Oscar Pareja happy to see FC Dallas' "intelligent" performance rewarded

WASHINGTON – No Jesse Gonzalez. No Kellyn Acosta. No Maynor Figueroa. No problem.

Much of the talk leading up to FC Dallas’ Saturday evening tilt with D.C. United centered not around the players Dallas would field, but rather those that the Western Conference club would be missing. Of the six teams that would play through the international break this weekend, Dallas bore the heaviest burden after watching seven of their players depart for national team duty.

It did not matter. Despite missing a trio of potential starters and several bench contributors, FC Dallas’ attacking core made short work of United. They scored twice in the first half en route to a 3-0 drubbing of D.C. at RFK Stadium.

“Obviously I was very pleased and happy to get a result away,” said Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja. “To get another clean sheet and get the boys working the way they did it today, I was very pleased. I think the game rewarded them with the three points and three goals [for] such a solid performance. We were very intelligent tactically, especially."

Dallas were no doubt missing several regulars, but their attacking core of Fabian Castillo, Mauro Diaz, and Michael Barrios remained intact. The three combined well throughout the match, and Barrios, in particular, was stellar. 

The Colombian midfielder scored a pair of goals while continually making life difficult for a United back line missing US national team center back Steve Birnbaum. On a quick break late in the second half, Barrios also managed to draw a red card when brought down by United midfielder Marcelo Sarvas.

“Mikey is putting himself in a great spot in the last three games,” said Pareja. “He has had some options and has always been working hard. I’m not surprised to see how the game rewarded him today and gave him those two opportunities.”

Defensively, Dallas were missing the services of Honduran fullback Figueroa. That gap was filled by homegrown product Aaron Guillen, who looked steady in his first action of 2016.

“Aaron did excellent today,” said Pareja. “He looks very mature there, looks like he had a ton of games already. I have to praise the way he played tactically today. He showed a lot of character and personality and that makes us keep feeling like we’re going in a good direction for the program.”