Instead of playing to a disappointing draw, at home, against a weaker United side, Dallas came back to take the lead for good in the 85th minute. Midfielder Paxton Pomykal was a key contributor in the mix, providing a secondary assist on Brandon Servania’s first goal before tip-toeing down the sideline and finding Servania in the middle once again to finish the scoring in stoppage time.
“Me and Mikey [Barrios] were trying to hold the ball in the corner,” Pomykal told Pro Soccer USA post-match. “In the game, you read things. It kind of opened up and they were complacent, so we punished them.”
One of the key plays in the match was not a goal or an assist. It was a run from forward Jesús Ferreira, tracking back and stopping a Minnesota United break in the 81st minute. It was a play that showed determination and hunger and was a springboard for the young team’s finish.
— Big D Soccer (@BigDSoccer) August 11, 2019
“There was passion, grit, all of the above there,” Pomykal told Pro Soccer USA after training Monday. “Guys were flying into tackles. Jesus made that 50-yard run and that’s what it takes. We need that effort from everybody and in that situation, it was him, but in another situation, it could be me, it could be Santi [Mosquera], it could be Mikey. That’s just an example and that run right there set the tone for the rest of the game. It’s important we have guys sacrificing like that, and the grit was definitely there Saturday.”
The win helps silence the critics of the team’s offense, which had been shut out in three of the previous four matches. A team effort with plenty of players stepping up provides confidence.
“Yeah, of course, it makes it easier, coming off a big win like that,” Pomykal said. “We’re confident that we’re going in with the right mentality with this game. I feel like a ton of times, we’ve had to redeem ourselves after bad games and come and play well. We know we did well and just keep going doing it.”
Dallas will now look forward to this upcoming week, which is full of travel. Wednesday, the team will play the slumping LA Galaxy before traveling to Montreal to take on the up-and-down Impact. With the Galaxy next, Dallas is eyeing a chance to hop LA in the table, with a chance to jump as high as third in the Western Conference.
“It’s time to make the table very relevant with each game,” head coach Luchi Gonzalez said. “We can’t control the other fixtures. They can hurt or help us but that’s not in our control. We’re going to be focused on maximizing our roster and our energy to get the points that we need to push in that playoff hunt.”
New arrival Cristian Pavón went 90 minutes for the Galaxy in their 2-1 loss at D.C. United over the weekend and earned plaudits from teammate Zlatan Ibrahimović, who called him the best player on the pitch. While limited film is available with Pavón in a Galaxy uniform, Gonzalez says the team will study clips from when he played under Galaxy coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto at Boca Juniors to help evaluate their opponent.
“He’s a good player,” Gonzalez said. “We’ll assess his debut and we’re going to look at some individual clips of his when he was with Boca. He’s played some national team caps as well. A fantastic player, but we’re going to prepare and use every resource possible to be ready.”
As the playoff race heats up, a win in Los Angeles would be huge for Dallas. The team knows what’s on the line going into the match and will want to earn the full three points, even on the road.
“This is a very important game, especially at the end of the year, the in-conference games are that much more important because it’s a six-point swing at the end of the day,” Pomykal said. “We have to take this game very seriously and know that at the end of the day if we get a win in LA, that can really boost our chances to make playoffs.”