It was supposed to be the game that turned around FCD's season playing last-place Toronto FC in front of a sold out crowd, the third largest in FC Dallas Stadium history. However, David Ferreira's return wasn't enough and Dallas slumped to another draw while pushing their franchise record winless streak to 12 games. My thoughts on the match then post-game quote sheet.
Not Good Enough There were certainly some viable excuses for some of the May losses...crazy schedule, suspensions and injuries...The last two games, however, have been vital home games against poor MLS sides in games that you absolutely needed three points. And in the last two games, I've seen an inexplicably tired team that created 0 chances in the last ten minutes and seemed to shrug their shoulders at ties that felt like losses. It's 12 games in a row without and win and it's not good enough.
Obviously Ferreira is missed and Perez possibly more than Ferreira, but that team was out of options last night against a Toronto side that had allowed 16 second half goals in 15 games this year. Shea was played ineffectually out of position, Castillo faded after the 70th minute like normal and Jackson playing with an injury was completely ineffective. I hate to go negative, but these three home games were always going to set up as the games that this team was judged by after the poor first half of the season and so far they've been dismal. 3 wins from 18 games and 5 wins from the last 26 league games dating back to last season.
Substitutions I'm struggling to see the point of having players like Ricardo Villar and Bryan Leyva on the bench if you don't use them when needing a goal with ten minutes to play. FCD clearly was struggling to find any answers offensively late in the game and to leave a substitution in your pocket is not wise to me. Some may disagree, but Bryan Leyva is a player that, while he will make a bad turnover from time to time, has the ability to change a game with one pass or shot as well.
Midfield Trio I think you may have seen what things look like without the much-maligned Daniel Hernandez in the midfield last night. While his free kick ineptness is well documented, when he came out of the game the FCD midfield shape fell to pieces. James Marcelin looked totally uncomfortable in a d-mid anchor role and the passing just went away. A lot of the stuff Hernandez is really good at goes unnoticed but last night, I think if you go back and watch you'll see what Dallas misses when he isn't there. Fortunately for the long term future, Warshaw seems to provide similar qualities.
Hyndman: For us I thought we gave everything we possibly had in the game. I said to the players after the game, there’s no reason to hang your head. You gave everything you had. It’s not what we wanted, but it wasn’t through a lack of effort on their part
On one side of the FC Dallas locker room it says (Paraphrasing) "Team Spirit is a Competitive Advantage"
On the other side, it says "Winning is Everything"
The team spirit, much to Hyndman's credit, has not suffered. I still see confidence in the players and a belief that the job can get done. On the other side, winning is everything and at some point the game has to become results based just as much as process based.
Ferreira Thoughts It's fantastic to see him back out there. Whether 65% or whatever, he's still better than the alternative and his vision has clearly not faltered even if his body can't yet allow him to do what his mind wants. Schellas said it is a possibility that he could start on Saturday and while he's probably not even 60 minutes ready, do you have much choice at this point? Still you just feel so happy for the guy that hard work has paid off and he's back on the pitch.
FCD Stadium Rebirth On the positive side of things, huge credit goes out to people in Frisco for what is a two year turnaround in stadium attendance and atmosphere. Since bottoming out in 2009, with 9,883 average, 2012 attendance average sits at 14,081 through ten games(42% raise) and should be higher after the Galaxy game.
More importantly, the stadium was the place to be in the metroplex last night for the Fourth of July. I could barely get a parking spot two hours before the game and the FCD supporters had a tailgate that was well over 100 people strong. Walking to the press box through "Lamar's Tailgate" was a trek through hundreds of people that you would expect from a Rangers game...obviously a good problem to have. It's just a shame they weren't given too much to cheer last night.
Scattershooting...Brek is not a target forward, he's a left sided midfielder...Fabian Castillo's game went south the second Jair left the lineup...Hartman400...Going to be very interesting to see the vibe of things if Saturday doesn't go well...Koevermans is really really good.
FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman
General thoughts on the match:
We really started off well. We put a lot of pressure on them early. Zach [Loyd] scored a great goal, a very courageous goal. We created a couple more opportunities we were not able to finish. They came back and scored. It was a poor initial clearance by us and that put us right back into trouble. They worked awfully hard to get that goal. It was a difficult game because it really took a lot out of both teams. It was so wide open. They got a lot of crosses in the run of play that always causes you problems whether you win the ball or don’t win the ball or you have to fight for that second ball and I thought they were very good at that. You can see a different team out there playing than what we’ve seen for the last year and a half with Toronto. For us I thought we gave everything we possibly had in the game. I said to the players after the game, there’s no reason to hang your head. You gave everything you had. It’s not what we wanted, but it wasn’t through a lack of effort on their part.
On the Toronto goal:
A big thing is the first mistake was made trying to trap the ball at the top of the box with the chest and it bounced loose. The way we play, we really do open ourselves up and if there is a mistake, it usually ends up being a great scoring opportunity for them.
On David Ferreira’s return to the field:
Great to have him back. There was excitement from our players to see him on the field. He was excited. He worked awfully hard. We were hoping to go 20 minutes with him, but it felt like we needed a change earlier. He was creating a lot of opportunities for players. He was giving a lot of penetrating balls that were causing a lot of problems. That’s what we’ve been missing. Ricardo Villar tried to do it until he got hurt, but we don’t have anyone else on the team besides Villar who can do what he does, so it’s great to have him back.
