TORONTO - After letting a win slip their grasp at the end of the game a week ago, FC Dallas played 79 minutes with a lead and kept a clean sheet for their 99th all-time road win on Friday night against Toronto FC.
“Today we found a way just to hold our result,” head coach Oscar Pareja said after the win. “In the second half, Toronto pushed deeper into our box, but we defended well. I thought the team showed a lot of character and I like that. The responsibility, the discipline was there, and we needed to hold it. It was a bad experience just a couple of days ago and today we just walk out with three points that are very valuable for us.”
Dallas faced season-highs in shots (23) and shots on target (9) from the TFC attack, but held strong at the back for their fourth shutout on the year. In his 2018 league debut, Jesse Gonzalez shined early and often, making seven saves in the first half alone and nine over the course of the game - both season highs for FCD.
The secret lied in the middle as Dallas lined up in a 4-3-3 look to start the match for the first time.
“The key was in the middle tonight,” defender Reto Ziegler said. “They have quality in the team, so I think the key was in the center we played with three No. 6s, so they were running a lot, but was important for us because [Sebastian] Giovinco and [Tosaint Rickets] pass the ball really deep.”
“Clogging the middle,” Matt Hedges added. “They’re a team that likes to play from the middle a lot. Vasquez, Giovinco, all those guys are creative. [We wanted to] force them wide and I thought that was working pretty well.”
And at the end of the day, Pareja wasn’t just proud of how is team pulled the win, but who did so as well.
“Today we play with four Homegrowns and two players (SuperDraft picks) who were developed in our system. You have six starters today for FC Dallas that have been developed in the club and we are very proud of that.”