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FC Dallas Rolls On, Beats Chivas USA 1-0

Posted on 22 August 2010 by pwoodruff

After winning the last 2 games 3-1 over the worst 2 teams in the league, I predicted another 3-1 win before kickoff since Dallas was playing the worst team in the Western Conference. Well, I got the score wrong but Brek Shea’s header goal in the 71st minute gave FC Dallas a 1-0 victory over Chivas USA Saturday night in front of a disappointing crowd of 10,309 at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, TX. The win extended FCD’s unbeaten streak to 11 games during which it has outscored opponents 18-7 and won seven times. Chivas USA on the other hand, remained last in the West with their slim playoff hopes sliding further out of reach.

FC Dallas now stands at 9-2-9 and sits just 3 points behind Real Salt Lake for second in the West with a game in hand. As tough as it is to believe in some ways, FCD has not lost in over 3 months. The last such negative result happened at home way back on May 20 to an LA Galaxy side without US Men’s National Teamers Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle. Dallas hits the 2/3 mark with a 6-1-3 home mark and having gotten 24 points in this 10 game block. In the first 10 games, FCD only had 12 points and after the game, Coach Schellas Hyndman commented that the team’s goal for games 11-20 was to get 20 points to put them in a nice position to qualify for the 2010 MLS Playoffs. Well, mission accomplished.

This game certainly was not one for the archives. Except for a couple of saves by FCD’s keeper Kevin Hartman and the equally impressive on this night Chivas USA keeper Zach Thornton, there probably will not be too many highlights shown other than Shea’s beautiful header off an equally deft cross from FCD left back Jair Benitez. And the lowlight moment in the 79th minute when a minor dustup occurred with an elbow or two thrown and some pushing but only a couple of yellows shown. But I am sure MLS higher ups will review the tapes to see if any additional penalties and/or fines need to be handed out.

Chivas USA are now 5-11-4 overall, winless in their last three matches, and have now won just twice in 11 matches away from sunny California and the Home Depot Center this season. Barring a phenomenal run that I do not think they have in them after watching them yet again, Chivas’ season is about done. Chivas next opponent is equally as bad DC United in Los Angeles so for that game I will predict a draw. FC Dallas, on the other hand, is talking possible Supporters Shield and expecting to make a deep, deep run in the MLS Playoffs.

We know FCD started the year slow at 2-2-6 with 11 goals scored and 11 goals allowed and here’s why I say Kevin Hartman is the teams MVP. Since he started game 5, he is 9-1-6 with 6 shutouts now. FCD midfielder David Ferreira has been good no doubt, especially since game 9, but if Dario Sala had been keeper this year I believe FCD would be hoping to get the last playoff spot, not talking about topping the table. And don’t forget, I am a HUGE Dario Sala fan and I really feel like the last three years or so he has clearly been a better keeper than Hartman. Remember 6-0 in favor of FCD last year against Kansas City with you know who at keeper? But this year is a completely different story. For whatever reason, Hartman has solidified the back line and had a season for the ages. Comeback Player of the Year should be his although I am sure some sentiment for San Jose’s Bobby Convey will be out there. Da-veed in the first 9 games had 0 goals and 3 assists. Is that MVP production? Sure, I know he has 6 goals and now 5 assists in the last 11 games which is MVP worthy. But do you think Sala would have stopped all the shots Hartman has this year? And if those shots are not stopped then the wins become draws and the draws become losses and no one is talking about any MVP candidates. MLS Starting XI for Ferreira? If he keeps doing what he is doing, yes, easily. But let’s don’t get stuck in what other people are saying. Granted it is hard to measure someone’s worth to a team. Is it pure stats and being on a winning team? Is it valuable in the sense of what you bring to your team and how you can’t be replaced, even if your team is not good? But I digress, all of this can be saved for a rainy day as we have other things to worry about.

If you are FCD, that includes your upcoming visit to Eastern Conference leaders Columbus Crew. This game will show me just how much of a bad boy FCD really is. They will be playing one of the Big 3 and if FCD gets a point or all three points, then I will be convinced it is a Big 4 we are talking about in MLS 2010.

After the game, FC Dallas Coach Schellas Hyndman had these comments. On the ugly win, “It wasn’t one of our better games but it’s still three points. It was a very difficult game for both teams.” On the 102 degree temperature at kickoff, he said, “It was like putting your head in an oven. It was pretty hot. The heat affected all of us, even the guys on the bench.”

And FCD veteran keeper Kevin Hartman had these comments on the team’s never say die ways, “I think the most important thing for us is that we now find a way to get that winning goal. From the beginning of the season, we showed that we have the character that it’s tough to beat us, and now we’re able to persevere through that and get the winning goal.”

