SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The scoring binges of Tesho Akindele and Fabian Castillo continued unabated Saturday – and as a result, so did FC Dallas’ season-best unbeaten streak.
Akindele had his first professional hat trick and Castillo put up his first MLS brace as FC Dallas cruised to their third straight win in a nine-game unbeaten run, whipping the San Jose Earthquakes 5-0.
It was only Dallas’ second win in 12 tries against the Quakes, who had knocked off Oscar Pareja’s team twice back in May. The 6-0-3 stretch matches FC Dallas’ nine-game unbeaten mark from early last season – but unlike that fast start, which fizzled out in a 4-11-8 slide that left them out of the playoffs, this streak seems more sustainable for the fact that it survived Castillo’s four-game absence due to league suspension.
Unlike last season, when only Blas Perez (11) and Kenny Cooper (six) reached a half-dozen goals, FC Dallas (11-7-6) has a quartet of players at that mark already, with 10 matches remaining: Castillo has a career-best eight goals, Akindele and Michel have seven each and Perez is on six.
Castillo now has five goals and three assists in his last six games – interrupted by the suspension – and Akindele has scored six times in FC Dallas’ last six matches.
It all added up to San Jose’s worst-ever defeat in 519 MLS matches, dating back to the club’s first incarnation in 1996.
Castillo was a constant menace for Dallas in the first half, carrying the ball into the Quakes’ penalty area on multiple occasions, but it was the hosts who had the best chance early on. Following some nice build-up work from Matias Perez Garcia and Chris Wondolowski, Dallas goalkeeper Raul Fernandez did well to drop at his near post and deflect Sam Cronin’s sliding attempt in the 16th minute.
Castillo earned his just rewards in the 30th minute when a deflected pass from Victor Bernardez bounced into San Jose territory. Castillo outraced Quakes defender Jason Hernandez to the ball, then shrugged off Hernandez’s attempts to wrestle him down outside of the box. Three dribbles later, Castillo gently lifted a left-footed shot over San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch from 9 yards.
Akindele compounded the damage in the 43rd minute, spinning away from Bernardez and firing a left-footed shot from 20 yards that barely snuck between the legs of Hernandez and past the left arm of a diving Busch before kissing off the far post and in.
Perez Garcia, making his Buck Shaw Stadium debut, managed to draw a penalty kick deep into first-half stoppage time, going down after a tug from Victor Ulloa. But Wondolowski blazed his bid for a ninth goal of 2014 well over the crossbar.
In any case, it certainly would have only been a consolation goal for San Jose (6-9-6).
Castillo and Akindele combined to end all doubt in the 58th minute when the former dribbled past one defender, shot around another and forced a save from the on-his-heels Busch. Akindele pounced on the loose rebound.
Not even the first extended run of the season for San Jose Homegrown attacker Tommy Thompson, who entered on 72 minutes, could change the game’s course; Castillo scythed once against through the San Jose defense just two minutes after that, stopping on a dime to fire right-footed to the far post past a helpless Busch.
Akindele completed the demolition in the 86th minute, hammering home the rebound from Perez’s unmarked header off a Michel corner kick.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Fabian Castillo||Was nearly unplayable for stretches. Had two fine solo strikes and set up one for Akindele, to boot.|
|2||Tesho Akindele||Continued to make a contest of the Rookie of the Year race vs. Harry Shipp, scoring his first career hat trick including an excellent placed shot for his first.|
|3||Matt Hedges||Made life very difficult for Chris Wondolowski and the Quakes attack. His positioning and athletic ability made it tricky for them to get clean looks.|