sportsFC Dallas

Offense finds life in FC Dallas’ comfortable, yet critical win over Earthquakes

FCD’s offense could do no wrong on Saturday night.

FRISCO — It was exactly how it was supposed to look. Paul Arriola received a pass on the wing and passed to Jesus Ferreira. The forward tried to find the third member of FC Dallas’ attacking trio, Alan Velasco. When that pass was blocked, Ferreira got back to the ball and poked it into the net to put FCD up 3-0.

Everything went to plan for the FCD attack, and the defense kept its end of the bargain as FCD rolled to a 4-1 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night at Toyota Stadium.

There were goals to go around for FCD, with Ferreira scoring twice plus left back Marco Farfan scoring his first-ever MLS goal and Velasco adding a spectacular solo effort.

For much of the season, FCD has found itself frustrated after a match, scoring an early goal and sweating late in the game as an opposing team tries - and sometimes succeeds - in overturning a one-goal mark. With San Jose having given up multiple goals in its last five road matches, the team kept its energy high after Ferreria’s third-minute opener.

That goal was set up by Velasco, who brought down a ball that went over his defender’s head and crossed for Ferreira to finish from close range.

“One of the things we talked about (before the game) is being clinical and having determination inside the penalty box to score,” FCD manager Nico Estévez said after the match. “Today in the players’ mind was that we had to be ready to go. (Assistant coach) Peter (Luccin) mentioned to me that we would score goals because in the warm-ups we scored almost all of our shots. It wasn’t easy but we capitalized the chances we had.”

Sebastian Lletget set up Farfan’s goal that doubled the lead and took the pressure off FCD’s attack. The new addition, who debuted last weekend after arriving in a trade from New England, moved the ball to Farfan as the defender arrived in the area. He took a touch and put his shot on Quakes goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski, who couldn’t make the save.

The confidence was understandably high after the second goal, with Velasco pulling a few tricks out of his bag in an effort to set up Lletget for his debut FCD goal, but the midfielder fired it high.

Velasco didn’t take part in the highlight-reel third goal, with Ferreira running his season total to 14 on the season, putting him in third in the race for the scoring title.

But the Argentine rewarded his own fantastic effort in the 57th minute, blasting a shot from outside the area past a helpless Marcinkowski and wheeling off to celebrate.

“We all always try to give our best for the team - sometimes it comes off, others it doesn’t,” Velasco said. “Today, luckily, it came together and I’m happy. We’ve got to continue on this path.”

The only blemish on what was otherwise a perfect night in front of 15,015 fans was FCD conceding a goal in the second half. Quakes forward Jeremy Ebobisse did his best to replicate Velasco’s wonder-goal, bending his own shot from outside the 18-yard box and beating FCD goalkeeper Maarten Paes.

The victory is a critical three points for FCD coming off a difficult road trip that saw the team take one point from two matches against conference rivals. FCD strengthens its hold on third place in the Western Conference ahead of a Wednesday visit from the Philadelphia Union, who lead the Eastern Conference.

With the game in hand at the halftime break, Estévez was able to give more rest than expected to some of his regulars, allowing them to prepare for a quick turnaround. Ferreira and Lletget were off after just more than an hour of work while Arriola came out in the 75th minute and center back Jose Martinez enjoyed the last 10 minutes and stoppage time from the bench. Ferreira and Arriola had extra work this week, having taken part in Wednesday’s MLS All-Star Game.

“Jesus and Paul being at All-Star and having played a lot of minutes, a lot of games. It was a chance to be able to give them some rest, but once Wednesday’s game starts players forget all of that,” Estévez said. “From there, whoever looks best will have the opportunity to start.”

The game also hinted at FCD solving some of its finishing woes, with the attacking trio connecting well when it got off and running and Lletget integrating well with the attackers in front of him with a pair of assists.

The club still has work to do to continue the trend and won’t have an easy time repeating it against the Union. For Saturday night, though, everything looked just how it should.

The Dallas Morning News partners with The Striker Texas to bring coverage of FC Dallas and other notable Texas soccer stories to dallasnews.com. Find more soccer coverage at thestrikertexas.com.

+++

Find more FC Dallas coverage from The Dallas Morning News here.

The Ticker

The Ticker

Get the latest D-FW sports news, analysis and opinion delivered straight to your inbox.

By signing up you agree to our privacy policy