Michael Barrios confronts Roger Espinoza - FC Dallas vs. Sporting KC

FRISCO, Texas – Sporting Kansas City dealt FC Dallas a sucker punch on Sunday, weathering long stretches of FCD dominance before springing a second-half surge en route to a 3-0 road win at Toyota Stadium that puts the visitors in the driver’s seat for a first-place finish in the MLS Western Conference regular-season standings.


The meeting of the West’s top two sides – who’ve also faced off in some tight U.S. Open Cup games in recent years – proved to be an ill-tempered affair with 31 fouls, five yellow cards, three penalty kicks and several angry confrontations. And with the passions of the fiercely-contested match still running hot, Dallas already began looking forward to a rematch.


“You see the intensity of the game. We both play and we don’t give each other an inch,” said FCD midfielder Victor Ulloa. “We’re on top of each other and you’ve seen that rivalry throughout the past few years. We had a great result at their home this year and they came in and did their part against us now. Soccer always gives you rematches and revenge. So we just wait for the next opportunity to face them.”


Ulloa also alleged that SKC ramped up the tension with some trash talking in the late going. The North Texans, who beat Sporting 3-2 on their visit to CM Park earlier this year, are clearly eager for a rematch in the postseason.


“When the opponent is saying stuff when they’re up 3-0, our players don’t take it well,” said Ulloa of his team’s loss of composure as they chased the game. “It’s normal, you get mad as a human being. But just try to keep everybody calm. The most important part of the season is coming up, the most important game is next week, and into the playoffs. So we need everybody if we want to make a run for that cup.”

FCD’s locker room was mostly empty when it was opened up to reporters postgame, and several players still present were clearly frustrated with the way the afternoon unfolded.


“It was just defensive mistakes, and we’re not putting the offensive chances away. It’s tough playing against one of the best teams in the West – holding that No. 1 spot is always tough because you’ve got a target on your back,” said fullback Reggie Cannon.


“Everyone’s frustrated, but that’s football. You’ve got to keep going. Everyone’s coming back from national teams [after the international window], it’s just tough to get that chemistry again. You’ve just got to figure it out. But I have no doubt that FC Dallas will bounce back. We’ll be ready.”


Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja also expressed a desire to face SKC next month, though he acknowledged that his team will have to maintain more composure under pressure if they are to make a deep run.


“We didn’t have that resolution, that quality and that patience and Kansas City played well in that part,” he said. “That first goal especially, it just unbalanced the team. But I want to tell you: We have our objective in our hands, and we’re not going to live under these circumstances, we’re going to move on.


“The roller coaster we got into in the second half, I did not like. And I’m going to include myself there too,” Pareja added.