FRISCO – For FC Dallas, the gang appears to be back together.
The trio of FCD’s most potent attackers – Maxi Urruti, Michael Barrios and Mauro Diaz – hadn’t started a game together since an Aug. 5 trip to Philadelphia before Saturday night. Reunited, though, they took their team to a 2-2 draw against the New York Red Bulls.
Diaz converted a PK in the 75th minute, which proved extra-special -- he hadn’t found the back of the net in nearly a year.
All of this added up to a similar result as Dallas' previous six matches, all either draws or losses. But Saturday’s result and offensive performance -- which saw them playing much of the match with 10 men -- can be seen as a positive trend at a critical time in the season, even if the team is still thirsting for the elusive win.
“We’re not in a good place,” Urruti via translator said of the team’s past month. “We’re not finding triumph, but we have to find the positives.
“We’re not getting wins and it hurts because we’re a team that is used to winning,” he added. “But we have to be strong. It doesn’t show in the points, but we demonstrated we are willing to fight.”
While Diaz’s goal was his first in 364 days, it can’t be argued how important it is for the trio of South Americans to be on the field together. Even with Diaz’s injury this season, and Barrios’ short stint of being a spark plug off the bench (four times in a month at the beginning of the season), the three are still the team’s top assist leaders. Barrios boasts 13, Urruti five and Diaz four. Barrios’ 13 is also good for second-most in MLS, behind only Toronto FC's Victor Vazquez and the New England Revolution's Lee Nguyen.
Scoring is slightly different, given Barrios’ tendency to set plays up this season rather than fire the ball at the net. (He currently has 48 shots, 15 on goal, two goals). But he still sits behind only Urruti on the team in total shots (85), and they hope to once again add the element of Diaz’s scoring.
“We know that to be at the top, we have to show our best,” Urruti said. “And it’s important to have Mauro Diaz, because he has great assists and he’s shown it in this league, which is important.”
Added Diaz on ending his drought, “I’m very happy. It’s always a boost of confidence when a player scores a goal. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to win, but if the team continues in this direction, we’ll get the results we need.”
While Diaz made a triumphant return to fill out FC Dallas’ star trio, the other two corners of the triangle nearly left for good. Urruti and Barrios were the center of a transfer to Argentine side San Lorenzo, with the club declining both offers and releasing a statement saying both players wanted to stay.
According to Dallas Spanish publication Al Dia, Urruti was displeased with the club’s action, stating himself he wanted to go be with the mother of his soon-to-be child, who is in Argentina and due in December.
But it appears the quick stir-up is behind Urruti, and he's instead focusing his energy on what FC Dallas sought at the beginning of the season.
“It was important that the team showed character and the effort, which shows that we’re all going after the same goal,” he said, "the MLS Cup."