The maturation process continues at a rapid rate for first-year pro Tesho Akindele.
On Sunday night against Chivas USA, that meant the first road win for FC Dallas since April as the Canadian forward scored his fourth goal in MLS play this year and third in four games to give his team a 1-0 victory at StubHub Center.
Akindele finished a quality run-up from FC Dallas that started with a give-and-go between Blas Perez and Fabian Castillo, with the Colombian making the final pass across for the rookie to drive home in the 49th minute. While Dallas did have to absorb some pressure from Chivas USA during the game, they successfully dealt with all of it to prevail.
“That’s what he knows how to do,” head coach Oscar Pareja said in his postgame comments. “The kid is growing. He knows that in the box, he scores. That is what he does.”
Akindele's form coincides with FCD's recent surge.
With the win, Dallas continue a run of nine games without a loss across all competitions, but this was the first road victory in MLS play for the Texas club since April 5 when they crushed their in-state rivals, the Houston Dynamo, 4-1. It was a span of almost four months and eight games between away victories.
“The boys did an excellent job,” Pareja said. “We won a game that we needed to win, and that shows that this is a good team who is getting mature and strong.
“It’s great to win 1-0 away – it’s huge.”
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Akindele, a Calgary native who was the sixth overall pick in this year’s SuperDraft after a standout career at Division II Colorado School of Mines, the highest ever draft position for a DII player, actually scored his first professional goal at the StubHub Center in a 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy on May 21, part of an eight-game winless streak that saw Dallas fall from the top of the league. He also scored the game winner in extra time in Lamar Hunt US Open Cup play when Dallas won in Houston on June 24.
His goal highlighted a more proactive second half for FCD after Chivas USA controlled large swaths of the early going.
“The first half was hectic for us. We couldn’t find the rhythm. We had the initiative to stretch them and try to get in behind, but honestly we couldn’t the way we wanted,” Pareja said. “... Based in the performance we had, we deserve to go with more goals. I thought it was a game that easily could have finished 2-0.”