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How They Scored: Mauro Rosales draws defenders and a heap of mistakes on Fabian Castillo's equalizer

The good and bad of teamwork on display.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Goal 1: Marky Delgado Finishes Rosales' Cross (Assist: Mauro Rosales, Martin Rivero) - 60th minute, 1-0 CUSA

As the ball is being passed around on the now-crowded left flank, Mauro Rosales reminds everyone it's the perfect time for a switch. Martin Rivero responds to his fellow Argentine's request and sends over an accurate switch, which Rosales controls with a soft touch. The pass and the touch were so perfectly fluid that it not only leads Rosales towards goal, but it enables him to get behind Michel.

At this point two things happen. First, Delgado is hanging around at the top of the box and being mobile. His stutter steps towards the near and far post keeps Hedges guessing and honest. Second, once Rosales gains control instead of sending in an immediate cross, he cuts inside and causes Hedges to move away from Delgado just an inch. Hedges now must decide whether to challenge the shot or stay back and mark Delgado (no pun intended). This no-man's-land positioning allows Rosales the space to find Marky open for goal.

Via SBNation's Big D Soccer - "I hesitated when [Mauro Rosales] was dribbling towards goal. I was deciding whether to go or stay and once I took a step towards the ball, he played it to [Marco Delgado]. He knew I was about to commit. I tried to make a challenge on the ball, tried to step out but he played a nice ball." - Matt Hedges

Who's to praise? Rivero laid out the nice switch, but it's Rosales' bait dribbling that's the foundation for this goal. Great movement in the box and finish by Marky.

Goal 2: Fabian Castillo Converts from Close Range (Assist: Jair Benitez) -  83rd minute, 1-1 Tie

By now, everyone knows that FCD thrives off of set pieces, so when two of them unofficially happen in succession, there's a good chance Dallas will take advantage.

The play starts with a Colorado corner. Jair Benitez sends the ball towards the near post but Carlos Alvarez is there to head the ball out of trouble...or so he thinks. The poor clearance allows an unmarked Benitez to regain possession for another look from the corner and the defense now has only a split-second to reorganize. Benitez proceeds to send over a low cross into the box, a ball that Matt Hedges dummies, and the ball falls conveniently over to Fabian Castillo to tap in for the equalizer.

Who's to blame? Three points:

  1. If you're asking how the corner was given in the first place, the answer lies in a costly turnover. Prior to the corner, FCD is pressing and Carlos Bocanegra clears the ball out to Alvarez, who struggles to control the ball before an on-coming Zach Loyd forces him into a mistake. Alvarez's intended pass out wide is promptly intercepted and Bocanegra kills the counter by sending it out for a corner.
  2. On the initial corner, Mauro Rosales runs up to mark Castillo but once the ball is cleared back out to Benitez, Rosales moves towards the ball to press. In fact, after the ball was cleared out, notice the FCD players rush back in towards goal while a handful of CUSA players pop out. Donny Toia and Bocanegra rush back in to help, but its too late.
  3. Castillo made his way in front of Bobby Burling, who in the chaos of regrouping after the initial cross, was left to mark BOTH Castillo and JeVaughn Watson.

It was a case of poor clearances, marking, awareness, and communication that led to this equalizer. It's these types of complete mental breakdowns that explain the difficulty CUSA has in holding on to late leads. CUSA bunkered down, felt the continuous desperate attempts by FCD to equalize, and succumbed to the pressure.

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