By: Rees Linn
FC Dallas crushed the visiting Chicago Fire 3-0 on Saturday night to clinch a spot in the MLS postseason and extend their unbeaten run to 18 matches. Dallas has the opportunity to equal the MLS record of 19 unbeaten matches when they play Colorado at Pizza Hut Park next Saturday.
Milton Rodriguez grabbed the first goal for the hosts in the 19th minute when a long restart from Dario Sala caught Kwame Watson-Siriboe off guard. The Columbian outpaced the rookie defender to finish past Sean Johnson for his third goal in four matches.
The first half was played at a fairly quick tempo due to the high pressure applied by both teams. After the match, Dax McCarty commented, “It’s kind of a theme here that other teams try to break up our rhythm at home. It was tough in the beginning. We had some uncharacteristic turnovers in the attacking and middle thirds.”[picappgallerysingle id=”9902867″]
Chicago, who was coming off of a 3-0 thrashing of playoff hopefuls San Jose, continued to try to develop their chemistry in the attack. Dangerous penetrating runs from Patrick Nyarko and Calen Carr provided several real scoring threats in the first half, but the final touch of creativity necessary to finish the moves seemed to be missing for the guests.
Marvin Chavez doubled Dallas’s lead in the first minute of the second half. It was the Honduran’s second goal in as many matches, and it emphasizes the amount of trouble the winger is capable of causing opposing fullbacks. Chavez will likely get another start next week when Brek Shea is with the US national team, and if he continues to perform he could create serious selection problems for Shellas Hyndman.
Chicago faded quickly after the second goal, and Dallas dominated what remained of the match. David Ferreira was again the catalyst in the Dallas midfield, and his creativity and vision cannot be overlooked.
The icing on the cake for Dallas came in the 67th minute, when Jeff Cunningham converted his 132nd career goal from the penalty spot. The tally sent him into the record books, tying him with DC United’s Jamie Moreno for most career MLS goals. Cunningham has scored in each of his last three matches.
Shellas Hyndman commented on Cunningham’s record after the match: “It’s one thing to be focused on going after that record; it’s another thing to be on the doorstep and tying it. I think what you see now is the true character of Jeff Cunningham. He’s getting the goals coming off of the bench. I think he’s just fantastic. It speaks volumes for him as a soccer player.”