May 5, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; General view as Los Angeles FC midfielder Benny Feilhaber (33) shoots on goal against FC Dallas during the first half at Banc of California Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
FC Dallas earned a draw on the road against expansion side LAFC on Saturday, with a goal from Maxi Urruti in the 55th minute. Here are three takeaways from the match.
1. Steven Beitashour’s Goal
There are a couple of talking points on LAFC outside back Steven Beitashour’s goal in the 9th minute. Beitashour found himself open after making a run from his defensive position and slotted the ball past goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer to give LAFC an early 1-0 lead.
As Beitashour begins to make his run, Roland Lamah sees it and tracks back to cover him. Diego Rossi does not play him and instead finds Vela in the middle. At this point, Anton Nedyalkov has stepped up on Rossi before the pass and is pressuring Vela, leaving Lamah on that left-hand side. When Rossi receives the ball from Vela, Nedyalkov runs back to that position and Lamah begins running up the field, opening up that space on the left. On the broadcast, there seems to be no communication in terms of gesture. That lapse gives Beitashour the space to make that run and be open, which Rossi finds, playing him through and leading him to a one-on-one situation with Maurer.
If Lamah stays back in his role for a few more seconds, that chance is not there. Lamah has been a defensive liability during the season and showed it again on this play. While he does provide an offensive boost, he must be more engaged defensively, especially in a match such as this one, where a point is important.
The other talking point has to be the usage of VAR on Beitashour’s goal. Univision showed replays of the goal, with Beitashour appearing offside. FC Dallas coach Óscar Pareja believed so, saying postgame, “They were using [space] and were getting a couple chances, including the goal that, by the way, is an offside.”
It is unclear if VAR referee Caleb Mendez let official Jair Marrufo know there was an error, but the game continued after celebrations with no pause. It leads to the question: What will be checked by VAR? There have been instances throughout the season, such as in the Vancouver-Atlanta match, where checks have taken four to five minutes. Is that a clear and obvious error? What is the definition of a clear and obvious error? Is that subjective? The questions continue.
Santiago Mosquera continues excellence
Santiago Mosquera showed why FC Dallas splashed the cash on him during the winter transfer window. Mosquera showed heart and effort for much of the match, including his assist on Urruti’s goal. He went past Benny Feilhaber before taking on Eduard Atuesta, who took down Mosquera after his pass to Urruti.
Urruti turned with the ball and took the effort, getting it past Tyler Miller. That was made by Mosquera’s effort on the wings to find Urruti near the box. He almost had his second goal of the year, fooling defender Walker Zimmerman after receiving a through ball from Reto Ziegler and attempting to chip it to Miller, but the ball was cleared off the line.
Overall, Mosquera has shown his acclimation to the league and will continue to be a lethal part of the lineup going forward. His effort tracking back works well with Pareja’s system, and his ability to take on players is something the team hasn’t had opposite Michael Barrios since Fabian Castillo’s departure in 2016.
A strong response
One of the unknowns after last week’s 3-1 loss against NYCFC was the response Dallas would have after losing for the first time. The team was disciplined in defense and took advantage of opportunities when called upon. Did FCD get lucky at times, especially with LAFC’s finishing? Of course. But Dallas won’t care how it was done, a good result was obtained against a quality side.
The team looked to be more defensive and hit teams on the counter, but that’s the style Pareja elected with his lineup. It was seen against New England, Philadelphia and New York. That style of play suits Dallas well, capitalizing on the strength of its defense while relying on bursts of pace and creativity from offense. Results have come, as Pareja preaches the importance of fluidity in formations and being able to provide curveballs to opposing teams.