FC Dallas have now won both matches in this new Texas rivalry, after a 2-1 victory at Toyota Stadium earlier this month. With victory on their first trip to Q2 Stadium, Luchi Gonzalez's side moves to within two points of the Western Conference playoff line.
The first goal came less than five minutes in, with Pepi pressuring some too-languid passing in their own box between Brad Stuver and Julio Cascante, resulting in a turnover that Ferreira pounced on for the opener. Then Cascante found a redemption arc eight minutes later, getting on the end on a long diagonal cross from Zan Kolmanic to equalize.
But then Dallas took over. First, Pepi got his 10th goal of the season in the 36th minute, when Szabolcs Schon got down the right wing and found Pepi open for the finish. Two minutes after, Ferreira got his brace, cleaning up a rebound on a Schon shot that was blocked by Matt Besler. Just two minutes after that, Pepi joined him in the two-goal club, ending up 1-on-1 with Stuver before beating him near-post.
Austin went with a triple sub coming out of the break to switch out two defensive pieces and to bring in Tomas Pochettino. It was FCD getting on the board first, though, with Jader Obrian entering the scoring party in the 53rd minute after subbed-in center back Jhohan Romana inadvertently headed into his path for another Austin defensive miscue.
But the scoring was far from done, with Austin ensuring a tense final 30 minutes-plus. Sebastian Druissi helped Austin back into the match, providing a deft assist for an equally deft Diego Fagundez goal in the 59th minute. Nine minutes later, Alex Ring headed in a cross from halftime sub Hector Jimenez to spark still-singing Austin fans' thoughts of a comeback. Though that wasn't quite in the cards, U22 Initiative striker Moussa Djitte did make his debut in Verde, as Austin tried to kitchen-sink their way back into the match.
Ferreira nearly found a beyond-insurance goal during second-half stoppage time, yet hit the post to fall short of his hat-trick bid, adding to what was the highest combined xG total of the 2021 season (a jaw-dropping 6.26).
- THE BIG PICTURE: FC Dallas own this new Texas rivalry so far, and with the road win, get back into the playoff mix in what should be a wild final two months of the regular season. It was obviously an opportunity for Pepi and Ferreira to display what they might be able to do come playoff time, but Dallas also offered total team cohesion. To Austin’s credit, they didn’t fold when down 4-1 and then 5-1, but it’s obviously a match that shows the level of work that has to be done.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Pepi’s second goal showed his individual skill and was the third goal in four minutes that turned a 1-1 deadlock into a decisive Dallas win.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Though Pepi was excellent, Ferreira stayed in longer and save for a wicked post save, very nearly scored more.