Set Pieces
Harris’ goal in the 54th minute off a Javier Morales corner was FC Dallas’ third true set piece goal since the defender’s first of the season back on July 4th (not counting the quick restart leading to the club’s second goal against the Rapids a week prior). All three have come from the corner flag, with the last two coming from the foot of the Maestro (to Zimmerman vs. Columbus).
With a rotation of players taking free kicks and corners over the recent months, Morales’ ability to create off of set plays is crucial for FCD going into the final two matches.
To the Finish
With the draw on the road, Dallas re-claimed a playoff spot putting themselves one point ahead of Real Salt Lake and San Jose with just two games left. Three points would’ve been ideal, but jockeying above the playoff line means Dallas can clinch a playoff spot by matching or exceeding the point totals of the teams now chasing them, as well as the Dynamo who sit above them on equal points. If the trio were to lose in either of their last two, FCD could clinch with a single win over its last two.
If one of RSL or SJ gets four, or even six, points down the stretch though, Dallas could need that total to clinch - the first tiebreaker (wins) would belong to either of the teams sitting on the outside looking in.