By CAITLIN MURRAY
The Oscar Pareja era at FC Dallas is off to a flying start in 2014, and Saturday night marked Chivas USA’s turn to be the latest to find out just what sort of impact Pareja is having on his new team.
FC Dallas handed Chivas USA their first loss of the season with a commanding 3-1 victory in front of a crowd of 15,564 at FC Dallas Stadium on Saturday.
Mauro Diaz and Je-Vaughn Watson helped set up a pair of goals before a Michel free kick helped put the match out of reach for a victory that helped move FC Dallas into first place in the Western Conference.
After 71 minutes and a handful of yellow cards, the game finally opened up and FC Dallas were rewarded for outplaying the Goats all night. FC Dallas opened scoring on a floating Diaz free kick, headed by Hendry Thomas in front of the net to Fabian Castillo’s feet for a blast past goalkeeper Dan Kennedy.
In the 78th minute, FC Dallas was back at it with Diaz sending a beautiful diagonal long-range pass on the ground to Watson, who took a touch around Kennedy coming off his line and beat the keeper, finishing far post.
Just two minutes later, Chivas USA pushed back for one of their own.
Kris Tyrpak sent a cross to Erick Torres, who ran onto it to score his third goal of the season and keep hopes alive for Chivas USA, a team that looked determined to wage a comeback.
But Michel sealed the match in the 86th minute on a direct free kick fired low and hard into the wall that deflected through, skipping wide past Kennedy’s outstretched reach, giving Dallas the 3-1 lead.
It was a physical match with both sides growing increasingly frustrated as the clock ticked with the scoreboard stuck at zero, resulting in seven yellow cards. In the 65th minute, Andrew Jacobson was taken down hard on his ankle and had to be stretchered off the field and wheeled into the locker room.
Thomas was handed a red card deep into stoppage time for a two-footed tackle that took down Bofo Bautista, meaning Thomas will sit out when Dallas faces the Portland Timbers at home next Saturday.
Chivas USA will head to New York to face the Red Bulls next Sunday.
Here are the game highlights: