FRISCO - FC Dallas is on a roll, winners of two straight after Saturday’s 2-0 win over the Philadelphia Union. Before we look ahead to this weekend’s meeting against New York City FC, let’s look a three things we learned from #FCDvPHI.
The Dallas defense posted their second consecutive shutout and has dropped their goals against average to 0.50 through six matches. What was the bigger storyline for me, though, was Reggie Cannon on the right.
The Homegrown has looked better and better with each passing start and Saturday was easily his best performance yet. Cannon was nearly lethal on his deep runs on the right, sending three passes into the heart of the box that didn’t connect. Defensively, his actions shut down the left side of Philly’s attack and he did so much higher up the field than Anton Nedyalkov did on the left - that’s how quick he was at shutting down any threats. Just look at David Accam’s passing chart from an uninspiring 74 minutes of play. He was almost unnoticeable on the field for the visitors.
Left: Cannon's passes; Middle: Cannon and Nedyalkov defensive actions; Right: David Accam successful passes
Mosquera and/or Lamah
Roland Lamah has taken a majority of the starts on the left wing in 2018, supplanting newcomer Santiago Mosquera by scoring goals in his first two starts on the year. What we saw on Saturday was just what Mosquera can bring to the field when he is starting - even after a few unimpressive first appearances. The Colombian created two chances and logged seven of Dallas’ 17 shots in just 61 minutes of play.
While Lamah is good at combining on the left side and has shown a knack for serving as more of a playmaker cutting into the middle, Mosquera is maybe the fastest player on FCD’s roster and excels at the deep runs down the outside.
Left: Mosquera's successful passes; Middle: Lamah's successful passes with Mosquera on field; Right: Lamah's successful passes after Mosquera subbed off
The question this year has been one or the other, but Pareja doubled down and went with both. Lamah’s inherent ability more centralized in the field showed wonders with five chances created and then an assist on Urruti’s insurance goal. At the same time, we saw what this team is with a penetrating winger like Mosquera, who also came into the middle in the second half. Look at the passes above from Mosquera’s time as the winger (left) vs. Lamah’s (right). The latter doesn’t have a pass from further up the field than the top of the 18, while the former made two from almost the byline. While Mosquera is on the field, Lamah more served as an inside winger (middle), combining with Mosquera for plays like this:
The goals came after subs started flowing, but I’d venture to say that FCD was more dangerous in attack in their new look on Saturday night. That leads right into our final point..
As much as we’ve grown accustomed to Urruti and Mauro Diaz as regular starters in Dallas, there’s something to be said for the spark they added off the bench on Saturday.
Immediately Diaz came on and delivered the most promising of the club’s season-high 11 corners on the night, on which Matt Hedges was fouled in the box and led to the PK goal. At that point, playing with the lead at home, Oscar Pareja brings on Urruti looking to close out the match. The Argentine bags his second of the year with a clean touch and a nice low-angle finish to seal the deal.
Much like we’ve seen in the summer months at home when FCD plays a clean 60-70 minutes to wear out opponents in the heat before making subs and bringing a level opponents can’t handle over the last 15-20 minutes, being able to bring on two of your most dynamic players late is a spark that teams would kill to have. Rather than conserving some energy and building over the course of 60-70 minutes as starters, both can come on and go full-out for 20 minutes of play and wreak havoc on opponents in that role.
“We had the option to change our look and bring some creativity into the game. That did happen,” Pareja said after the match. “We were happy to see the helpfulness of the players who started the game on the bench.”
It’s two straight weeks with reduced roles for the duo and we’ll have to see what the club decides to do heading to Yankee Stadium on Sunday evening.