FC Dallas’ substitute midfielder Mauro Rosales scored the winning goal in the 68th minute to defeat Sporting Kansas City 2-1 on a stormy Sunday night at Toyota Stadium.
Rosales comes through
The Argentinean veteran midfield had entered the match five minutes before he stepped up to take the free kick right outside the top of penalty box. Morales did not attempt to blast the ball, but instead, he placed it perfectly at the left hand corner of the net. SKC’s goalkeeper Tim Melia attempted to save the shot as he dove to the post. However, the ball kissed the side of the net and Morales gave the Toros the 2-1 lead.
A blinding fast and wet Western Conference showdown
The build up this to match was immense as this was first versus second in the highly competitive Western Conference. The Hoops entered this match in first with 14 points with Sporting in second with 12.
A victory for Kansas City would have put them back on top of the West and of the Supporters’ Shield race. A victory for the home club will just tighten their grip on first place.
However, the match had physicality to it which provided some goal scoring chances. The two clubs combined for only 22 tackles, 17 fouls and one yellow card. That card came in the 90th minute for Hoops substitute midfielder Atiba Harris.
On the offensive end, only 23 shots were produced between the two clubs. With a lot of pace on both sides there was a combined 26 crosses attempted in the match. However, neither of them completed the crosses at high percentage. Sporting was able to finish with the highest at 31 percent out of their 16 attempts.
If crossing the ball was difficult for the two clubs in this match, delivering a regular pass proved to be the biggest obstacle. Dallas finished with the better percentage at 70 out of 342 passes.
The big reason for these struggles besides the stingy the defense was the weather in Frisco, Texas. Toyota Stadium was hit with rain before the game and moments during. A storm was hitting that part of Texas as thunder storms were also hitting Frisco or near it from starting as early as 6 A.M. Sunday till midnight on Monday.
The rain made the field slick, which made the ball move at a faster pace. As a result, passes that were usually easy to control or complete became tricky. The pace of the match became a bit chaotic, since both clubs love to run and move the ball around the pitch.
Somehow offense was produced
Regardless, of the weather Dallas and Kansas City were still able to land a combined 11 shots on target. In response both keepers were able to stop a total of nine chances. However, eventually the deadlock was broken and it was the visitors who jumped ahead in the 22nd minute.
Benny Feilhaber took the corner kick and placed a low bouncing and curving ball into the heart of the penalty box. Kansas City midfielder Lawrence Olum completed his run to the mouth of the goal when the ball bounced into his path.
Through a Dallas defensive error Olum found himself wide open and with all the time in the world to redirect Feilhaber’s corner. He simply lowered his head and gave Sporting a 1-0 lead.
The home side was able to respond quickly as Colombian speedster Michael Barrios leveled the match 13 minutes later. Similar to SKC’s goal a defensive mistake was the cause of the equalizer.
The first mistake occurred when SKC’s captain Matt Besler failed to clear or even make contact with a long, bouncing ball that was coming his way. However, the next defender, Amadou Dia, also botched the clearance.
Therefore, Barrios was able to recover the ball in the box. The South American winger quickly fired a low shot to the bottom left hand corner. Melia was able to get two hands on the shot, but allowed the pace and power of the ball to bend his fingers to tie the match 1-1 at the 35th minute.
Dallas takes the lead; Toros hold
The pace of the game continued to get faster as the second half started. However, Kansas City was put on desperation mood after Morales gave the home side a 2-1 lead. KC’s offense became more aggressive towards the ending of the match searching for that tying goal.
But the Hoops defense was there to clean up loose balls in or around the box. Plus, Dallas’ goalkeeper Chris Seitz was there to deny SKC five times to help secure the 2-1 victory.
Where they stand now, and who is next
With this result Dallas stays in first place of both the West and the Supporters’ Shield race with now 17 points. As for Kansas City this result drops them from second to fourth place with 12 points.
The Hoops will be traveling across the border to face the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday at BC Place. SKC will be heading to Northern California to take on the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday at the Avaya Stadium.