Diaz out, Rosales in: FC Dallas swap Mauros en route to "big win" over KC

FRISCO – Just like FC Dallas have seen time and time again, Mauro came through with a gorgeous free-kick goal.

Only this time, it was substitute Mauro Rosales – not the usual suspect, Mauro Diaz – who played the hero in Sunday's comeback win over Sporting Kansas City.

Diaz missed his fourth straight game for FC Dallas with a hamstring injury, prompting Dallas to field a 4-4-2 formation yet again. But after entering the 63rd minute with the match tied 1-1, Rosales replaced Tesho Akindele – who had scored in three straight games – and shifted the Dallas formation to 4-2-3-1.

Just minutes later, Rosales made his presence felt.

“He has the fire still – that’s why we brought him here,” head coach Oscar Pareja said. “The club trusts him and his willingness to keep pushing, and that’s the kind of player we like to have with this group. Mauro’s conviction and commitment showed today.

“When he came on the field today with the role that we gave him, to just put the pieces together and balance the team, I thought he did that. And it was a great job.”

Pareja said after last Saturday’s 2-2 draw against San Jose that Rosales brings a similar level of creativity that Diaz provides at the No. 10 position. A week ago, the veteran Argentine came into the game and sparked a wave of ferocious Dallas attacks to keep the Quakes on their heels.

On Sunday, after Maxi Urruti was taken down by Amadou Dia just outside the penalty box, Rosales stepped up to the ensuing free kick and buried it into the top left corner of the net, just like his teammate and countryman might've.

“He’s a creative player,” midfielder Kellyn Acosta said. “Both Mauros are, actually. He adds that dimension that we need. He has that final ball, and obviously you saw the goal. He adds that little spark that we need into the game and does a tremendous job off the bench.”

FC Dallas entered the contest as the Supporters’ Shield leaders, and this win puts a three-point cushion in between them their nearest pursuers, Real Salt Lake. Dallas now have 17 points through eight games, but up until this weekend, arguably only one of their wins – a 2-0 defeat of Montreal a month ago – was against a top contender in MLS.

“Three points against one of the best teams in the league for sure,” Pareja said of beating SKC.

With aspirations of winning the Shield – which eluded them only by a goal-differential tiebreaker with the New York Red Bulls last season – Pareja’s team felt it was important it was to seize all three points Sunday.

“It was a big win for us,” Acosta said. “It was a conference game. We’re fighting for the Supporters’ Shield – not only our conference, but we’re trying to be the best in both leagues. I think it was a good job and good goals by Mauro and Barrios. The only way to go is up – we’ve got to keep pushing and fighting.”