FC Dallas put on quite the show in front a sizable crowd to right the wrong from the past two games. El Capitan was bound to come home in what, for many fans and others alike, was a must-win game to pick up a valuable 3 points and to turn the Texas Derby in the Hunstmen favor, FCD did just that with a 4-2 win over the Houston Dynamo. Let’s see how it all unfolded


Oscar Pareja has kept up with the 4-2-3-1 as we saw a couple of familiar faces return.


                                                      FC Dallas Starting XI vs. Houston Dynamo                                              Photo: FC Dallas


We saw the return of Jesse to the starting lineup. I don’t know what the reasoning was behind it. Maybe Papi was giving Jesse a break and that’s why we saw Maurer. If it’s because of the last game then I think it’s a little harsh to bench Maurer but its Papi’s call. Ziegler and Gruezo made their return to the backline. Mosquera got his first start since we first faced Houston this year. Our newest edition Abel Aguilar made the bench as well.

In this game, Papi really looked to preserve the formation shape more so than what we have seen. Exploitation of the wings was a must to draw Houston to either side of the field and forcing space to open up. Houston tried to play compact and clog space which did work at times but the speed of Barrios and Mosquera forced space open. Maxi was left to roam the middle and play around nicely complimented Badji staying on the opposition line. Gruezo and Victor were tasked with closing space and moving the ball around and the defense was solid.


10′ – Maxi Urruti lays off the ball for Michael Barrios who runs down the right flank and lofts it over to continue his hot streak. 1-0.

Halftime: FC Dallas 1-0 Houston Dynamo

48′ – Santiago Mosquera is rewarded for not giving up on the ball after fending off a defender and the keeper and gets to slot the ball in outside of the box. 2-0.

51′ – 3 minutes later and Santi was not done. Santi dribbles his way along the top of the box and lays it off to Victor who plays the one-two and Santi smashes it into the bottom right corner. 3-0.

53′ – Badji holds onto the ball too long and gives the ball away for a Houston player to send a rocket into the upper 90. 3-1.

58′ – Maxi Urruti is brought down in the box and Reto Ziegler slots home the penalty. 4-1.

72′ – Victor Ulloa makes a slide tackle for the ball and clears the ball but a Houston player also goes down in what was a penalty that could have gone either way. Houston scores on the penalty. 4-2.

77′ – Papi brings in Badji for Abel Aguilar who makes his FCD debut. Tesho Akindele comes in for Santiago Mosquera, and to be honest, I did not understand the later sub as I’m not too sure what Papi was aiming for by bringing in Tesho. Maybe just giving him some play time?

91′ – Carlos Gruezo makes way for Maynor Figueroa as Papi aims to close off the game.

Final: FC Dallas 4-2 Houston Dynamo


It was not a bad performance at all by the Huntsmen. They came out in this game with the desire to win right from the start up until the last whistle. Many players had amazing individual outings which helped the team overall. Plus El Capitan is back!

Playing down the flanks was highly favored this game and why not? Mickey and Santi were hot and really worked there magic. Finishing wasn’t a problem as 4 were slotted into the back of the net. There were other opportunities too that were just inches off target. Dispossessing Houston was great as well as it was done all over the field. The goal was to move the ball out wide and draw players outside and play it into the middle before the box and exploit that space. I’m a huge fan of this versus the cross into the box which has resulted in little success. When the ball is crossed into the box, the attack normally does it when a runner has enough space to slit it home (Badji’s goal against San Jose).

That front 4 of Santi-Badji-Maxi-Barrios had a field day against the Houston backline and the overlapping runs, passes to each other, and creativity was oh so great to watch and you can only imagine how long Papi has been wanting to get that to work. Badji seems to become more comfortable with how the team plays and he stays up against the backline more often. You can tell he prefers to have the ball at his feet though as he will come back at times to win the ball or ask for a pass to be played to him. Maxi did his usually Maxi self and did much off the ball work. Barrios has been having himself an excellent recent run of form since that night in Kansas City and this game was no exception. It only took him 10 minutes to find the back of the net and he was giving Houston a hard time.

Santiago Mosquera. It is safe to say that he is back and boy did he return with a flame underneath him. Santi had such an amazing game. This is the type of player that I thought that he would be and what his potential was showing. I STILL think that we haven’t seen the full potential of Santi and all that he can give to us and that just makes me even more excited. He was tearing up the wings, showed quite some individual skill, and scored a brace. Not a bad night at all for him. It just a matter of making sure his hamstring doesn’t give out.

Victor and Gruezo did great as usual. You can really tell the difference that Gruezo brought to this game. He applied pressure all over that midfield and really shut down the spaces and opposition. Victor played more of that linking player that we are used to. Abel Aguilar made his FCD debut this night and there really wasn’t much to note on. He’s a tall player and the best description I can think of is he is a combination of the defensive ability of Gruezo and the attacking style of Kellyn. He’s tasked with winning the ball and linking it up to the attacking players. I’m looking forward to what he can bring in the future.

The backline had a much better game this time around in comparison to San Jose. You could really tell that there was a sense of urgency and not wanting to give the opposition to much time on the ball and stepping up and pressuring. Ziegler looked fine after some time off. Hedges had a great game and made some great defensive plays. Reggie was great as usual making great runs up the field, serving a creative force, and great defensive play. I loved the way that Marquinhos played. He played that that old-fashioned, rugged, Brazilian defender. He off the ball positioning and movement was great and he does know how to dribble with the ball and make some dribbles into space.

Many of you know that I don’t talk about refs in my articles but they get their whole paragraph. Spoiler: this is not a good thing. It was quite the performance by Kevin Stott. What really grinds my gears is the two-faced calls that he made. Houston was able to full-out rugby tackle our players but coming within a Houston players’ bubble was automatically a foul in favor of Houston. On the penalty that was called against FCD, that really needed to go to VAR for review. I can see how it is a penalty but I can also see how it is not a penalty. That one really deserved a second look and for the broadcast and fans to be in the complete dark as to what is happening is very wrong. Once again who knows with PRO Referees.

FC Dallas will get a nice two weeks off as we enter the FIFA Break for international friendlies. FCD will return to action on September 15th at 7:00pm against the Colombus Crew at Toyota Stadium. The game can be viewed on TXA-21 or ESPN+.

Thank you guys for your patience as I missed two games. I recently just moved back into college and finding out how busy my schedule will be. I will definitely keep these game reviews going but I will be busier from here on out but will do my best to keep bringing you FC Dallas content. If theres an article or anything that you guys want to read, I would be more than happy to try to provide. Just tweet at me @nicomx18 or @FCDalNationDAL.


Featured Image: Nico Mendez/Dallas Sports Nation
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