Game Grades: FC Dallas 1 Portland Timbers 1

FRISCO, TX - OCTOBER 15: Goal keeper Kevin Hartman #1 of the FC Dallas looks for a open teammate to kick the ball to during the second half of a soccer game against Vancouver FC at Pizza Hut Park on October 15, 2011 in Frisco, Texas. FC Dallas won 2-0. (Photo by Brandon Wade/Getty Images)

By Jason Helms

Kevin Hartman - I know I am probably far from what many of you think on this one, but I am going to start being a little harder on Hartman now that I feel confident that this team is close to where it needs to be defensively. He did not have to do a lot in this one, with the post having almost as many saves as he did. Also, his poor clearance was just as much to blame for Portland’s goal than anything else. Game Grade: 5.5

Zach Loyd - Another solid performance from him, especially having to play with a couple of new partners on the right side, in Bryan Leyva and Jair Benitez. Defensively, the right back played well, always challenging, but I will say he had his hands full with Eric Alexander. Loyd also had a few good runs down his touch line in the match, mostly in the first half, that helped FCD force the issue offensively, but none of them really led to anything. Game Grade: 7

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Ugo Ihemelu - The captain’s performance was good enough to deserve a clean sheet. As we should all know, Kris Boyd is a tough customer, and Ihemelu silenced him in this one. He was strong in the air and had a handful of important tackles. However, he lost possession more than he should have, with several errant passes and dispossessions. Game Grade: 7

George John - I was hoping George was going to lock things down when he came on in the awkward time of the match that he did, but he just did not, to the effect that I wanted at least. After watching him closely, he seemed to drift too wide on occasion leaving Ihemelu all by himself. He did win a lot of headers, but to only play 45+ minutes, he still managed to get outworked by Ihemelu. Game Grade: 6.5

Hernan Pertuz - The new defender logged another good 90 minutes, with few mistakes. The Columbian was marking well and supplying silky smooth passes out of the back like he did against NYRB before being pushed out wide when John came on. However, he looked a little out of place at left back, probably because he was as unprepared for the surprise move as I was. Game Grade: 7

Jair Benitez - He was another victim of Hyndman’s decision, and to me, he did a decent job after being transplanted to right mid. Benitez was having a well above average game at left back, defending well, getting forward and serving up a few decent balls in the area. But, like Pertuz, he just never looked comfortable after the move, despite some cross attempts. I would have liked to have seen Andrew Wiedeman replace him toward the end, but who really knows how that would have turned out. Game Grade: 6.5

Daniel Hernandez - The ex-captain had a fairly good outing apart from the sloppy touch on Hartman’s nasty clearance that led to Portland’s equalizer. He does appear to have lost a step over his time with the club, which makes me question how many more miles he has left. He still offered some much-needed pressure as the first line of defense. Another negative I saw from him was the lack of effectiveness from his set piece deliveries. They have got to be better or teams will continue to punish FCD on the pitch, which can lead to a serious injury down the line. Game Grade: 6

Andrew Jacobson - In contrast to his opening day performance, the midfielder did not get too much right in this one. He looked a lot more like the Jacobson I remember from last season. It seemed every time he had the ball at his feet, Dallas would lose possession. He lost several 50/50’s and I did not see a single dangerous linking pass from him the entire match. He also managed to severely mishit a shot on one of Dallas’ most threatening attacks, with many other options to choose from. Game Grade: 4.5

Ricardo Villar - After a very impactful first half, the Brazilian seemed to have disappeared offensively after the break. He was often farther forward than Blas Perez was in the second half when his team was losing the midfield battle. Not all bad stuff from him though, as I do not know how any of his well-placed corner kicks were not finished. Game Grade: 6

Bryan Leyva - It was good to see the youngster step up the way he did. Apparently, his start was a game-day decision, which is a lot to throw at a guy. He was one of the main staples in FC Dallas’ attack during his –almost- half of play. He did not drop back in defense as much as Hyndman obviously wanted him to, but to me he balanced that out by his offensive effort. He definitely kept Rodney Wallace stretched out wide to free up some space in the middle for Perez to roam, and his ample shot on goal was as good as an assist. Game Grade: 6.5

Carlos Rodriguez - The Panamanian filled Brek Shea’s role somewhat sufficiently. He still showed shades of his less-than-amazing attacking ability, but at least he can hold and distribute the ball well. He also proved, once again that he can lend a helping hand on the defensive side. He just let a few attacking opportunities get away from him, but there is great comfort in knowing that this guy will be coming off the bench in the future. Game Grade: 6.5

Blas Perez - The big guy had a great game considering his makeshift supporting staff. He worked very hard to fill the gap created by the team’s absences and it paid off for him with his first MLS goal. Even after Hyndman had his squad go defensive, Super Raton continued to push hard up top. I would have liked to see him on the end of one of the few and far between crosses in the second half, but I am just glad he successfully finished Leyva’s deflected shot. I can just see Maicon Santos finding a way to mess that up last season. Game Grade: 8 (Man of the Match)

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