One game, 100 words or less: Too much space one too many times. Both sides were neck and neck, but a moment of brilliance for Fabian Castillo gave Dallas the quality chance they needed to move past the Western Conference bottom-feeders.
Houston – Akindele 49′
Three moments that mattered:
49′ – Castillo works, Akindele finishes – Fabian Castillo did all the heavy lifting, dribbling frantically through spaces in the Chivas midfield, and Tesho Akindele was the one to finish off the hosts. Blas Perez was involved with a fabulous one-touch as well, and a true team goal is the moment Dallas needed.
61′ – Kennedy comes out – This game saw lots of shots but not many clear chances. Dallas came close to a second when Akindele sprung Castillo with a sexy through ball past two unsuspecting defenders. But Dan Kennedy saw the chance before it happened and came out to snuff Castillo’s shot early.
78′ – Torres defines Chivas’s season – Another year, another dumpster fire. It came, it saw, it left. Akira Kaji sent in a beautiful ball from the right, and Erick Torres pulled back to it to create separation from Je-Vaughn Watson. He unleashed a vicious header…just over the bar. Chance gone.
Chivas – Kennedy; Lochhead, Kaji, Zavaleta, Toia; Pelletieri (Rosales 58′), Barrera (Finley 77′), Chavez (Avila 69′), Sturgis, Minda; Torres.
Dallas – Fernandez; Hernandez, Loyd, Hedges, Watson; Moffat (Michel 88′), Castillo, Ulloa, AE Diaz (46′); Perez (Zimmerman 84′), Akindele.
Three lessons going forward:
1. FC Dallas surge continues – The streak will almost surely end at some point, but three goals in four games – including two in one-goal matches – has Tesho Akindele at the forefront of Dallas’s jump up the table. The 22-year-old striker is kind of a big deal:
2. Chivas hope was short lived – Three straight 1-0 wins had Chivas supporters thinking the season could be salvaged. That’s way in the past now. Those three straight have become three straight defeats, with 7 goals allowed. It’s back to the bottom of the East, and things are just about done without another big streak.
3. Someone could use Erick Torres – As someone put it last month, “In a team likely going nowhere but the dustbin of history, Torres is a shining light of immense talent and exciting goals.” That may be a bit harsh, even on Chivas, but Torres is a product and someone could do with his talents. For a 21-year-old, even though he missed a crucial chance, his goals and ability is big for Chivas right now, and could be a season-maker for someone else.
Where this leaves them:
Chivas – Another week, another sentence talking about Chivas’s position. It could be worse – just ask Montreal – but their 23 points aren’t close to
Dallas – 7 games. 15 points. 0 losses. 1 playoff position. The last lucky 7 matches for FC Dallas has seen them vault up the table and into the fourth spot, and they’ve done it with just a goal differential of five. They’re not dominating teams, but producing enough to make their claim at a playoff spot.