Texas’ Major League Soccer campaign remains alive as FC Dallas won the opening match of the MLS Playoffs. FC Dallas managed a 2-1 win over Vancouver Whitecaps at Toyota Stadium in Frisco on Wednesday night.
Vancouver even making the playoffs was dramatic as it was Portland Timbers who held that fifth position heading in to Vancouver’s last match. But Vancouver responded and won their final match of the season to take the last spot ahead of Portland.
Both teams played on Saturday, with Dallas actually losing that match that put the pressure on Vancouver. And the fatigue of two matches so close seemed to impact on the teams as they both struggled to get going, as the teams really felt each other out.
The first chance didn’t come until the 27th minute after Vancouver started to take control of the match. Erik Hurtado set up a ball for Pedro Morales who was able to shoot from distance but was denied as Chris Seitz made the save after nearly spilling it.
The Whitecaps were nearly made to pay for that missed opportunity just two minutes later as FC Dallas hit the lead. It was a stunning run from Fabian Castillo that set it up, as he beat two defenders and looked for Blas Perez but the cross was cleared.
That saw FC Dallas really start to take charge of the match and they looked to find the goal, which they finally got in the 40th minute. A long throw allowed Mauro Diaz to run on to the ball and send in a cross for Tesho Akindele who got a shot away which deflected off of Andy O’Brien and in to the back of the net, giving Dallas a 1-0 lead at the half.
Two minutes after half-time Vancouver very nearly had an equalizer but were denied by the post. After a foul Mauro Rosales stepped up to hit the free-kick from just outside the area but his effort went off the woodwork allowing FC Dallas to clear.
Vancouver were absolutely rampant in the second half, but Dallas were proving difficult to break down with Chris Seitz doing well in the goal. KekutaManneh, formerly of Austin Aztex, had a solid opportunity just after the hour but was denied by Seitz.
In the 64th minute Vancouver finally managed to break through as they were able to find their equalizer. Again it was a free-kick from Rosales that helped set up the chance as it fell to Manneh who shot but his effort rebounded for Erik Hurtado who tapped it home.
FC Dallas started to fight back into the match and in the 82nd minute they got their lifeline as Kendall Watson was called for a handball as the ball came off his arm as he cleared the ball, forcing the referee to point to the spot. That allowed Michel to step up and he duly took advantage slotting the penalty and putting FC Dallas in front.
Vancouver made an effort to come back and equalize but it was too late, as FC Dallas won their first playoff match since 2010. The win sees FC Dallas advance to take on Supporter’s Shield Champions, Seattle Sounders in the Conference Semi-Finals with the first leg in Dallas on Sunday.