Game Grades:

Hartman 9 – what more can be said?
Pearce 6 – seemed off all night actually
John 8 – this dude can play
Loyd 8 – Ugo who?
Benitez 7 – finally another quality cross results in his second assist of the year
Hernandez 8 – first into the little mini scuffle a little 10 minutes from time
Alexander 6 – played more like a rookie this game
Shea 8 – for the header alone
Harris 7 – not sure why I am giving him this, maybe ‘cause they won
Ferreira 8 – did start the game winning play
Rodriguez 5 – is this guy going to take 15 games to settle like Da-veed last year?

Substitutes:

Cunningham 7 – was dangerous and again they did Not score until he entered the game
Avila 6 – had a spurt or two, not much else
Jackson 6 – not much time and from now on I am putting him as Goncalves

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FC Dallas draws with Colorado, 1-1

Posted on 01 August 2010 by pwoodruff

FC Dallas went up a Mile High to play a MLS regular season game and came down with a point. The boys from north Texas remained unbeaten for the eighth straight game, leaving Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, CO with a 1-1 tie versus the Colorado Rapids Saturday afternoon. The eight straight results are 4 wins and 4 draws. Dallas maintained its three point lead over Colorado for third place in the Western Conference. The draw extended the Rapids recent run of not so good form as they are now winless in seven straight with 5 of those being draws and 2 losses. On the road for the year, FCD is now a very nice 2-1-6, while Colorado’s home record moves to 3-1-4.

FCD started the game without one of their playmakers, Dax McCarty, but the Rapids weren’t feeling sorry for them as they were playing without leading scorer Conor Casey who had 7 of the teams 18 goals entering the game. The 18 goals were tied for worst in the West with Chivas USA. I am not sure why a big deal was made about the Rapids having scored only 18 goals in the first 16 games as FCD has only scored 20 in the first 16 games coming into this tilt. I know 6 of Colorado’s were penalty kicks but 5 for Dallas’ were penalty kicks too. I don’t care if the team I play gives me 9 own goals each game. I will take it every single game until the final whistle blows at MLS Cup in Toronto in November.

FCD scored first but had some help. Dallas defender Jair Benitez swung a ball towards goal intended for FCD midfielder Atiba Harris that Colorado defender Julien Baudet tried to clear but ended up with an own goal in the 22nd minute. FCD midfielder David Ferreira started the play with a nice ball that caught Colorado defender Marvell Wynne a little bit asleep it seemed. But, just 3 minutes later the Rapids were back in the game as Atiba Harris was called for a handball in the box. Not sure why but for some reason when Harris jumped up to send the corner kick away form danger he got his left hand way over his head and made obvious contact. It had to be the easiest decision the referee had all day. Colorado midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy stepped up in minute 26 and scored the tying goal on the ensuing penalty kick beating FCD keeper Kevin Hartman who guessed that Ballouchy was going to Hartman’s left but he went the wrong way.

FC Dallas’ team MVP in my eyes Kevin Hartman kept them in the game when he denied Colorado a go-ahead goal in the 43rd minute, swatting away a free kick by that appeared destined for the upper corner.

The second half saw no goals scored but a few good chances. Ferreira had a nice shot blocked away by Colorado keeper Matt Pickens in the 62nd minute and second half FCD substitute forward Jeff Cunningham had a shot just outside the crease blocked in the 82nd minute. Hartman stopped Colorado’s best second half chance in minute 78 when Colorado midfielder Colin Clark found Colorado defender and ex-FC Dallas fan favorite Drew Moor who headed the ball from close range but the FCD keeper managed to tip the ball over the crossbar.

The result now leaves FC Dallas with a 6-2-9 overall record, good for 27 points in 17 games which is just a little ahead of my projected playoff formula of needing 1.5 points on average for every game played to ensure a spot in the 2010 MLS Playoffs. The draw leaves Colorado at 6-5-6 and 24 points in 17 games, just below where they need to be. And the stat of the day goes to the announcers who informed us that Colorado, when giving up the first goal, is now 0-48-17. Yikes.

Game Grades:

Hartman – 8 team MVP in my eyes
Benitez – 5 I got a bad feeling he is the most likely on the team to get a bad red card come playoff time, continuing a FCD tradition
Ihemelu – 7 better than the last couple of games for him
John – 8 was very good again today
Pearce – 7 no real dangerous crosses today
Hernandez – 7 helped the rookie out and played his usual game
Alexander – 6 kept things simple and didn’t do bad at all out there
Shea 6 – most of this score was earned in the first 45
Harris – 5 not sure what he was thinking on handball and Coach must have agreed as he was pulled early in second half
Ferreira – 7 not his best game but possessed the ball pretty well
Rodriguez – 6 no real impact today

Substitutes:
Chavez – 3 got a yellow card but I otherwise almost forgot he came on
Cunningham – 6 actually looked a little dangerous for first time in awhile
Guarda – 4 I may stay at a Holiday Inn sometimes but he went to SMU (I really don’t know what this means I am just going for a laugh here)

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