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FC Dallas 2, Vancouver Whitecaps 0 | MLS Match Recap

FRISCO, Texas – And just like that, FC Dallas is tied for the Supporters’ Shield lead.

In the second game of a home-and-away sequence played in a week, Dallas topped the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-0 at Toyota Stadium on Wednesday to pull level with the New York Red Bulls for the regular-season hardware.

Unlike the 0-0 draw last week in Vancouver, both Western Conference teams had a plethora of quality chances to make their marks on the scoreboard. The teams combined for 24 shots, and although the Whitecaps were credited with only one on goal, many of their opportunities were either inches away from counting or were stifled by Dallas defenders at the last minute.

Dallas’ first goal was a product of a quality give-and-go between midfielder Mauro Diaz and midfielder-turned-defender Ryan Hollingshead. In the 32nd minute, Hollingshead gave Diaz the ball at midfield and immediately ran down the left flank while Diaz dribbled his way through Whitecaps defenders.

Hollingshead received the ball on the left edge of the penalty box, immediately kicked it back to Diaz, who then found fellow midfielder Michael Barrios in the right portion of the box. The Colombian took a couple of steps and drilled a shot past David Ousted to put the hosts up 1-0.

Diaz doubled the Dallas advantage after receiving a long header from Victor Ulloa in the Vancouver third in the 52nd minute. Dallas’ heralded “magician” worked his way past defenders Jordan Harvey and Pa Modou Kah, making Harvey nearly fall down on his second pass inside the box. The 24-year-old Argentine then fired to the near post on an effort that Ousted got his right hand on, but the ball squeaked by him to give Dallas a 2-0 cushion. 

Both teams were inches away from getting on the scoreboard in the opening 45 minutes. In the 11th minute, Barrios was able to break away on the right flank and get past the entire Vancouver backline. Upon receiving a long pass from Diaz, Barrios found David Texeira charging into the box, but the Uruguayan’s shot banged off the left post.

The Whitecaps had similar bad luck in the 19th minute, also stemming from a long pass from the opposite third. This time, midfielder Gershon Koffie found the ball at his feet straight-away on the edge of the box. Like Texeira, his shot sizzled across the grass and ricocheted off the post.

Vancouver also had a near-strike in stoppage time at the end of the first half when Octavio Rivero sent in a lob into the FCD box that Koffie gently tapped to the right of a diving Jesse Gonzalez. But the slow shot allowed Zach Loyd to clean up the mess and clear the ball before it could find the back of the net.

Dallas were awarded a penalty kick in the 42nd minute with the opportunity to put some separation between them and the visitors. Barrios took an errant pass around midfield and sped toward the left post before being tackled by defender Tim Parker near the endline. But Ousted read Diaz’s penalty kick perfectly, diving to his right and palming it away.

FC Dallas nearly found a third in the final minute of regulation, but Blas Perez was deemed offside on a shot that hit the back of the net.

With the win, Dallas now only need to collect one point in their last two games to secure a first-round bye in the Western Conference. Vancouver already clinched a playoff berth with last week’s draw, but still remain one point behind the second-place LA Galaxy.

FC Dallas hit the road quickly for a road contest with Real Salt Lake on Saturday. The Whitecaps will travel to CD Olimpia next Thursday for a CONCACAF Champions League matchup, and their final regular-season match is against the Houston Dynamo at home three days later.

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