FRISCO, Texas—There are few ways to better wash the taste of a drubbing to an in-state rival out of the mouth than by picking up a shutout win against an undefeated team. 


FC Dallas picked up a 2-0 home victory over the Montreal Impact on Saturday night thanks to a pair of late goals: Mauro Diaz scored on a 79th-minute penalty kick to take the lead, and FC Dallas added an insurance goal from offseason addition Maximiliano Urruti to put one of the worst losses in recent memory, a 5-0 defeat to the Houston Dynamo, behind them.


“Obviously this was an important one considering what happened last week,” said head coach Oscar Pareja. “I have to bring that up because it was the highlight today in how the team bounced back, and how we had the character to not just bring the three points, but [have] a great performance.”


Pareja made a couple of changes to his starting XI after last week’s disaster in Houston by starting Ryan Hollingshead at right back in place of Atiba Harris, and reinserting Victor Ulloa into the lineup, ahead of recent US Under-23 national team call-up Kellyn Acosta.


Ulloa had been an ironman of sorts for FC Dallas, until losing his spot to Carlos Gruezo to start the season, and delivered his latest strong performance vs. Montreal.


“Victor gives us a lot of balance there,” Pareja said. “He’s been playing here for 60-plus games already. He knows the tactics and knows the fundamentals in the middle of the park.”


The move to insert Hollingshead also paid dividends on both ends of the pitch. In addition to negating Montreal’s most dangerous attacking side, Hollingshead routinely overlapped into the Impact's final third and found himself on the receiving end of many passes from Diaz.


“I think that’s something I try to offer, trying to get forward,” Hollingshead said. “They’re not expecting me to get forward, especially when Mauro gets the ball in the final third. He’ll take a touch and turn, and I’m making the run down the sideline. Mauro will see me, and no one else will see me.”


Diaz was pulling the strings throughout the match, although nothing was materializing in the early stages of the game. But in the 79th minute, after being fouled outside the penalty box, Diaz masterfully connected on a free kick to the point that Evan Bush didn’t even leave his feet to attempt to make a save.


The game pivoted on that goal.


“He has been preparing himself very well during the preseason,” Pareja said. “Mauro understands the importance that he has, and not just in all of the games. He understands he has a big responsibility with this club. Today was a great reward for him for all the hard work and extra hours.”


FC Dallas also reaped the benefits of putting in extra hours during the past week in an attempt to move on from the beatdown from the Dynamo. Not only did Dallas remedy their attack, but also did enough to patch up the problems in their own defensive third, even with Impact star striker Didier Drogba making his first 2016 appearance when the game was still scoreless. 


 “I thought we found ways to control, especially [Ignacio] Piatti and [Harry] Shipp, and the way they were overloading the left,” Pareja said. “Defensively, we looked very organized. Today was one of those days when you see a team playing well.”