Last year's Western Conference regular season winners picked up right where they left off. Led by goals from Fabian Castillo and Maximiliano Urruti, FC Dallas coasted to a 2-0 win over the visiting Philadelphia Union on Sunday in the season opener for both teams. Mauro Diaz added a pair of assists for FC Dallas, who figure to be one of the league’s top MLS Cup contenders this season.
The Union, hoping to end a four-year postseason drought, were kept in the game by goalkeeper Andre Blake, who made eight saves in a losing effort. But in the 22nd minute, Blake couldn’t stop Castillo, who was sprung free by a through ball from Diaz. The Argentine playmaker also assisted on the second goal in the 79th minute, capitalizing on a bad giveaway from Union defender Fabinho and feeding Urruti to seal the win.
Castillo was stretchered off the field near the end of the game, possibly putting a damper on Dallas' convincing victory.
- 22' – FCD – Fabian Castillo (Mauro Diaz)
- 79’ – FCD – Maximiliano Urruti (Mauro Diaz)
- Full box score
- THE FABIAN CASTILLO SHOW: No surprise here, but the FC Dallas star made his presence felt in a big way. Time and again, he got behind the Union’s young defense and, with acres of space to operate, played good balls into the box. With a few more bounces going his way, he could have easily finished the day with more than just one goal. Dallas fans just have to be hoping the injury he sustained late in the game is nothing serious.
- THE DIVING AND LEAPING ANDRE BLAKE: If not for Blake, the final score could have been a lot worse for Philly. The Union goalkeeper, who cemented himself as the No. 1 goalkeeper in the preseason, made a handful of diving stops, including a very nice one on Urruti in the 13th minute. This is the player the Union envisioned when they made him the first-ever 'keeper to go No. 1 overall in the MLS SuperDraft.
- NEW-LOOK PHILLY LINEUP: The Union came into the game shorthanded with Maurice Edu and Tranquillo Barnetta– arguably their two top players – out of commission due to injury. That led to an inexperienced lineup with Union head coach Jim Curtin starting four MLS newcomers, including three along the backline. Perhaps predictably, the Union still looked in preseason form at times, only finishing with two shots on target. Not the start they envisioned to the 2016 season.
- PHI: Saturday at Columbus Crew SC (7 pm ET)
- DAL: Saturday at Houston Dynamo (8:30 pm ET)