FRISCO, Texas- FC Dallas ended its two-game skid with a dominant performance, defeating Minnesota United 2-0 at Toyota Stadium Saturday night.
Thunderstorms forced the match to be delayed two hours and 34 minutes. The teams came out to warm up but rushed in with lightning in the area.
“I thought we had a very complete performance,” FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja said. “I thought it was very steady, keeping the score zero, we didn’t concede goals and probably we could have scored a couple of more. It showed the seriousness of our players today.”
During the rain delay, players were able to stay focused while being loose, even if it was frustrating.
“We were playing soccer tennis, heading the ball back and forth,” FCD fightback Reggie Cannon said. “Keeping ourselves occupied and ready for the game. At the end of the day, we gotta feel like a team. We gotta feel together. We all have to have fun together and I think the team has really come together.”
After the long wait, it did not take for new FC Dallas signing Pablo Aranguiz to make his mark on the match. Aranguiz made his first start for the team tonight and was creative early, slotting a perfectly weighted ball towards Reggie Cannon, who forced a save out of Minnesota keeper Bobby Shuttleworth in the 20th minute.
Aranguiz caused troubles again for Shuttleworth, as he wove through the defense and hit a shot that went wide.
The young Chilean made for a very bright first start, adding creativity from the middle and the wings. He continued to ask questions of the Minnesota defense, forcing in through balls that Dallas has missed since the departure of Mauro Diaz in June. Pareja was surprised with the impact Aranguiz was able to make in only his second appearance.
“Quicker than I thought,” Pareja said when asked about Aranguiz’s adaptation period. “A player that has shown a lot of personality, character and he’s compromise with the ball, at the age 21, is not easy to find. I thought the club had a great effort bringing him here and we all appreciate that. A young player who can have gone somewhere else and he choose not only Major League Soccer but he choose Dallas to come and perform and be a part of this project and today was a good demonstration of what he is capable of doing.”
On the ensuing corner, Dallas’ center back Maynor Figueroa found himself unmarked and in an offside position after Shuttleworth saved a header. Figueroa tapped it in and while the team was celebrating, the assistant referee raised his flag for offside.
Going to VAR, the referee Ismail Elfath deemed that the header was from Loons’ defender Michael Boxall, negating the offside from Figueroa, and awarded the goal to Dallas in the 44th minute.
Dallas doubled the lead in the 57th minute off work by Michael Barrios, who received a pass from Carlos Gruezo. Barrios took on Tyrone Mears, who backed away, and finessed a shot from just inside the 18.
It was also a memorable night for FC Dallas defender Matt Hedges, making his 200th regular season appearance for FC Dallas. The captain, who is in his seventh season with the club, has continued to make an impact on the pitch, providing to be a defensive presence.
“It still doesn’t feel any different,” Hedges said post-match. “I do my job but it’s pretty cool to be with the two other guys who 200 games for Dallas besides me.”
Added Dallas midfielder Victor Ulloa: “Matt’s been here for a long time. I think he’s right behind me in years here and I’m proud of him. He’s grown a lot, his leadership has shown on the field and how he plays and how he represents us and I’m happy for him. Hopefully, he’s here for many more games.”
Dallas will play midweek, traveling to Houston for a rivalry match on August 23. Minnesota United will go to Children’s Mercy Park to take on Sporting Kansas City on August 25.