FRISCO, TX - MARCH 19: Fans and Eric Avila #12 of FC Dallas congratulate Milton Rodriguez #7 after he scored against the Chicago Fire in the first half to tie the game 1-1 at Pizza Hut Park on March 19, 2011 in Frisco, Texas. (Photo by Brandon Wade/Getty Images)
Well it wasn't the worst start to a new season but then again it wasn't the best start. FC Dallas let up a goal midway through the first half when Diego Chaves got on the end of a weird Marco Pappa free kick for the Chicago Fire. Dallas responded well and quickly as Milton Rodriguez scored a cheeky back heel goal off an Zach Loyd pass to tie the game up.
Things got fairly chippy after that. For one the man in the middle was none other than Terry Vaughn and it was a rivalry match against the Fire. Card after card was given out and the worst ended up going against Dallas as Brek Shea was sent off after a tug that stopped a potential breakaway chance for Chicago.
The card changed things for both sides as it finally gave the Fire a chance to attack again as Dallas was getting the bulk of chances. But even a man down the home side still pushed on and managed to get a couple chances on Sean Johnson's goal.
But in the end it was a draw. The club did well being a man down and showed up pretty well in front of a sellout crowd of 20,145 at Pizza Hut Park.
Shea in the back. I still like this move but he showed he's got a little maturing to do before this becomes a real thing. Schellas Hyndman wasn't thrilled with the red card but who can blame him, no one in the stands were happy with it. The club really missed his pressure on the wings tonight.
Alexander showed well. I really was impressed with Eric Alexander in the middle of the park tonight. He linked up nicely with David Ferreira, did well to win balls, didn't provide Chicago any easy turnovers. That being said after the game I spoke with Hyndman and he said there is still some work to be done on Alexander's part to be really good in this role. He said Eric disappeared too often in the game to really make an impact.
Vaughn was himself in the middle. I try not to go into the officiating but man, Terry Vaughn was his usual bad self. Even talking with the Fire writers, they agreed that Vaughn put his stamp on the game. Just look at the number of fouls and cards given out in this game. Maybe one day MLS will have decent refs.
Ferreria was a non-factor for the most part. Chicago keyed in on Ferreira from the start and it paid off in the end. Even though Dallas got plenty of chances because of Ferreira it seemed his free kicks tonight were off a bit. It's one game though and he'll definitely bounce back down the road.
Hartman was a beast. Talking to him after the game he was even surprised at the breakaway goal that he stopped. Sometimes that is just how the game works he said. Chicago had numbers and he proved to be his usual badass self in goal.
Crowd was impressive. A sellout crowd was great to see. I loved the March to the Match, really impressed with the club's idea to take what Seattle does and do it a little differently but in their own way. The scarfing of the Lamar Hunt statue is a great touch too, something I really hope sticks. It will be interesting to see how long these big crowds keep up. Selling out the season opener was a good sign for the club.
Chicago manager Carlos de los Cobos on the draw:
Schellas Hyndman on the draw:
Hyndman on the Brek Shea red card.
CHI -- Diego Chaves 1 17
DAL -- Milton Rodriguez 1 (Zach Loyd 1) 19
Chicago Fire -- Sean Johnson, Bratislav Ristic (Patrick Nyarko 42), Jalil Anibaba, Josip Mikulic, Cory Gibbs, Logan Pause, Marco Pappa, Gonzalo Segares, Michael Videira (Baggio Husidic 62), Gaston Puerari, Diego Chaves (Orr Barouch 75).
Substitutes Not Used: Dan Paladini, Davis Paul, Dasan Robinson, Jon Conway.
TOTAL SHOTS: 10 (Diego Chaves 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (6 tied with 1); FOULS: 18 (Marco Pappa 4); OFFSIDES: 1 (Orr Barouch 1); CORNER KICKS: 5 (Gaston Puerari 3); SAVES: 2 (Sean Johnson 2)
FC Dallas -- Kevin Hartman, Jackson Goncalves, George John, Brek Shea, Zach Loyd, Marvin Chavez, Eric Alexander (Andrew Jacobson 72), Daniel Hernandez, Eric Avila (Ugo Ihemelu 62), David Ferreira, Milton Rodriguez (Ruben Luna 65).
Substitutes Not Used: Bruno Guarda, Ricardo Villar, Bobby Warshaw, Chris Seitz.
TOTAL SHOTS: 16 (David Ferreira 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (3 tied with 1); FOULS: 11 (Daniel Hernandez 2); OFFSIDES: 1 (Milton Rodriguez 1); CORNER KICKS: 5 (David Ferreira 5); SAVES: 5 (Kevin Hartman 5)
CHI -- Cory Gibbs (caution; Tactical Foul) 30
DAL -- Jackson Goncalves (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 35
DAL -- Daniel Hernandez (caution; Reckless Tackle) 36
DAL -- Brek Shea (ejection; Denied Goal Scoring Opportunity (Foul)) 55
CHI -- Michael Videira (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 59
CHI -- Josip Mikulic (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 71
CHI -- Gonzalo Segares (caution; Reckless Tackle) 78
Referee: Terry Vaughn
Referee's Assistants: George Gansner; Adam Wienckowski
4th Official: Elias Bazakos
Time of Game: 1:54
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-81-degrees