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FC Dallas midfielder Mauro Diaz regains stellar form and more versus LA Galaxy

May 12, 2018; Frisco, TX, USA; FC Dallas forward Roland Lamah (20) reacts after scoring a goal during the second half against the Los Angeles Galaxy at Toyota Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

FC Dallas defeated the LA Galaxy 3-2 Saturday after a stellar performance from Mauro Diaz. Dallas was aided by goals from Maxi Urruti and Roland Lamah. Here are some takeaways from the match:

MVP Mauro

Mauro Diaz started on the bench the four previous matches as FC Dallas switched up formations. The team obtained positive results but decided to revert back to the formation, 4-2-3-1, that fits Diaz against the Galaxy. FCD coach Oscar Pareja likes flexibility in formations and positions and wanted to show a different look against the Galaxy. The result of that switch was a revitalized Diaz, who had three assists and constantly looked like a threat on the ball. 

The offense was flowing with ideas and at the helm of those ideas was the Argentine playmaker. The third goal Dallas scored really exemplified that, with Diaz making a darting run with the ball and weaving past defenders to find Roland Lamah at the back post for a goal. 

Pareja’s man management here should be applauded. He benched one of his best, and instead of a disgruntled player he got in return a player hungry for his starting spot back. That’s the effect of the competition in the midfield that exists currently. Players are hungry for a starting spot and that raises the bar for everyone’s play.

The Curious Case of Roland Lamah continues

By looking at his numbers, Roland Lamah is having a great season. Five goals, three assists on the wing and plenty of chances created. He had two of those goals Saturday and looked to be sharp on the offensive end.

Lamah has been everything that a team wants offensively out of a winger. He seems to be at the right place at the right time. So why is this a “curious case”?

May 12, 2018; Frisco, TX, USA; FC Dallas forward Maximiliano Urruti (37) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the first half against the Los Angeles Galaxy at Toyota Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The issue with Lamah is his defensive effort. He fell asleep on Steven Beitashour’s goal last week against Los Angeles FC and did so again during the Galaxy match. The glaring error was in the 32nd minute. Ola Kamara received the ball on the left side and was one-on-one with Reggie Cannon. As Kamara is holding the ball, waiting for more options, Ashley Cole comes darting into the box with Roland Lamah chasing behind him and an open effort at goal. 

It did not lead to a goal, but it’s still an issue. Santiago Mosquera was in the box defending. Lamah needs to be more of a two-way player. The lack of his tracking back could be something opposing teams exploit if the problem with the Belgian international doesn’t change.

A Defensive Change?

Reto Ziegler was sent off in the 73rd minute for a challenge on Romain Alessandrini that resulted in Ziegler’s second yellow. He will be suspended for next week’s match against Vancouver. That means, for the first time since the Seattle match March 18, FC Dallas will feature a backline different from Anton Nedyalkov, Ziegler, Matt Hedges and Reggie Cannon. And it will be the first time this season the American-Swiss centerback pairing of Ziegler-Hedges will not start together. 

Pareja has some options. The top choice is likely experienced veteran Maynor Figueroa. Pareja started him when Nedyalkov was out with a tendonitis injury and started him at centerback last season as well. Figueroa also played a centerback role whenever Dallas switched to a three-man backline. 

The other option is Jordan Cano, a homegrown player the team signed out of Southern Methodist University. He is currently on loan with the Oklahoma City Energy of the United Soccer League, but he can be recalled at any time for Dallas and participates in practices during the week in Frisco, Texas. Cano has made three starts for the Energy and would be a surprise to start for FCD, but he has the skillset to do so.

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