Photo by USA Today Sports
By RYAN TOLMICH
After stumbling to back-to-back losses in recent weeks, Blas Perez and FC Dallas are back to their winning ways.
Perez’s pair of goals proved to be the difference Saturday as FC Dallas topped fellow playoff contenders Vancouver Whitecaps, 2-1, at Toyota Stadium.
Just 11 minutes after conceding the lead, Perez restored his side’s advantage, this time for good, with a finish off a set piece.
After earning a free kick in Whitecaps territory, FC Dallas midfielder Michel played a ball into the center of the box. Michel’s delivery was headed into the path of Perez by Tesho Akindele, and the Panamanian capitalized by sliding his shot past an out-of-position David Ousted for the game’s winning goal.
Perez’s winner was the forward’s second finish of the night, with his first tally being of the spectacular variety.
As the game entered its 21st minute, Perez found himself in possession near the corner flag with Whitecaps defender Christian Dean bearing down upon him. Perez looped the ball towards goal, catching Ousted off guard, as Perez’s effort soared over the Whitecaps goalkeeper and into the side of the net.
Perez’s opener was canceled out in the 67th minute by substitute Erik Hurtado, who had come in to the game just five minutes prior.
After an attempted headed clearance from defender Matt Hedges, Whitecaps midfielder Mauro Rosales led the charge towards goal, drawing the gaze of the FC Dallas defense. Rosales’ run created space for Hurtado, who finished Rosales’ pass first time to tie the game at one.
However, the deadlock would only last for eleven minutes before Perez’s finish gave his side the late lead and all three points.
With the victory, FC Dallas solidify their hold on fourth place by increasing their lead over the Whitecaps to eight points.
FC Dallas continue their stretch of games against the Western Conference’s top sides next week when they visit the LA Galaxy. Meanwhile, the Whitecaps face a clash with major playoff implications, as next week’s trip to Portland to take on the Timbers could go a long way to determine the postseason picture.