It wasn't a match billed as highly important. It wasn't a match that will have any kind of impact on FC Dallas' supporter shield or top-three hopes. But it was a match whose outcome has made this Thursday feel just a bit more like Friday.
FC Dallas downed the Houston Dynamo 3-0 at FC Dallas Stadium, and the Toros have advanced to the quarterfinals of the US Open Cup. For their effort, Houston have been rewarded with a trip back to Houston. They have also earned the of dwelling on what losing to Dallas twice in one year feels like.
Houston fans were quick to downplay the win, and the excuses began to roll in at the half:
"Dom Kinnear didn't want to win."
"Dallas is desperate and is playing all their starters."
"Who cares about the US Open Cup?"
These excuses are standard in MLS, and they matter little. Wins matter, and Dallas won. It's hardly FCD's fault if they are facing a team that doesn't take the contest as seriously.
How did Dallas do? It depends on the half.
The first half began with Dallas sleepwalking through the field. Jair Benitez and Zach Loyd were both guilty of moments of completely unacceptable play, getting beat on feints several times, and at other times simply being outworked. Fabian Castillo boomed crosses (if you want to call his moonshots "crosses") well over the box and out of play. The ball was given away at midfield at shockingly regular intervals.
As a matter of fact, if Jason Johnson had any first touch to speak of, Dallas could have been down by a goal in the first 15 minutes.
All things considered, it was a pretty poor display from FCD through 30 minutes.
Right around the 30th minute mark, things began to change, and the Hoops began to find some consistency. The passing shored up, the urgency seemed to find its way into the players' boots, and some people even ran around the field. That was the turning point, and it resulted in several chances for Dallas, one of which Kenny Cooper finally put away in the 38th minute.
How much have we praised Michel's set-piece delivery this season? Not enough. His service gave Houston problems with regularity, and it would result in another goal before the 60 minute mark.
Not minutes after a goal by Cooper was waved off due to an offside call, a corner kick was awarded and Michel stood up to take the kick. As before, the in-swinging service found Cooper who once again put it away. 2-0 to the good guys. The Dynamo were beginning to look like the team that had lost in Dallas a few months ago, and this time the defense would stand firm.
Dallas had cemented their game and looked much more comfortable on the ball. With Houston down two goals, and the Hoops looking in control of the situation, the circumstances clearly called for David Ferreira to take the field.
For some reason known only to Schellas and his creator, David Ferreira entered the game in the 72nd minute for Fabian Castillo.
No, I don't know either.
The match was wrapped up nicely by Zach Loyd, who capitalized on a mistake by Dynamo backup keeper Tyler Deric, and chipped the ball in over his head to send the Dynamo home with three goals against on the night.
Dallas win, Houston lose, and all is right with the world.
- Kenny Cooper.
- Eric Hassli is hexed. That's the only thing that explains his goalscoring drought. He's doing lots of things right except for the whole "score a goal" part. He'll get it eventually.
- It was pretty funny watching several MLS editors and media personalities brim with righteous indignation when the news broke that Blas Perez was playing for FCD days after bowing out of Panama duty with illness. "Why would he do that?" they asked. It's a good thing Blas wasn't even on the bench, huh?
- Why, for the love of all that is good and holy, was David Ferreira put into the game? Drew mentioned on twitter that Hyndman has to be under considerable pressure to perform in this tournament, and I have to concur. There is no other reason to trot out Ferreira, who is defensively limited, when up 2-0 in midway through the second half.
- Chris Seitz had himself a tidy game, though he did commit a Raul at one point.
- Kenny Cooper.