Mauro Diaz and FC Dallas: The Anatomy of a Comeback


If last week’s win over Houston was Mauro Diaz’s coming out party for the season, his influence on this FCD squad was officially announced in Saturday’s come from behind victory over last year’s MLS champions, the LA Galaxy.

For the majority of the season, Diaz has been a bit of a whipping post for FCD pundits and fans alike. With all the talent that Diaz has been shown to possess over his time with Dallas, his performances early in the season left much to be desired. Call it fitness issues. Call it adjusting to the new season. Whatever you call it, it was disappointing.

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Last week’s resounding victory in Houston seemed to mark Diaz’s return to form. We saw the trickery, we saw the magic, and FCD fans’ chagrin shifted towards optimism that the Argentinian could turn his season around. The demons didn’t seem to haunt him anymore, and with LA coming to town, Diaz was coming into form just in time to showcase it on a massive stage.

What made Diaz’s poor form early in the season that much more frustrating is the fact that he plays a position that is arguably the most influential in the attacking game. Most elite teams have an elite number 10 that can spread the play and create from the middle of the pitch.

For FC Dallas in particular, having a creative central attacking midfielder is vital. Castillo provides width in the attack up the flanks, and Perez is a clinical finisher up the middle. When either one of those two can lay the ball off to a dangerous, tricky midfielder like Diaz, all of a sudden, the attack becomes that much more dangerous and multi-faceted, which in turn makes it infinitely harder to defend.

Plain and simple, FC Dallas is incredibly more balanced when Diaz is playing as an effective number 10. If you need an example, look no farther than Saturday night.

When the ball fell to Diaz at the top of the box in the lead up to the equalizer, many attacking players would go for goal, especially after beating one man off the dribble. You see the headlines for tomorrow’s paper glorifying your wonder strike from the top of the box to the upper corner.

Fortunately for FCD, Diaz knew he could get the same plaudits for what he was about to do: execute a mouth-watering rainbow flick right into the path of an on-rushing Perez to control past the keeper and into the back of the net.

May 9, 2015; Frisco, TX, USA; FC Dallas forward Blas Perez (7) celebrates his goal against the Los Angeles Galaxy during the second half at Toyota Stadium. FC Dallas defeated Los Angeles Galaxy 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Even though I feel like Perez’s finish hasn’t gotten quite the credit that it rightfully deserves, it’s because everyone’s heart had already fallen in love with Diaz’s flick.

The same thing happened with the second goal. Tesho finished brilliantly past Penedo in the Galaxy goal, but everyone was still reeling from the peach of a pass that set him up that the finish itself didn’t seem like much.

When he is on, Diaz has the ability to overshadow other performers around him, despite their brilliance, like he did twice on Saturday night. Diaz single-handedly brought FCD back into the game with one moment of genius. The second moment ensured that all through points belonged to the good guys.

As to what specifically has caused him to have more “on” moments recently, your guess is as good as mine. One thing that I know he will have going for him the next time he laces up his boots is buckets of confidence. Couple that with a newly invigorated love from the fan base, you get a newly invigorated Mauro Diaz. The maestro is back, y’all. 

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