By: Anthony Miller
FC Dallas keeps their Leagues Cup hopes alive defeating Mazatlan 2-1 Wednesday night setting up a Sunday showdown with Lionel Messi and Inter Miami.
The first half was filled with FC Dallas having plenty of opportunities to get goals, but not able to capitalize on the six shots they took in the half. FC Dallas attacked well and was able to keep their goalkeeper Maarten Paes at ease with most possessions taking place on the other side of the field. Jesus Ferreira contributed three of those shots showing great aggression in his offensive approach. Neither team scored in the first half leaving the second half wide open.
After a Mazatlan yellow card in the box, Alan Velasco found the back of the net on a penalty kick in the 48th minute to give FC Dallas a 1-0 lead. That lead didn’t last long as nine minutes later Mazatlan’s Andres Montano brought in the equalizer tying the game at 1-1. Eugene Ansah would end up being the hero for FC Dallas as he struck a goal off a beautiful assist from Ferreira in the 75th minute to give FC Dallas the lead again at 2-1. Three great saves by Paes after the 89th minute helped FC Dallas preserve the win.
It’s the second straight win for FC Dallas as they now advance to the round of 16 in the Leagues Cup. The team found out just shortly after the game that their next opponent would be Inter Miami. Lionel Messi’s two goals for Inter Miami helped them pick up a 3-1 win over Orlando City. FC Dallas and Inter Miami will face off against each other Sunday with a quarterfinals appearance on the line.
Observations From FC Dallas’ Win
FC Dallas came out attacking on offense Wednesday night having plenty of opportunities in the process. 13 shots were taken with five being on goal. Five different players attempted two or more shots with Ferreira leading the way with three shots taken. More goals could have been scored by FC Dallas, but two goals were called offsides which made the game seem closer than the scoreboard showed.
Defensively, besides the one goal surrendered in the second half, Mazatlan did not have many opportunities for shots as most of them came with under ten minutes to go. Paes was stellar in front of the net once again, saving four shots in the win. Mazatlan hung tough throughout the game, but it always felt like FC Dallas was the better team that should have scored more goals than they did.
Previewing FC Dallas-Inter Miami Game with Messi in Frisco
The dream of Lionel Messi playing in Frisco is now a beautiful reality. Messi has single-handedly transformed Inter Miami from the worst team in the Eastern Conference to now a legit threat in MLS once the regular season resumes. Inter Miami is 3-0 in the Leagues Cup with Messi scoring five goals in those three games. It’s safe to say that he is unstoppable on U.S. soil right now.
FC Dallas is going to have a challenge as while the offense has improved in terms of how aggressive they are with their shots; they are not scoring on the opportunities they have as often. Paes is going to be the key for FC Dallas to win on Sunday as he will have to play tough defensively and make more saves than he has been accustomed to.
This is not the bottom cellar Inter Miami team MLS fans have seen this season. They are a completely different team with Messi leading the charge as captain. Sunday will be a marathon that FC Dallas hopes to stay a part of. If they get behind quickly as Inter Miami’s last two opponents have, it could be a long night for FC Dallas as they are more of a second-half team. Fans can rejoice in the fact that Messi is coming to Frisco to put on quite a show.
Featured Image via Twitter (@FCDallas)