FC Dallas hat trick hero Michael Barrios "rewarded" for hard work all year

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – It took Michael Barrios 21 games in league play to notch his first goal of the season, but when he opened his account, he really opened it.

A hat trick from the Colombian helped FC Dallas extend their lead atop the Western Conference with a 3-2 victory over third-place Sporting Kansas City on Saturday at Children's Mercy Park.

Their first win in almost seven years in Kansas City gives them a six-point cushion in the West over second-place LAFC. FC Dallas manager Oscar Pareja was happy with how his team faced the challenge of taking on Sporting KC on the road.

“It was a big challenge to come play against a team that is a good team in the league,” Pareja said. “Obviously we had a difficulty getting results here. We faced that challenge with a lot of determination and character. And thought the boys did an excellent job.”

Barrios was the star man, as the 27-year-old netted his first career hat trick for FC Dallas. He caused problems for the Sporting KC backline all night, with penetrating runs in behind, and his crafty physical play against larger defenders.

“I’m happy to score the hat trick,” said Barrios postgame, through a translator. “It’s a credit to my hard work, and the team’s as well.”

Barrios hadn’t scored a goal for Dallas all season long, and had only notched one assist in his 1,302 minutes this season. Pareja credited Barrios’ work for the banner night.

“I know Mikey had to work hard to get those goals,” Pareja said. “He’s been playing well, but has not found the net. Today, the game rewarded him. He was disciplined on the job, and at the same time he was very generous with his teammates.”

Despite the distance they’ve created in the Western Conference standings, Pareja is insistent on not getting carried away.

“We have said since the first game of the season we’re going to take it one game at a time,” Pareja said. “We’re not looking back, and we’re not looking forward too much. We are in the present, and we’ve got three points.”