After back-to-back wins, FC Dallas find themselves in third place in the Western Conference with just 8 games remaining.
Sunday night’s 3-0 effort against the Columbus Crew was by far the most important victory in the FC Dallas season so far. Not only did the three points come at a crucial time, the three players that scored represent three different components that make up what FC Dallas has become over the course of the campaign.
Take for example the first goal scorer, Atiba Harris.
Harris, who is admittedly an old man in this FCD squad at the ripe old age of 30, has had a bit of a roundabout journey through MLS. Nevertheless, his inclusion in this season’s squad is a testament to the brilliant work of Oscar Pareja in piecing together a team.
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Harris has become a staple in the right back slot, a position he has had to grow into after playing the majority of his career in defensive midfield. Again, you have to tip your cap to both the player and to the coach for Harris’ transformation.
A goal and an assist for the right back perfectly epitomize the will and determination that this team has had to muster throughout the course of the season. Even an MLS nomad in Harris has found his niche in this FCD squad.
That brings us to another newcomer, Michael Barrios.
Barrios, similarly to Harris, has taken a bit of time to adjust to the scenery in Dallas. However, unlike Harris, Barrios seems to fit much more neatly into the fold of this FCD squad; he is young, he is fast and he is promising.
Over the summer, Barrios has adjusted his game and molded himself into a standout attacker. His pace was on full display during his counterattacking masterclass Sunday night.
The Colombian raced onto the end of a clearance from Atiba Harris around the halfway line. Breaking away from his marker, Barrios sprinted into the penalty area and down the right side of the box. When the keeper came out to contest him, Barrios knocked it over his trailing leg with the softest of touches and into the back of the net.
If Harris’ goal epitomized the ability of this team to come together and work as a unit, Barrios’ goal epitomized the loads of youthful talent that FC Dallas has that all have the ability to produce magic at any given moment.
Finally, we end with David Texeira.
I have not been the biggest Tex fan over the course of this year. In my opinion, he has a knack for disappearing into the fold of a game like an FCD edition of “Where’s Waldo?”
However, Tex came up with some big moments on Sunday. His header across goal that setup the first goal for Atiba Harris was quintessential center forward play. On top of that, his finish for the final goal was as composed as I have ever seen him.
He had time and picked his spot, again, like a true center forward.
In my opinion, Tex’s goal epitomizes two things. The first is the resolve that this team has managed over the course of an up and down season. It doesn’t matter what knocks them down; they always manage to get back up in the most unlikely of circumstances, like Tex did.
The second is the awesome talent that Oscar Pareja has in developing his players. Another manager might sit Tex; another manager might not field five homegrown players in one lineup (actually, no one else has ever done that).
His ability to get the best out of everyone and cultivate each player’s unique skill set has set Oscar Pareja apart this season. If anyone ever doubted the man, Sunday night’s key victory certainly quieted the doubters.
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