SAN JOSE, Calif. -- When Maximillano Urruti’s goal-scoring drought in MLS play finally ended Friday night, there was only one way to celebrate: With a bear hug for FC Dallas coach Oscar Pareja.
After all, Pareja has kept unswerving faith in Urruti -- even as the former Portland striker went more than 1,000 minutes without finding the back of the net after opening his debut Dallas season with three goals in the first four matches.
That confidence paid off Friday with a stunning bicycle kick for the only goal in a 1-0 win against the San Jose Earthquakes in Avaya Stadium -- a place where Dallas had been shut out in their first two visits.
“He’s a very special person that gives me a lot of love, a lot of love to the team,” Urruti said of Pareja, through a translator. “Me, in particular, he gives me a lot of motivation. He always talks to me, makes me feel good, makes me start, keeps telling me that the goal is coming, not to worry about it. So I just wanted to celebrate that moment with him because he deserves it.”
Urruti, who last scored in league play on March 26, broke that streak with a flourish in the 51st minute. After Marvell Wynne’s lunging attempt to clear a low cross from Michael Barrios popped into the air, Urruti sized up his chances and delivered a right-footed overhead strike that beat scrambling Quakes keeper David Bingham at the near post.
Dallas is now 4-0 in MLS matches in which Urruti has scored this year, but Friday represented the Argentine’s first game-winner for his new club.
“Maxi’s goal, it means a lot,” Pareja said. “Not just for the team, but just for him, to come in and . . . give us the points. What I remark to Maxi all the time is the hard work that he puts in the field and the number of options that he creates and the team creates for him. We’re patient, and we know that he’s going to score many more goals.”
This goal ultimately led to a win that extended Dallas’ lead atop the Supporters’ Shield standings to four points and ended a 12-match unbeaten run (including last year) for the Quakes at Fortress Avaya.
“It’s a very difficult place to play,” Pareja said. “Just being solid in the back and getting these points for us is more than enough.”