Analysis

The week in FC Dallas: A much-needed six points

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Dallas stymied a three-game slide with two wins at home. Scott French analyzes what went right for Oscar Pareja's troop:

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The week in five words

Back on the right track.

What went well

It was a banner week for FC Dallas, who picked up six points at home against Cascadia sides after going goalless through a three-game skid in Vancouver, New York and Toronto to fall out of the Western Conference lead. Playing well wasn't the aim; all that mattered was winning, so forget everything else. The team scored goals two minutes apart early in the second half Wednesday night to beat Portland, 2-1, then took charge with an early penalty kick in a 2-0 triumph Saturday over Seattle.

The Hoops didn't play badly, either. They started slowly against the Timbers, slowly took charge as the first half evolved and went ahead as defenders Ryan Hollingshead and Walker Zimmerman hit the net. Against Seattle, they came out of an electric first half with the lead and secured the win in the 80th minute, when Michael Barrios finished a wonderful flick from Mauro Rosales.

Diaz, who missed four games with in April with a hamstring injury, is back in top form, expertly running the attack, and Hollingshead followed his end-of-game goalkeeper stint last week against Toronto FC with two assured performances in defense. The only big name not clicking is Fabian Castillo, who has lacked ideas -- or the wherewithal to complete his ideas -- over the past month.

What didn't

Not a whole lot, on the whole. Portland took a quick lead after left back Maynor Figueroa made a mess of a Darren Mattocks cross and might have been up two by the 15th minute had referee Alan Kelly pointed to the spot when Zach Loyd handled a Melano cross. Dallas wasn’t as sharp as it’d been earlier in the campaign – the team started the year 5-1-2 -- and ought to have scored a few more on the Timbers. The Sounders' pressure in the second half forced Dallas into a defensive game plan, but that worked fine, and Barrios' goal on a counter gave the week a nice exclamation point.

Quote of the week

“The last two weeks have been hard. Just getting two results in a row means a lot for the group. You can imagine how hard it is to lift the group after three losses and a bunch of goals, eight goals. It'll make us sleep better tonight for sure.” – head coach Oscar Pareja after Saturday’s victory.

The need-to-know facts

  • FC Dallas (7-4-2) is back in second place in the Western Conference, just one point behind the Colorado Rapids (7-2-3) and three ahead of third-place Vancouver (6-5-2).
  • Hollingshead's third career MLS goal ended a 347-minute goalless streak and was the Hoops' first goal from the run of play in 380 minutes. Vancouver had the longest stretch without an open-play goal this season, 372 minutes spanning five games, which ended with Figueroa's own goal as Dallas started its losing streak with a 3-0 loss April 23.
  • Captain Matt Hedges has missed six games after undergoing meniscus surgery on April 19. He's ahead of schedule on his rehab, was running and cutting in training last week, and could be back on the field before the Copa America break.
  • The Hoops' longest road losing streak under Pareja is four games, twice in 2014. They take their three-game skid to New England this weekend and play at San Jose the following weekend before returning home for a June 2 clash with Houston.

Video of the week

Yes, it counts: Ryan Hollingshead ends Dallas' 347-minute goalless streak to start the comeback against Portland.

Winner of the week

Zimmerman. The fourth-year center back, who has developed a nice partnership with Loyd in Hedges' absence, scored a terrific winner against Portland and won the penalty kick that provided the only goal Dallas needed against Seattle. He started the Timbers match slowly, getting beaten by a nifty Mattocks move on the left wing which led to Portland's quick lead, but he was solid the rest of the way, and, oh, what a goal! He skied well over Chris Klute to sharply nod home Diaz's corner kick from just above the six-yard box in the 57th minute.

Loser of the week

Maximiliano Urruti. The Argentine forward, whose play up top -- especially his defensive work -- was pivotal in the Hoops' strong start to the season, exited at halftime of the Portland game with a sprained ankle and wasn't available against Seattle. They're hoping for the best at New England.

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Scott French is a Los Angeles-based reporter for FourFourTwo. Follow him on Twitter @ScottJFrench.

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