TORONTO - JULY 24: Milton Rodriguez #7 of FC Dallas celebrates late 2nd half goal against Toronto FC at BMO Field during a MLS game July 24 2010 in Toronto Ontario Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
FCD defeated USL Pro side Orlando City SC 1-0 this evening to advance to the final of the Walt Disney Pro Soccer Classic where they will face Houston Dynamo, 3-2 winners over Toronto FC, for the second time in three weeks.
Dallas struggled building up their play on offense with Orlando's high pressure defense but found lots of joy on the counter attack. Chavez and Shea were again the focal points of the FCD attack with Ferreira being double teamed and fouled out of the game.
Dallas broke through in the 30th minute off a Ferreira corner played to the far post. Brek Shea smartly headed across goal from a tough angle to find Milton Rodriguez who simply tapped the ball home to give Dallas a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
Kevin Hartman was tested perhaps as much as we've seen in the pre-season since the Dynamo game, making one spectacular save off an Orlando free kick and commanding his box well the entire evening.
In the second half, Orlando pushed forward leaving Dallas open to catch them on the counter. On one such counter, Ruben Luna, a second half substitute, would hit the crossbar while Eric Alexander had his shot saved off the line late in the game. Dallas would hold on to their 1-0 lead though to book their place in the final on Saturday evening at 7PM.
Keep reading for game observations
The defense is really starting to come together. Schellas Hyndman said he was more worried about the attack than the defense after the 4-0 loss to Houston and he's been proved right. Allowing just 1 goal in their 3 games in Orlando so far, the Dallas D has been strong and it was again tonight. Jair Benitez and Jackson in particular were fantastic tonight showing the athleticism that makes them arguably the best outside tandem in the league.
Scott Gordon started with the 1st team tonight. I'm not sure how much we can read into this in the fight between him and Pradie for, presumably, the final developmental spot, but Gordon started and played fairly well. We talked in the game thread about how Gordon hasn't really done anything at all so far to show himself good or bad, but maybe that's a positive. I'm starting to lean towards him making this roster due to his outstanding athletic abilities.
You can't judge the attack by the first 3 weeks of pre-season. Yes it is worrying that the Dallas attack hasn't quite got on the same page yet, but generally that is the last thing to come in pre-season. If Dallas gets shutout in the March 12 pre-season finale against Chivas USA I'll be worried, but until then you just have to trust in the guys we know can do their jobs(Chavez, Ferreira, Shea and Milton).
Brek Shea moved to center back in the second half. This could be the most interesting part of this relative snoozer of a game. In the second half, Andrew Jacobson was subbed into midfield and Brek Shea moved to center back for the first time in a while. Shea looked very solid back there and you've got to think his long term future is in the back.
I'm sure he hates it as he made a few runs forward but he looks like Brede Hangeland back there with his size and leaping ability. There's just so much raw talent there for Shea to be a top level center back. I guess time will tell but for now he will stay in attack unless the injury bug hits again.
Maykel Galindo showing well again. He hasn't gotten that elusive goal yet, but Galindo worked very hard in his 20 minutes or so up top and I'm beginning to think his spot on the roster is fairly secure. He may be one of the first ones waived in the middle of the season if anyone is signed, but I'd like to see this guy stick around. He's shown enough to be given a chance through the season in my opinion.
FCD vs Houston again. Wow just two weeks removed from the massacre/spitgate down in Corpus Christi, Dallas and Houston will face off again, this time with FCD having more than just a handful of training sessions together. To be honest, I just hope no one gets hurt...Dallas had better come out of the locker room more ready to play this time. I'm excited, the season is just around the corner. It's great to be able to watch these games, huge ups to ESPN and FCD for getting these broadcast...just cut out that terrible Jason Saghini.
FC Dallas: Kevin Hartman – Jair Benitez, Zach Loyd (46’ Andrew Jacobson), Scott Gordon, Jackson Goncalves – Brek Shea, Eric Alexander (83’ Eric Avila), Daniel Hernandez, Marvin Chávez (87’ Bobby Warshaw) – David Ferreira (85’ Bruno Guarda) – Milton Rodríguez (46’ Ruben Luna, 74’ Maykel Galindo)
For those of you that haven't seen the match, it is available on replay at www.espn3.com. For those who were able to watch it, let us know what you thought and saw from the match.