FRISCO, Texas—Michael Barrios may only be 5-foot-2, but his presence on the field for FC Dallas has been enormous. The Colombian winger was often overshadowed by erstwhile playmaker Mauro Diaz, even through a 2017 that saw Barrios finish with 14 assists -- just one short of Jason Kreis' club record.
The 2018 season initially hadn't been kind to Barrios, who recorded no goals and only one assist through the first 20 games. And with game No. 21 at Children's Mercy Park, where Dallas hadn't recorded a win in their previous 10 attempts, the unexpected outcome was a Barrios hat trick providing FCD with its first win at Kansas City since 2011.
Barrios has tallied a goal or assist in each of the six games to follow, including Saturday's 4-2 Texas Derby victory over the Houston Dynamo, claiming El Capitan outright. In the 10th minute, the winger raced on to a Maxi Urruti through ball and lifted a shot over the head of Dynamo keeper Joe Willis for the opening goal of Saturday's 4-2 victory over the Houston Dynamo.
"It wasn't a good start to the season," said Barrios. "I'm very thankful to be able to contribute, and now finally score goals and provide assists. I just need to continue working hard to continue that."
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"I've worked the same," said Barrios. "I don't think there were any adjustments as much as hard work and perseverance to get here."
There was another Colombian winger who is putting something of a run of form together as Dallas reclaimed El Capitan, the 18th-century howitzer the teams contest in the Texas Derby. Santiago Mosquera returned from a hamstring injury with a goal in the team's 4-3 midweek loss to San Jose, and added a brace in the derby win.
"I came back from an injury and God is big and I’m here new as new," said Mosquera. "The important thing is that the team got an important victory, so that we can keep fighting on top which is where we want to be."
His first goal came from a calamitous moment between Willis and Andrew Wenger. The two collided on the edge of the Dynamo area, Willis dropped the ball at Mosquera's feet with an empty net for the taking. Three minutes later, Mosquera put a slightly tougher shot away as he clipped the post past an outstretched Willis from outside the area.
"Sometimes with Santi, he has all these [abilities] to provide to the team and within the game and we’re trying to capture that so he can use it well," said FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja. "Then the injuries, obviously break his consistency in the field. It’s not easy. But I’m delighted to see him tonight with such energy and working hard for his teammates.