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Turnovers costly in FC Dallas’ 3-1 defeat to NYCFC

Apr 29, 2018; New York, NY, USA; New York City FC forward David Villa (7) plays the ball against FC Dallas during the first half at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

FC Dallas had its first defeat of the season, falling to New York City FC 3-1 at Yankee Stadium. David Villa had a brace, including his 400th goal, and Jesus Medina scored to give The Pigeons the win. Santiago Mosquera scored for FCD early on in the first half. Here are three takeaways from the match.

Turnovers prove costly

The back six of FC Dallas, which include the two midfielders, have been very reliable in the opening six matches of the season, allowing only three goals. Jacori Hayes had a breakout start to the season and has shown composure and vast improvement from last season.

However, Sunday’s match was not the greatest from Dallas’ group, with turnovers being the main culprit in two of NYCFC’s three goals. Hayes early on turned the ball over to David Villa, who nutmegged the midfielder en route to providing service to Jo Inge Berget, which led to the first goal of the match. It was poor from Hayes, who was overrun many times in the midfield and looked out of his comfort zone for many stages of the match. On a pitch that’s smaller and leaves less margin for error, turnovers will be punished, especially by a side such as NYCFC. 

The Hayes turnover was only part of the goal. After Berget hit the post on his header, Jesus Medina tapped it in. Anton Nedyalkov was in position to clear the ball, but he seemed to expect the ball to go out of bounds. When it didn’t, he and the defense were left scrambling to no avail. 

Villa’s second goal was caused by Villa’s pressing and an odd play by centerback Reto Ziegler, who played the ball towards Hedges, which led to Villa poaching and scoring his 401st career goal. It looked like a miscommunication of sorts. If Dallas wants to contend with the best teams in MLS, it needs to clean up those mistakes, especially on the road.

Mosquera coming into his own

Santiago Mosquera had a slow start to the season, coming off the bench for some matches. However, after last week’s performance against the Union, the Colombian earned another start. 70 touches and a goal later, Mosquera looked to be the best player on the pitch for Dallas. Mosquera helped cause a turnover by cutting off NYCFC’s Yangel Herrera and forcing him to pass the ball. The pass found Dallas’ Maxi Urruti, who then found Mosquera on the follow for his first FC Dallas goal. It was a great piece of work by Mosquera, who certainly has the skillset to play in the starting XI. It was just a matter of him acclimating to MLS, and it looks like he is beginning to do so. 

There was a moment in the 57th minute that showed the energy and effort Mosquera brings. He’s chasing after the ball, pressuring Ben Sweat and Alexander Ring and trying to win the ball. It’s that effort the team likes; He is relentless.

His passing left a bit to be desired, only completing 46.4 percent of his passes, which was second to worst on the team. He also could have had a second goal after Mauro Diaz played a perfectly-weighted ball through. Mosquera shook off defender Ben Sweat and took a touch before keeper Sean Johnson came out and made the big save. Johnson closed down the angle and made it tough for Mosquera. 

Overall, Mosquera looked sharp. Coach Óscar Pareja even put him more advanced in the middle and dropped Diaz back when the team brought on Michael Barrios. If he can improve his distribution, he will begin to be the player The Huntsmen looked for most of the offseason.

The Response

The next step for Dallas is the response it will have to this defeat. The team will travel to Banc of California Stadium to take on expansion side LAFC next week. Dallas did not play that bad of a match. NYCFC is just better and took advantage where it needed to. There’s a reason the Bronx side is the top team in MLS right now. There were many factors at play, too, including the small pitch and being on the road. Pareja won’t say the team wants to play for a draw, but a draw in this match would have been a great result.

Dallas should take stock in certain issues, such as turnovers and creativity at times, but a full-blown change doesn’t seem necessary.

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