After a trying start to the month of July that saw the team go 0-1-3 in only 12 days, FC Dallas has rebounded, winning two-straight games to close out the month. On Saturday, FC Dallas defeated LA Galaxy 1-0 to earn three points in the standings and move the team into a fourth-place tie with Minnesota as the Major League Soccer season begins to build toward the playoffs in October.
“There are a lot of things we can improve on from today,” said head coach Nico Estevez following the win. “Overall, I am very proud of the guys. It is not easy what we are doing, especially against good teams. There were some moments of the game where we would suffer. We are together, and we’ve been present defensively in the last two games. Now the challenge is if we can be present while we have the ball. We need to start opening and creating good angles and doing more things to have more possession in the second half to kill the game.”
The win was the first at home since May 7, and it marks the sixth game this season that FC Dallas has shut out an opponent. It also was the second back-to-back victory of the season. FC Dallas goalkeeper Maarten Paes registered his first penalty kick save this season and had three saves on the night.
“I think in the game, I had confidence,” Paes said. “Sometimes you have these feelings as a goalie that nothing is going on that day. And I think today was that kind of day, and yeah, as a goalkeeper, if you have that game before the penalty kick, that you know you’re gonna stop it. And of course, you do your homework, but then also it’s a little bit of a feeling, and it’s also nice because the one from Gil and Russell was in the right corner, but they showed up really well. So now, the third time, I don’t know, what’s the saying? Third time’s the charm.”
FC Dallas scored early in the match when Marco Farfan fed a gentle pass just past a defender for what looked like would be an easy save by LA Galaxy goalkeeper Julian Bond, but Franco Jara came in unimpeded by the defense to put just enough of a touch on the ball to beat Bond. The score came just over eight minutes into the contest, setting up a long night for the defense.
The goal was the third of the season for Jara, who is often a substitute player, but got the start on Saturday. It was only his fourth start of the season despite playing in 21 games.
“Whether I start or come off the bench, I always want to support the team,” Jara said. “Today, I got the chance to start, and we were able to win tonight. We have back-to-back wins, and I am happy to have contributed with a goal.”
The penalty save by Paes came late in the match after a collision between LA Galaxy forward Javier “Chicharito” Hernández Balcázar and Farfan gave the Galaxy a free shot. The kick was low and away and was read perfectly by Paes as he dove into the kick and saved the tying goal.
FC Dallas will face the Seattle Sounders FC on Tuesday for their second match-up this season. FC Dallas triumphed in the earlier match 2-0. The May victory was the last home win before Saturday’s victory over LA Galaxy.