FRISCO, Texas — After a week with questions surrounding the offense and the lack of transfer activity, FC Dallas showed resilience and fight, defeating Minnesota United in a 5-3 thriller Saturday at Toyota Stadium.
FCD took back the lead not once, not twice, but three times before a Brandon Servania brace put away conference rival Minnesota.
“I love this roster,” head coach Luchi Gonzalez said. “This is our roster. This is our family to compete for our push here in the last third of the season. This is our group, this is what we have and what we love.”
Servania scored the game-winner in the 85th minute after buildup from Paxton Pomykal, who found Michael Barrios on the wing and slotted it across the box. Servania was at the doorstep, sliding it in to give Dallas a 4-3 lead late. Pomykal then assisted another Servania goal to close out the game in the stoppage time.
“It felt good,” Servania said. “Bringing some energy off the bench just trying to get in those spots. The wingers are trying to get into that spot and try to whip balls across and we have to get numbers in the box. We’ve been seeing in film that we haven’t been getting in the right spots, but today we’re able to connect. I just had to make that effort. I felt like it was my responsibility to get to those spots and try to make the effort to score.”
A tough, competitive week in training saw the team wanting to correct the issues plaguing it in recent weeks, including an extra emphasis on the offensive side of the ball. Gonzalez spoke about the team being responsible for the lack of goals, not just the offensive players. That showed, with four of the five goals coming from more defensive-minded players in Reggie Cannon, Servania, and Ryan Hollingshead.
“We believe anyone can score in any moment,” Gonzalez said. “We have to be able to score in any moment. It’s my job, it’s my staff’s job to not make this a rare occasion. We have to create every game with this way, with this conviction, with the right shape. If you’re committing numbers, you can get countered. Minnesota is very good on the counter and they could’ve punished us even after we scored. We prevailed and we’re going to keep proving our shape and winning these second and third balls and at least kill the counter.”
Minnesota opened with a goal from Ethan Finlay in the 11th minute.
Dallas came back through Ryan Hollingshead, who made a darting run up the field. Hollingshead roofed the effort, beating Loons keeper Vito Mannone to level the score in minute 29.
Santiago Mosquera chipped the ball from outside the box past Mannone minutes later to give Dallas a 2-1 lead in the 32nd minute.
Minnesota United leveled the score again before halftime when a ball from midfielder Colin Martin found Finlay at the top of the box. Finlay took advantage of an out-of-position Jesse Gonzalez and chipped him. The score was 2-2 with three minutes left in the first half.
Reggie Cannon, coming off of sickness and strep throat, then received a ball from Pomykal, made a run on the wing and beat Mannone at the near post for a 3-2 Dallas advantage at halftime.
Pomykal, one of the key players on the team, knew he had to make an impact this week. He responded with a primary assist and two secondary assists late on, including both to Servania.
“It feels great to know that we trained really hard this week and we wanted it really badly, and you could tell tonight,” Pomykal said. “All the guys had one thing in mind, to get the three points at the end of the day. we have nine games left and regardless if how we play, if we lose, that could be the difference between making playoffs or not. For us, it was important this week to get a sharp week of training. We were flying into tackles and the intensity was there and it translated to the game.”
Another goal didn’t come until late in the second half when Minnesota rookie Hassani Dotson added to his strong campaign with a darting run that beat Cannon and Dallas defender Bressan. After beating the latter, Dotson unleashed a shot that leveled the score at three in the 73rd minute.
Servania’s brace capped the night, and Dallas strengthened its hold on the seventh and final playoff place in the Western Conference. Minnesota remains in third place for now, but just two points ahead of Dallas, one point ahead of the No. 5 LA Galaxy, which plays Sunday, and No. 6 Real Salt Lake and tied in points with No. 4 San Jose.
“We finished tonight,” Pomykal said. “There’s been numerous occasions where we’ve had 20-plus shots and a lot of great opportunities, and unfortunately, they didn’t go in the back of the net. Tonight, we were very clinical in front of goal and sometimes, that’s what it takes to get big numbers on the scoreboard.”
Dallas also plays the Galaxy on the road Wednesday after a short turnaround for both teams. Minnesota also has a Wednesday game, at home against the Colorado Rapids.