“He turns the lights on.”
Why not torture this metaphor a bit more? He ignites the torch. He raises the sun.
Then he stokes the conflagration. Or maybe Pareja was speaking of Mauro’s punishment as team maintenance and electrician since his benching a few weeks back.
However awful all above metaphors might be, they are nonetheless true. Mauro Diaz is himself again. This Mauro was the one we expected to see in March, but it has taken until May for the young Argentine to step back into the spotlight.
Dallas’ 4-1 dismantling of arch-nemesis Houston was obviously a welcome one. For FC Dallas supporters it heralds a potential sweep of their intrastate rivals. For Houston, well, it is yet another bump in what has already been a rocky season under a new coach.
What can we takeaway from this match overall?
When Mauro’s head is in the right place, this is the best team in MLS.
Whatever demons, physical or mental, that Diaz had to exorcise ahead of Friday’s match have clearly left and put behind. He was quick and thoughtful on the ball, dauntless in possession, and absolutely precise in his passing and finishing. This was the Mauro we expected to show up in March. At least the wait until May has paid off.
Dallas’ counterattack will bludgeon other sides outside of Houston.
Seattle may be the only other MLS side who can attack with such velocity and intent. Obafemi Martins’ form this year is evidence of that. But this idea of counterattacking soccer links up with last year’s revelation: for as much of a possession and pressure oriented coach Pareja loves to be, his team simply doesn’t do it. They don’t need to.
Pareja has drifted towards a solid counterattack since Mauro was injured in the early months of the 2014 season. Dallas’ first two goals against Houston show how quick the response can be. In fact, both were products of possession gained in the midfield and a quick distribution up and out afterwards. Keep in mind the fact that Hollingshead capitalized on the first with Mauro and Castillo both involved. It’s a testament to Dallas’ versatility, and all done on Friday without Blas Perez.
The young Columbian is on everyone’s watchlist for the right reasons. His form is outstanding, as is his pace. Pareja found a way to improve his finishing and the product of that is what you saw Friday night. Castillo was ruthless, as he has been for all of 2015. European suitors, Mexican suitors will be knocking down doors soon enough. In fact, MLS Transfers (@MLSTransfers) remarked today that the likes of Gent, Palermo, and Club America are all immediately interested in Fabian. Hunt and Clavijo are going to need to pay the man in order for him to stick around in 2016, plain and simple. His initial salary has rose from $50k in 2012 to $76k in 2014. It will take a substantial increase if his form continues as it is.
Tex made his mark…finally.
Texeira’s worth is still a subject of debate and will continue to be just that. But his runs during the first two goals (the second goal being his) were outstanding. His finish on the second goal was everything a coach could ask from his target forward. Texeira needs the inspiration, as these have surely been a dark few months given his dour 2014 campaign. The obvious question surrounds the idea of him keeping this up an being productive on a regular basis. With Blas’ absence due to the Gold Cup this summer impending, it would be outstanding to see Texeira in a good run of form heading into what is always a terrible summer in Frisco.
This match displayed everything Dallas can be. Houston are still finding their feet under new coach Owen Coyle, and will continue to do so. They have proven they can at least attack – it is in fact their defense that will always be an issue (which is a stark disparity compared to Dynamo teams under Dom Kinnear). Furthermore, they will look different upon Cubo Torres’ arrival. But it is oh, so sweet to see that 4-1 scoreline repeated. El Capitan, it’s good to have you at home yet again.
(image courtesy of FC Dallas)