On Kevin Hartman’s 400th career MLS game:
As I said to the players just before we went out onto the field, we wanted to congratulate him. I don’t know how many players knew this was his 400th game or that he had the honor of scarfing the Lamar Hunt statue tonight. Everybody was as excited as the coaching staff. It really is hard to think about 400 games. It speaks a lot about his determination, how hard he works, how good he is and then the competitiveness in him. It’s fanatastic. I don’t know if there’s going to be another player who comes along and does that. Maybe if it’s one of the Generation adidas players, the young players, but I think it’s going to be a while before somebody else hits 400.
FC Dallas defender Zach Loyd
General thoughts on the match…
We started off well. The goal came off a set piece. Jackson got the second ball and I saw Andrew Jacobson making a run at it on the back post so I positioned myself in the middle of the area to make a play. [Jacobson] did a great job of putting it back across. I was able to get on the end of it and scored the goal. It was a great start, unfortunately we didn’t come away with the three points. The good thing is we have a quick turnaround, playing San Jose on Saturday. Hopefully we can get a result here at home.
How do you feel the team preformed tonight?
I feel comfortable with our performance, we came out strong, we had great chances. In the first half we played really well. Unfortunately, we made a few mistakes in the back that cost us a goal.
FC Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman
On reaching the 400 games played milestone:
It’s obviously a very big accomplishment for me. As a kid I always wanted to play professional soccer, so to play 400 league games is something that means a lot to me. It's something I relish, getting to learn the lessons I’ve learned and traveled to the places I’ve been able to travel. It’s something I hold dear.
On the result:
It’s disappointing, considering the number of people that came out and supported us. The fact that we were able to score an early goal... We played quality soccer. We just didn’t have enough left in the tank towards the end of the game and they continued to push.
FC Dallas midfeidler David Ferreira
On suffering his first foul after being out for so long:
When I step on the field, I try to forget about what happened the last time I was out there. When I was fouled tonight, I stood up calm. I thanked God nothing happened. I always try not to remember what happened. I try to get on the field with the mentality of doing things right and helping out the team. Unfortunately tonight, we couldn’t get the three points because the team in front of us was a very hard team to break down.
On coming back from injury:
The hard work from coming back from my injuries finally paid dividends since I was able to come back onto the field. I want to continue to work and to continue to contribute to the team. I’m looking forward to Saturday and to getting the result we were looking for here tonight. The excitement of being able to come back in and contribute made me very happy, but of course there’s something there that doesn’t allow me to be as excited as I would want to be because we didn’t get the result.
Toronto FC Head Coach Paul Mariner
General thoughts on the game:
I'm really, really pleased to see David [Ferreira] back. He's a very special player in this league, and nobody wants to see great players away from their team. Talking about my team, I can't speak highly enough for my boys. All we've been through the past few weeks, with the travel and schedule, it's almost physically impossible. What they did tonight, taking the game from Dallas in the second half and later stages of the game, they could have nicked it late. We didn't have the greatest start with the poor goal we gave away, but we fought back well with a pretty even first half. I'm struggling to find what Dallas did to us in the second half, but I'm delighted with what we did.
On how the team has recently turned around:
Players. Players in comfort zones, players understanding what they're doing, knowing their role and knowing their job. The beauty about it is everybody knows what your job is, and if you don't do it, you get told. It's football.
On Danny Koevermans' performance:
It's hard to talk about Danny without talking about Torsten [Frings] because it was obviously instrumental in bringing them both to the club. They are the epitome of professionalism. He's got a ridiculous eye for goal and a knack for getting on the end of things. You can see the work he does on the ball and off the ball. He's a special player. He's a goalscorer. With a lot of young players, they try and smash it into the back of the net, but Danny just guides it over the line. That's a goalscorer. It doesn't matter if the net bulges, it just matters if you can get it over the line.
On the success of the defense and Richard left back Richard Eckersley:
It's just got to do with the back four. He reads the game very well for such a young player, and I'm struggling to find a better left back in the league at the moment. The defense bodes well for the future. We played tonight against a very explosive forward line. Whichever way you slice it with [Fabian] Castillo and Brek [Shea], there's a lot of firepower. We fought them very well.
Toronto FC Forward Danny Koevermans
On his recent goal-scoring streak and the team's turnaround:
If you call it a hot streak, scoring in five straight games, then I hope I can do it in six and make it a hotter streak. Of course, it feels good. Especially on the road, it's so difficult to get some points on the road in this league. Every point we can take on the road, we're happy. Every team is hard to beat, and Dallas showed some good quality. We're just happy with the point.
On how he felt about the result of the game:
It's a good result. FC Dallas were ahead one-nil, but we fought back. They had some chances, and we had a good block from [Richard] Eckersley on the shot from Shea. We had some chances as well, but it was a good game.
On his goal in the first half:
Every time you get a goal on the board, it's a nice feeling. We took a point with us, so it's perfect. Eric [Avila] put the ball in and [Kevin] Hartman thought he was going to grab it, but I put my little toe against the ball and it went in the net. It was perfect. It doesn't matter how you score. If you can put your feet, or your head or your nose on the ball and in the net, it's a goal. I don't mind how I score or how the team scores, as long we score it's fine with me.
Toronto FC Midfielder Eric Avila
On seeing his former teammates:
I went and hung out with Brek [Shea] and a few of the other guys. It was good to see them and see some old teammates that I played with for a while.
On his role in Danny Koevermans' goal:
I was thinking about shooting, but then I saw Danny. It was good, I cut it inside and saw Danny and he was able to get it in.
On what Paul Mariner calls the team's "bag of tricks."
It's always fun to watch all of that. It's fun to be all that, but just getting the job done is the most important.