By DAN KARELL
If Saturday night was a sign of what’s to come this season in Major League Soccer, fans should be ready for breathless end-to-end action.
At Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, the fans were treated to a goal-fest and got their money’s worth as FC Dallas took down the Montreal Impact, 3-2. Young Designated Player midfielder Mauro Diaz looked in control as a playmaker throughout the match and scored the game-winning goal on a beautiful free kick two minutes into the second half.
The win gave Oscar Pareja his first as head coach of FC Dallas. The Impact meanwhile were without star Marco Di Vaio, Andrea Romero, and Nelson Rivas for their suspensions incurred during and following their MLS Cup playoff ouster last season at the Houston Dynamo.
Though the home side secured the three points, the Impact were quickest to get on the board. After FC Dallas had to make goal-line stops on Impact defenders Eric Miller and Hassoun Camara inside three minutes, Impact midfielder Justin Mapp weaved inside and out of three FC Dallas defenders before crossing to the far post in the 10th minute. Sanna Nyassi met the ball and provided a sliding finish to give the Impact the lead.
FC Dallas quickly came back into the game as six minutes later they equalized through forward Fabian Castillo. Jair Benitez sent in a ball from the left that was controlled by Je-Vaughn Watson. The Jamaican international whiffed on a shot but his chip pass deflected off forward Blas Perez to Castillo, who finished one-on-one with Impact goalkeeper Troy Perkins.
In the 23rd minute, Diaz earned a controversial penalty kick for FC Dallas, with the Impact arguing that he should have been shown a yellow card for diving in the box. Perez stepped up and blasted the penalty kick into the roof of the net to give the home side the lead.
In the 47th minute, Impact midfielder Hernan Bernardello was whistled at the top of the box for a handball, allowing for a free kick from 23 yards out. Diaz took the free kick and perfectly sent it over the bar and under the wall to put FC Dallas up 3-1.
The Impact made things interesting in the 65th minute when midfielder Felipe Martins sent in a left-footed ball into the box that forward Andrew Wenger was able to run on to. With plenty of forward inertia and momentum, Wenger powered a header towards the far post that evaded FC Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz and made the score 3-2.
Seitz finished the match with six saves, starting in place of an injured Raul Fernandez.
Here are the game highlights: