Game Grades: FC Dallas 2 NYRB 1

FRISCO, TX - MARCH 11: Ricardo Villar #11 of the FC Dallas is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal against the New York Red Bulls during the second half of a soccer game at FC Dallas Stadium on March 11, 2012 in Frisco, Texas. FC Dallas won 2-1. (Photo by Brandon Wade/Getty Images)

Please welcome Jason Helms, our third new addition to the writing team! Subsequent articles will be written under his own name, but as I get his account set up to post, I'm sending this one out for him.

by Jason Helms

Kevin Hartman - The reliable veteran did just about everything his team asked him to, which fortunately was not that much. His positioning was clinical, as always, but he did let one leak in that I think he was a little late reacting to. I almost feel like I am being a little harsh on El Gato, but I guess that is what he gets for setting the bar so high for himself during his career. Game Grade: 7

Zach Loyd - This guy was very close to logging a perfect 90 minutes. His defensive play was spot on, apart from a few unnecessary clearances toward the end of the match when FC Dallas desperately needed to maintain possession. His marking was phenomenal and he silenced one of the best servers in the league, Joel Lindpere. Loyd also scored, which is always great to get out of a defender. Game Grade: 9 (Man of the Match)

Ugo Ihemelu - In his first match as the squad’s captain, Ihemelu delivered an extremely solid performance. This was one of his best matches in a FCD kit. I did see flashes of the player that sometimes makes questionable decisions, which can get his team in trouble. Thankfully, he and his new partner worked very well together. I am looking forward to more of this from Captain Ugo. Game Grade: 8

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Hernan Pertuz - So far, Pertuz appears to be the real deal. Not only did he pounce on everything that Agudelo and Henry threw at him, but he also distributed the ball out of the back as well as any defender I’ve ever seen in the MLS. He could probably be at fault to some degree for Cooper’s goal, since he let the former FCD hero slip behind him, but a tired Benitez could also be blamed. Game Grade: 8

Jair Benitez - The controversial left back did not have his best match, Sunday. He defended decently, but he had well over a handful of unforced giveaways. He also picked up an unnecessary yellow card, which we all should be used to from him. He was by far the weakest link on Dallas’ otherwise strong back line, and although he is certainly capable, he was no real attacking threat. Game Grade: 5

Daniel Hernandez - I thought he did exactly what he needed to, given his task of shadowing one of the best soccer players to grace a pitch, in Thierry Henry. Like before, the consistent defensive midfielder popped up in the right place time after time. Although his number of touches was lower than usual, he successfully played his role and made virtually no mistakes. Game Grade: 7.5

Andrew Jacobson - A. J. not only played a near flawless performance, but it was fun watching him do it. Overall, he did a great job of reading the field. He held the ball when necessary, and played several well placed linking passes and dangerous balls, one of which led to the opening goal. Very positive stuff from this guy. I hope to see more this season. Game Grade: 8

Ricardo Villar I was going to say he had big shoes to fill, but I am sure David Ferreira’s boots are anything but big, so let me rephrase. Villar’s performance was just about as good as anyone could ask for in the absence of the 2010 MLS MVP. I want to give him a higher score, especially with his cheeky game-sealing goal, but I am refraining from a complete knee-jerk reaction. Game Grade: 8.5

Brek Shea - To me, it was obvious that Brek played this game with a lot of pressure on him to do well. I truly expected a lot more from him. I understand that he was forced to the right side after Fabian Castillo’s injury, but he had several chances to do quite a bit more than he did. I will say that he gave New York a lot to worry about, but he never sealed the deal like we have all seen he is capable of doing. Game Grade: 6.5

Fabian Castillo - I was excited to see Castillo unleash his pace and flair on New York’s back line going into this game. He certainly delivered just that a few times in his 31 minutes on the field. However, his decision making in the area was lacking. It seemed like he was just starting to warm up when he suffered the unfortunate knee knock. Hopefully, it does not keep him out of next week’s match, or longer, because he will certainly be needed. Game Grade: 5

Blas Perez - Super Raton was ‘as advertised’ and more. In his first MLS match, I was anxious to see how he would adapt. I am happy to say that he adapted fabulously. He gave the inexperienced Red Bull back line fits the entire match. Although he was on an island by himself as the lone striker, he constantly popped up in dangerous places, held the ball extremely well and unselfishly served up a pair of assists. No goal, but they will come. He’s a very heady player that should do well in the league. Game Grade: 8.5

Carlos Rodriguez - I think he showed a lot of promise of being a worthy member of this squad. He was always making himself useful, whether on attack or while defending. In a somewhat new role for him, he did very well. The only negative I found was his services, but for a guy with the potential that he appears to have, that can be fixed in a couple of training sessions. It was good to see him do well, because he will probably be needed this season. Game Grade: 7

Bobby Warshaw - He did not have much say in the outcome of the game with only 16 minutes, but he was decent during. He was for sure strong in the air a couple of times when he needed to be and did an adequate job of man marking toward the end. Game Grade: 6

George John - I am not so sure five minutes of play is even gradable, but he did add some much needed stability in a Dallas defense that was needing more out of their left back at the time (Benitez). He was typical George John, offering height and savvy defensive vision while trying to keep NYRB from equalizing. Game Grade: 6

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