FRISCO - FC Dallas put a bad week behind them on Friday night and got back into the win column in Minnesota - a place that saw one of the most deflating defeats of the collapse a year ago.
It wasn’t the prettiest of wins, but that’s not what matters on the road in MLS. A win is a win and heading into a weekend of action, Dallas is tied atop the West once again. Let’s dive further into what we learned.
Way back in 2015, Dallas became the first team in MLS to have five Homegrown players see the field over the course of 90 minutes, much less start a match. Oscar Pareja’s side won that night in Columbus, 3-0, and it was a cementing point that the model for FCD was coming to full fruition.
Fast forward not even three years and Dallas did it again in Minnesota. Only one team has had a similar feat since (Real Salt Lake). But this one was different.
In 2015, starting five Homegrowns was a momentous occasion, sure, but it was one out of necessity with international and injury absences. Regular contributors Tesho Akindele, Blas Perez and Je-Vaughn Watson were all gone. Mauro Diaz and Dan Kennedy were injured. Victor Ulloa and Kellyn Acosta were well-known names. Jesse Gonzalez made his third straight start in his rapid ascent late that season. Coy Craft and Alex Zendejas, though, made two of their combined three all-time league starts that night and were hardly seen after.
On Friday, it was the same in Gonzalez and Ulloa. Reggie Cannon is in the midst of a breakout sophomore campaign, but it was also Paxton Pomykal’s first start of the year and Kris Reaves’ pro debut, both coming off recent injuries.
What’s really telling, though, is the fact that when Pomykal came off in the 56th minute, another Homegrown, the biggest Academy-product to date, Kellyn Acosta came on just 13 minutes later. It was the first time that six Homegrowns had been used in an MLS match, and a seventh remained on the bench.
Last week in New York, there were six Homegrowns on the 18. The previous league match against Montreal? Five.
This isn’t just a one-off, dire-circumstances token in the state of FC Dallas youth development like it might've been in Columbus. It’s the new norm for the club. And it’s only going to grow from here.
Just seven road games into their 2018 schedule, Dallas has now picked up four wins away from Toyota Stadium. To put it into perspective, the club record for road wins in the non-shootout era of MLS (2000-onward) is six. FCD has played 41 percent of their road games. Even the overall record (8) is well within reach at the current pace.
When you consider that FC Dallas’ bread and butter under Oscar Pareja has been taking care of Fortress Frisco and picking up points as you can on the road, this new road-dominant FC Dallas is one that opens up a whole different realm of possibility. Granted, there’s a lot of soccer left to play, but this is a welcomed new area of strength in 2018.
|No. of Road Wins||Year(s)|
|6||1999, 2007, 2011|
|5||2005, 2015, 2016|
Set Pieces Coming Together?
We saw Santiago Mosquera came into the match in the 56th minute and three minutes later sent in a pacey corner that found Roland Lamah for his seventh goal of the season. The set piece goal is becoming more frequent for Dallas.
FCD scored 23 straight goals to open the season either from the run of play or from penalty kick. Of their last eight, three have come from set plays. In full fairness, one of them came off an own goal and another off a fortunate bounce, but chances are being created and that’s not something we could say from the opening 11 games.