FRISCO, Texas — By the time FC Dallas scored its third and final goal of the match in the 58th minute, the only thing Toronto FC goalkeeper Quentin Westberg could do was look in dismay to the back of the net where the ball rested.
He was peppered with endless shots throughout the night, 22 in total and 12 on target. The relentlessness from FCD's attack was put on display Saturday night in a match where it was looking to bounce back from a Lamar Hunt US Open Cup loss on Wednesday. FC Dallas only managed to put one past the keeper that night, but Saturday was very different.
Dominque Badji, who netted his first brace as a FC Dallas player, and Michael Barrios ran rampant on the wings while Jesus Ferreira created the most chances out of any player on the night — it was six, to be exact, and he did it as the team's striker.
"The attack at times has been good this season, but not consistently and I think this is a turning point for us," Badji said. "I think we can use this game going forward to really cement ourselves and be aggressive attacking.”
The U-20 World Cup trio of Paxton Pomykal, Brandon Servania and Edwin Cerrillo completed a combined 183 passes in the midfield against Toronto FC on an 89.53 completion percentage. The three are just a small part of many players who have begun to return from injury and international duty. Add that to how well FC Dallas played against Toronto, and there's something beginning to brew in the top half of the field.
"Obviously, it’s fun to win and to get guys back there is more competition when guys are gone and there are only 18 guys," Pomykal said. "Then, the competition is not as high and players have to play, so when 28 guys are here you are training week in and week out against each other and competing for spots, so now when everyone gets back it should be fun."
Pomykal made his first start since returning from the U-20 World Cup in Poland a few weeks ago, and he dominated at the heart of FC Dallas' formation. He had 83 total touches, the most out of any player outside of the back line, and he was a constant headache for Toronto with his vision, physicality and quickness throughout all 90 minutes.
"It feels good that our chances are turning into goals, right, 3-0 as well as the clean sheet you know that’s huge, guys in the back, Jesse as well, big to get zero goals against a team like Toronto, so hats off to them," Pomykal said. "And then guys are finishing, putting the ball in the back of the net, I think we could have scored four, five or six today if we put away our chances, I haven’t seen the stats yet, but I felt like we had a lot of chances."
In short, the FC Dallas attack dominated the match. Toronto struggled to contain the midfield, failed to close down on passing lanes and simply wasn't better than its opponent Saturday night. FCD was able to control most of the match, accumulating 56% of possession on the night, and it all started with the U-20 trio.
To top things off, it was also Ricardo Pepi's MLS debut for FC Dallas. The clubs' 26th homegrown player came on in the 84th minute, adding to an already successful night for the club.
Saturday was a chance for FC Dallas to bounce back from the Open Cup loss, and Wednesday's match against the Vancouver Whitecaps will be another opportunity to make up for a past result. FCD fell on the road to the Whitecaps, 2-1, back on May 25 in what was a subpar performance throughout the match.
The attack struggled to finish the chances it created, but FC Dallas didn't have five of its starters that it had Saturday night. The team has many more players that have returned since then, so Wednesday's result could be very different.