The Argentine’s blazing start to his second season in Frisco continued with a brace in FCD’s 2-1 comeback win over the New England Revolution on Saturday. Urruti has scored three goals in the two MLS games he’s played in thus far – and when you count Wednesday’s CONCACAF Champions League win over Pachuca, he’s scored three times this week alone.
“I thought those two goals represent what he is for this group,” said FCD coach Oscar Pareja after his striker keyed Saturday’s victory. “Maxi bleeds for this team, and that’s an example for all of us. The more he runs and the more he works for the team, the game rewards him. The goals came because he’s working that much.
“I don’t have any doubt that we’re in front of one of the best forwards in Major League Soccer, and I hope people give him his credit because he’s doing a tremendous job.”
FCD trailed 1-0 via an early penalty kick from Dallas-area native Lee Nguyen and were outplayed for much of the evening. But Urruti – who has risen to the challenge presented by extra competition at his position in the form of Designated Player Cristian Colman's winter arrival – conjured up two strikes practically out of thin air in six second-half minutes, both created primarily by his relentless work rate.
“I’m very happy with both goals,” Urruti said afterwards. “This win was the most important, a difficult three points. But it wasn’t just me, it was also my teammates. I like that we are well adapted and we know what we want. We’re very united. It’s very important in order to get what you want. Being in this club and in this group, it’s evident that if you’re going to play you have to give it 100 percent and that was reflected today on the field.”
Consistent scoring production from their strikers has been one of Dallas’ few weaknesses over the last few seasons. They’ve seen flashes of production from Urruti, Blas Perez, Tesho Akindele, Carlos Ruiz and now Colman, just to name a few – but never a consistent goal-scoring threat game in and game out.
FCD think that may be changing.
“He’s not afraid to shoot. Tonight was huge,” said goalkeeper Chris Seitz of Urruti. “We needed someone to step up in the second half, and he obviously took us on his shoulders and had two great goals. The second one especially was a tough angle, but at the same time the ‘keeper’s probably thinking he’s playing the cross or doing something else. So credit to him for putting us on his back.”
New England head coach Jay Heaps called Urruti “one of the hardest-working forwards in the league,” and it was Urruti’s defense that set him up for a brace, picking the pocket of Benjamin Angoua just outside the Revs’ penalty box before firing a laser from a nearly impossible angle.
His first goal, too, was a product of staying with the play after Revs’ keeper Cody Cropper raced off his line to block a Michael Barrios attempt, allowing Urruti to follow up with a coolly-taken finish.
According to defender Walker Zimmerman, that is what separates Urruti from the rest of the pack.
“He might not be the leading goalscorer every year in MLS, but what he does for our team is irreplaceable,” Zimmerman said. “His work ethic up top and his ability to defend as a forward is what makes him special. He may not come out with 20 goals a season, but he’s going to create opportunities through his defense and then get his goals as well.”
Urruti is pleased with his bright start and believes FCD can achieve great things in 2017.
“To start this season scoring is very important for a forward,” he said. “We’re also fighting in the CONCACAF semifinals and we know we’re doing a great job. Personally, I’m very happy with both goals and with the hard work paying off. If we keep heading in the right direction, this club can make history and it’s important that this team knows that. Between the coaches and all the guys, we’ll continue to push and remind each other of what we want.”