Carlos Vela Runs The Ball Back After Equalizing Against Dallas 190519 IMG

5 Takeaways | LAFC Rescues A Point In Dallas

Max Bretos said it best on the YouTube TV broadcast during the match:

"If you can get points from weird games, you're doing something right."

This was a weird one.

  • FC Dallas 1-1 LAFC
    • 29' FC Dallas - Ryan Hollingshead | WATCH
    • 80' LAFC - Carlos Vela (pk) | WATCH

You had two teams playing each other back-to-back in quick succession. Not to mention the change of start time just days before. There were penalties, fouls galore, a red card, and not a whole lot of free-flowing football out there. 

Yet, somehow, LAFC managed to fight back to earn a point and avoid defeat for the sixth match in a row. 

In the end, that might be all there is to take away from this one. But let's do some takeaways anyways, shall we?

Here are the takeaways from LAFC's 1-1 draw at FC Dallas:

A Bit Choppy

Lovers of great football everywhere, avert your eyes!

The first 45 minutes, especially, were difficult. Lots of fouls. Lots of stoppages. Not much interplay on both sides.

Could it be the quick turnaround? Quick possibly. It just seemed like these two were more intent on slugging it out and slogging through this one than really trying to put ideas together. And aesthetically, this match clearly hovered somewhere between surrealism and the fluidity of a Jackson Pollock.

Here's something to cleanse your palate though:

Outside of the boot and perfectly weighted from André Horta to Carlos Vela. That belongs in a museum. And the result was Matt Hedges picking up a red card for taking Vela out to deny a clear goalscoring opportunity.

Missing Atuesta

We've acknowledged the problem, now to diagnose it. 

LAFC was without Eduard Atuesta in the return match of this back-to-back series. As good as he was against FC Dallas in Thursday's 2-0 victory, he was sorely missed on Sunday.

There's a whole array of things Atuesta does for LAFC. But the biggest thing they missed in this match was that guy willing to get on the ball in tight spaces in the middle of the pitch and progress it forward. André Horta, Lee Nguyen, and Mark-Anthony Kaye did their best to share that responsibility but they just couldn't match what Atuesta's brought through 13 matches this season.

Had It Not Been For The Keeper

Jesse Gonzalez was unreal in net for FC Dallas. The Homegrown goalkeeper had not one, not two, but three huge saves on the night.

The first was the denial of Vela from a free kick early in the match. The LAFC captain beat the wall and nearly curled his shot into the top corner but Gonzalez got two hands on it to parry it away. 

Then Gonzalez foiled Vela once more. This time it was from the spot just before halftime.

But he saved his best for last.

That ball had "Goal of the Week" written all over it. Gonzalez stretches and gets just a piece of Diego Rossi's shot with his top hand, sending onto the crossbar. It happened so quick, it was difficult to tell if Gonzalez got a touch at all. But you can clearly see the shot change direction at the pivotal moment.

What a save.

The Chess Match

After Matt Hedges saw red for his challenge on Carlos Vela, Bob Bradley waited about five minutes to make his move.

Sending on Adama Diomande for Lee Nguyen, Bradley shifted Vela to the No. 10 role behind Diomande and tasked André Horta and Mark-Anthony Kaye with the rest of the midfield. 

Not to be outmaneuvered, FC Dallas head coach Luchi Gonzalez sent defender John Nelson immediately to the fourth official after seeing Bradley's move. The chess match had begun with Bradley going for it and Gonzalez looking to shore up his shorthanded backline.

Adding Christian Ramirez in the 76th minute in place of Horta, Bradley made it clear he was willing to gamble a bit with the extra man. That gamble paid off, as FC Dallas was forced deep to deal with the presence of two strikers up front for LAFC and Ramirez was involved in the play that led to LAFC's second penalty of the night. 

Totally Redeem Yourself

Hard to say Carlos Vela owes anyone anything after his performances so far this season. But he'd be the first to point out he missed a big opportunity when he failed to convert a penalty in the first half.

So what does he do when the opportunity arises once more? Totally redeem himself. 

Vela was just one out of three when he stepped up to take LAFC's second penalty of the night in Frisco. I have to admit, I wondered if someone else might step up to take the shot.

Taking a second penalty against the same goalkeeper in the same match is tough even if you've made the first one. Can't imagine what it's like after you've missed... and your team is down a goal as you place the ball. But that's why Vela is the captain. He doesn't shy from the big moments regardless of the situation.

That's now 14 goals in 14 matches for Vela - he's already matched his total from all of last season. The MVP frontrunner has scored in the last three matches and five of his last six. And LAFC is unbeaten over that span.

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