FC Dallas went to Southern California hoping to show they belong with the elite teams in the conference but were unable to defeat top-ranked LAFC on Thursday. The final score of 3-1 leaves Dallas tied in fourth place with Nashville and one game behind Salt Lake City in the Western Conference after 17 weeks of play.
“I think we had a really good first half playing away against the best team in the league,” said head coach Nico Estevez. “We created a lot of chances to score, especially for playing away. We kept possession and combined transition attacks with long build-ups that arrived to good points.”
FC Dallas got off to a hot start, pushing against the LAFC defense early. Coming off a corner kick, FC Dallas moved the ball to center to set up a shot attempt by Edwin Cerrillo that was blocked. Dallas was not in a position to capitalize on the deflected ball that went across the front of the open goal.
Maarten Paes, the FC Dallas goalkeeper, also had an early save on an arcing corner kick that LAFC was able to put on the net with a quick header that Paes was able to push high. Since coming to FC Dallas earlier this season on loan from FC Utrecht, Paes has 34 saves and four clean sheets in just 15 games. He officially signed with FC Dallas on Tuesday.
The first goal of the match came at the 21-minute point. LAFC cleared the ball from deep in their own end of the field, and the strikers had a chance against FC Dallas defenders. Carlos Vela made a pass to defeat a tackle and set up Danny Musovski for a one-on-one. He defeated Paes on the chip shot into the corner of the net to get the 1-0 advantage.
The only goal for FC Dallas came on a bit of trickery. Lining up for a penalty kick, Marco Farfan, facing his former team for the first time as a member of FC Dallas, faked, pulling LAFC goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau forward. Jesus Ferreira took the shot and executed a perfect dropping curve that went just over the outstretched hand of Crepeau and beneath the top bar to tie the score at 1-1.
The goal was Ferreira’s 10th of the season and placed him as the leading scorer in the league. The score also marks his personal season-best. In addition to his 10 goals, Ferreira also has four assists for a total of 14 points.
“I am sticking and adapting to the role the coaches want me to play,” Ferreira said of his first goal in five games. “I am happy that my teammates have been able to put me in situations where I can score some goals. We have an identity to be a pressing team that never stops running.”
The second goal scored by LAFC came on an error by the defense. FC Dallas’ Ema Twumasi was beaten to a slow-rolling inside pass by LAFC forward Cristian Arango, who made a far corner touch shot that came off the post and rolled in for the score.
The final goal came late in the match and was another opportunity where Dallas defenders were slow to get into proper position. The lack of speed allowed Kwadwo Opoku time to line up a shot from well out that arced into the net just past a diving save try by Paes.
“We should’ve closed the middle down better on their second goal and not let them play through by being more compact on the right side,” Estevez said after the match.
FC Dallas will return home for the first game of July, facing off against Miami at Toyota Stadium in Frisco on July 4.