FRISCO, Texas – All FC Dallas needed were a few minutes at the end of the first half against New York City FC – and a rare Olimpico goal – to keep pace in the MLS Supporters’ Shield race with a 2-1 win on Saturday night at Toyota Stadium.
Tesho Akindele’s missile at the 45-minute mark and then Michel’s perfectly curled-in corner kick goal in first-half stoppage time gave FCD a 2-0 lead that would stand up despite a late Patrick Mullins penalty kick that kept things interesting.
The win, FCD’s third straight, moves them to within one point of Shield and Western Conference-leading Vancouver Whitecaps with 47 points from 27 matches. The loss for NYCFC, meanwhile, is the latest blow to their waning playoff hopes, their third straight defeat which keeps them in ninth place in the East with 28 points from 28 games.
FC Dallas may have controlled large portions of the first half, but they needed to wait until just before the halftime whistle to find the back of the net.
Michel sent a high pass from the Dallas third to a streaking Akindele down the right flank. The 23-year-old year-old Canadian bested NYCFC defender Jason Hernandez in a one-on-one battle and blasted a shot from the right side of the penalty box to the top, left corner of the net to give FC Dallas a 1-0 lead.
Just before the referee whistled the close to the first half it was the turn of Michel, who was making his first appearance since a cameo on July 11 against Orlando, to curl a bending drive from a corner kick that slipped through the NYC defense and past goalkeeper Josh Saunders to put FC Dallas on top 2-0 heading into the break. That rare olimpico was his first goal of the season.
NYCFC cut into that lead in the 70th minute, however, after Dallas defender Atiba Harris fouled Ned Grabavoy by swinging his left arm near the midfielder’s face inside the penalty box. Mullins, who subbed into the game at halftime, drilled the PK to the right of goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez to trim the deficit to 2-1.
The visitors continued to pressure FC Dallas in an attempt to equalize, including on a series of set pieces and breakdowns of the Dallas backline. But they could not find a way to finish outside of the penalty kick attempt.
While FC Dallas were able to count on the always-threatening Fabian Castillo, who made his return from international duty with the Colombian national team, NYCFC's big names were relatively quiet and all three of the club's Designated Players were subbed off after the first half. David Villa was replaced at halftime and Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo came off in the 66th minute.
Both teams have less than a week to prepare for their next opponents. New York City play host to Toronto FC on Wednesday (7:30 pm ET on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, TSN, RDS2), while FC Dallas travel to Sporting Kansas City for a Friday night Western Conference showdown (7 pm ET, UniMas and UDN).