FC Dallas' Roland Lamah honors friend Cheick Tiote's memory with message

FRISCO, Texas -- FC Dallas' Roland Lamah came into Saturday night's match against Toronto FC with some extra motivation.

The Ivory Coast-born attacker had an undershirt with a message honoring Cheick Tiote, a countryman and former teammate who passed away while training in China on June 5.

Lamah was able to reveal that message thanks to his fifth-minute opener, which was the first of his two goals against Toronto on the night as Dallas took all three points against the former Supporters' Shield-leaders in a 3-1 victory.

“[He] was my good friend,” Lamah said postgame. “I said I want to play for him. I dedicated the first goal and the second goal. In every game, I’m going to play for him.”

Lamah and Tiote first met as teammates with Anderlecht in Belgium in 2005. They both went on loan to Roda JC in the Netherlands in 2007 and remained friends after they went to different clubs.

Lamah wasn’t content with only the one goal, allowing him to reveal the message to his fallen friend. He added a second goal in the 21st minute, racing up the right flank after receiving a perfect throughball from Mauro Diaz. After blowing past Toronto’s Chris Mavinga, Lamah put Dallas ahead 2-0 with a left-footed shot to the far post, a second goal to honor Tiote’s memory.

“We’ve always been together. It’s a little difficult [to talk about it],” Lamah said. “He’s always in my heart. When he played, he was a good, good, good player. He always played strong. He never gave up. I’m going to try to never give up every game.”

Lamah’s brace, which gives him six goals on the season, harkened many back to his first-half hat trick on June 3 against Real Salt Lake, a game Dallas won 6-2.

“Yeah, Rolie is one of the players on this team who gets in the box easier and somehow he finds good spots to get in front of the ball,” Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja, who is now 11-1-2 in July over his career, said. “He’s realizing how good he can be for us if he can keep those spots in the box. I’m happy to see Rolie adapting to the league. I’m happy to see him just getting in his spot.”