MLS Snapshot: FC Dallas 2-1 Vancouver Whitecaps

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One game, 100 words (or less): Two goals from Blas Perez, a full one of them on purpose, have FC Dallas back in the win column, with a resilient performance from Vancouver thwarted when the chaos after a late set piece left the Dallas striker with an open goal. Blasting his shot home from 14 yards out, Perez snapped Dallas’s two-game losing streak, his seventh and eight goals of the season giving the home side a 2-1 win.

Goals

Dallas: Blas Perez 20′, 78′
Vancouver: Hurtado 67′

Three moments that mattered:

20′ – Your latest goal of the season – There’s no way Blas Perez was trying to score, but goals don’t have to be planned to count. With a ball that could have been confused for a gridiron punt, the Panamanian international scored one of the goals of the season, arcing a shot from against the sideline, eight yards from the goal line, into David Ousted’s far side-netting.

67′ – The Rosales pay-off – Mauro Rosales was one of the night’s best players from the get go, but just after the hour mark, his influence finally found its way to the scoresheet. Attacking a Dallas defense adjusting after Matt Hedges’s foray into midfield, Rosales found the seem between right back Jair Benitez and Hedges’s partner, Zach Loyd. In for Darren Mattocks, Erik Hurtado powered his first touch past Raul Fernandez, giving Vancouver hope of a result.

78′ – On purpose – Perez may  have lucked into his first goal, but his second was finished with too much authority to leave any doubt. After a set piece won by Vancouver’s Kendall Waston deflected into the left of the penalty area, Perez first-timed a rocket into an abandoned goal, with Ousted leftf in no one’s land after indecision on the initial ball.

With his second goal of the night, Perez matched his total for Panama at the Copa Centroamericana. He also put his team back in the win column.

Lineups

Dallas: Fernandez; Watson, Loyd, Hedges, Hernandez (Benitez 45′); Castillo, Michel, Ulloa, Escobar (Dias 57′); Akindele (Acosta 82′), Perez
Vancouver: Ousted; Sampson, Waston, Dean, Harvey; Teibert, Laba, Ballouchy (P. Morales 57′); Rosales (Manneh 81′); Fernandez, Mattocks (Hurtado 62′)

Three lessons going forward:

1. Neither team is back – Returning at home, Dallas had a chance to jump back into the win column after two straight losses on the road (Chicago, RSL). Likewise, Vancouver had a chance to carry over momentum from Wednesday night, when they broke a long scoreless drought while notching a much-needed win.

To a small extent, both of those things happened at Toyota Stadium, but Dallas didn’t look as impressive as it had before its momentum was blunted in Chicago. And Vancouver, while now capable of scoring goals, still doesn’t look like the team that played so well this spring.

If Dallas is going to be a contender in the West, it needs to show its summer surge was more than an isolated hot streak. And Vancouver may need to play closer to its talent level to hold off Portland.

2. Waston is impossible on set pieces – A header off a Vancouver corner in the 92nd minute generated a moment of controversy, with a redirection finding Loyd’s outstretched arm. Most of the time, that infraction’s a foul, but on Saturday, the Whitecaps saw no mercy.

Amid the controversy was a detail that will have a more lasting significance: Kendall Waston was again doing damage on set pieces. Coming into the night, the Costa Rican was averaging 4.5 aerial duels won per game, a number that puts him above the likes of Eddie Johnson, David Horst, Aurelien Collin, Chad Marshall, and Omar Gonzalez (one-through-five in MLS in duels won). Though one of Waston’s wins on Saturday ended up working against his team, the 26-year-old has been unstoppable on dead balls since arriving last month.

Had the whistle blown on Saturday, unstoppable would have meant a point in Frisco.

3. That Mauro Rosales trade’s working out okay – Granted, it gave Carl Robinson an excuse to shake things up again, and this Vancouver team needs to pick a plan and go with it, att some point …

But damn if Mauro Rosales isn’t a good soccerer (TM). Started at the tip of the Whitecaps’ midfield diamond, Rosales out-Moralesed Pedro Morales, supplying the Chilean’s playmaking while adding a defensive intensity Vancouver’s typically lacked.

When he arrived, it was unclear where he’d play. All we knew was (a.) Rosales was very talented, (b.) he only cost Nigel Reo-Coker, and (c.) the Whitecaps still seemed stacked.

Now, it looks like Rosales will be a key part of Vancouver’s stretch run – if not the key part.

Where this leaves them:

  • The win moves Dallas within one point of RSL for third in the West. Catch them, and FCD avoids that four-five, play-in game.
  • Vancouver re-opened the door for Portland, but with the Timbers graciously ended Colorado’s seven-game losing streak, the Whitecaps stay in fifth place, one point up on their rivals.