By: Rees Linn
Jeff Cunningham scored his 10th goal of the season to seal a 3-1 victory for FC Dallas (11-2-13) at Kansas City (9-10-6) on Saturday night. Cunningham’s 83rd minute strike leaves him one goal away from tying the all time MLS career goals record held by Jamie Moreno (132). The win means that Dallas could clinch a playoff spot with a victory against Chicago next Saturday.
Dallas, now unbeaten in 17 matches, was without 5 starters: George John (hamstring), Ugo Ihemelu (concussion), Daniel Hernandez (hamstring), Kevin Hartman (knee), and Brek Shea (red card suspension).
Kansas City came into the match having won four of their last five matches; giving themselves a chance to pull to within one point of a wildcard spot with a win against Dallas.
The match couldn’t have started more brightly for the visitors, as Marvin Chavez helped Dallas to a one goal lead in only the fifth minute.
Kansas City was stunned again in the 13th minute when Milton Rodriguez doubled Dallas’s lead with a left footed goal from the edge of the area.
The small, rain-soaked pitch at Community America Ballpark played a role throughout the match. Control and space was difficult to come by, and neither team was able to possess the ball with any great consistency.
Despite giving up the two early goals, Kansas City was the more dangerous team during the last 30 minutes of the first half with Kei Kamara and Ryan Smith looking especially lethal on the wings. Unfortunately for Kansas City, the play of Birahim Diop in the center of the attack lacked the touch and speed necessary to unhinge the Dallas backline.
In the second half, Kansas City continued to push forward by bypassing the crowded center with long balls forward to their strikers, but it was a quick combination of one touch passes on the ground that allowed Ryan Smith to make it 2-1 in the 57th minute.
Following the goal, Kansas City enjoyed good periods of sustained pressure but created few clear cut chances in front of the Dallas goal. Kyle Davies provided the size necessary to deal with Teal Bunbury, and Zach Loyd continued to demonstrate his ball winning capabilities.
Jeff Cunningham halted the comeback when he buried Dallas’s third goal in the 83rd, and while it was a beautiful effort from the veteran striker it was an even better setup from David Ferreira. The little Columbian was brilliant throughout the match, and his vision and passing were the ultimate reasons for his team’s success. [picappgallerysingle id=”9285509″]