Blas Perez nets hat trick to bookend goals by Fabian Castillo and Mauro Diaz
CARY, North Carolina (Wednesday, July 9) – FC Dallas advanced to the semifinals of the 101st edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup via a 5-2 win over NASL side, Carolina RailHawks tonight at WakeMed Soccer Park.
Blas Perez netted three goals to lead FC Dallas, while Fabian Castillo had two assists and one goal of his own. FC Dallas will now host the Philadelphia Union in the tournament semifinals at Toyota Stadium on Tuesday, Aug. 12. That match is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. CT.
FC Dallas began tonight’s match by surrendering a goal in the ninth minute of play. The RailHawks’ strike came following some strong combination play through midfield from Carolina. Ty Shipalane unlocked the defense with a first-time chip pass into space for Enzo Martinez. The midfielder got the ball on the right flank, dribbled into the area, and knocked a lateral pass inside to Zack Schilawski, who finished to the near post to put the home team up, 1-0, early.
Dallas answered in the 23rd minute when Je-Vaughn Watson fed Tesho Akindele a ball down the right flank towards the corner flag. Akindele caught up to the ball and fired a cross to the back post, where Perez hammered a header past goalkeeper Scott Goodwin.
Perez netted his second of the game in the 34th minute when substitute Andrew Jacobson knocked a through ball forward to Watson. The Jamaican right back arrived second to the ball, but was able to touch it past the defender and into the area. Watson walked the ball to the end line before delivering a perfect pass into the path of Perez, who beat Goodwin low to his right side.
Carolina pulled even again in the 37th minute when Nazmi Albadawi slid a pass inside to Cesar Elizondo. Elizondo touched the ball inside and shot, but had his attempt blocked by a slide tackle from Moises Hernandez. Unfortunately for the visitors, Hernandez was whistled for a hand ball after blocking the shot and referee Ricardo Salazar pointed to the spot. Martinez converted the kick for the RailHawks, sending Raul Fernandez the wrong direction and crushing a shot into the opposite corner of the goal to make it 2-2 in the 37th minute.
Dallas pulled ahead, 3-2, just before halftime when Andres Escobar fed a ball inside to Castillo. The Colombian cut left after receiving the ball at the top of the area, went by a RailHawks’ defender and Goodwin before depositing a simple pass into the back of the net one minute before the halftime whistle.
FC Dallas head coach Oscar Perez used his third and final substitution in the 69th minute to bring on playmaker Mauro Diaz. The move nearly paid off immediately when Diaz and Castillo worked a 60-yard give and go that produced an open look for the Argentine from the top of the area. Diaz cracked a hard shot towards the far upper-90 but Goodwin came across his goal to make a solid diving save and keep the score, 3-2.
It took until the 89th minute but Diaz found the back of the net for FC Dallas when he collected the ball near midfield, ran at the RailHawks’ back line and sent the ball out wide to Castillo. The Colombian drew the attention of Goodwin before picking out Diaz at the back post. With Goodwin out to defend against Castillo, Diaz was able to slip a shot to the near post to make it 4-2.
Just before the final whistle, Perez recorded his third of the game. Castillo setup the Panamanian in the exact manner he provided the service to Diaz, seconds earlier. With plenty of time to stare down Goodwin, Perez finished off his hat trick with a low and hard shot to the far side netting.
FC Dallas Head coach Oscar Pareja
Overall thoughts on the game…
First I want to say that [Carolina] was very good and very hard to play against today. The organization Carolina showed today made things very difficult, especially in the second half. It was a very hard game to play but at the same time I thought our boys did an excellent job on controlling the tempo of the game.
In the first half we allowed two goals that won’t [allow] us sleep easily. We want to stay organized in the back and keep improving but at the same time we were aggressive up front, created a lot of chances and the plan going forward worked very well. In the second half, we corrected things and we were more solid. We dropped our pressure and let them come to us a little bit. Our boys did a great job covering a lot of ground in a game that was dependent on our transition and the transition in the second half. I have to recognize that the whole team did an excellent job in that plan.lier. With plenty of time to stare down Goodwin, Perez finished off his hat trick with a low and hard shot to the far side netting.
FC Dallas forward Blas Perez
On his goals tonight…
The first goal was a great ball from Tesho [Akindele]. The second one was Je-Vaughn [Watson], who sent me great service so I could finish. The third goal, I was a little bit tired. I had just come back to defend. I gave one last sprint and Fabian got me the ball and I got the third goal.
On the recent play of Fabian Castillo…
Fabian is having a great season both in Open Cup and in the league. I’m very happy for him because he’s gotten more mature and listens to everyone. Going forward Fabian is a fundamental piece of the team and if he’s good it’s going to make everyone else good around him.