Wow, what a game from Dallas. Missing 5 starters, everyone stepped up to produce arguably the most impressive win of the season in tough, cold, rainy conditions away to a Kansas City team that had lost once in ten games.
Dallas came roaring out of the gates with two goals in the first 12 minutes as Marvin Chavez scored his first for Dallas off a beautiful chipped feed from David Ferreira. Milton Rodriguez doubled the score with a tougher-than-it-looked finish at the top of the box after Atiba Harris strongly won the ball to free Uncle Milton.
"We scored early, we worked all week on finishing on a small field, and then we worked on a lot of defending hitting" said coach Hyndman. "We watched what Kansas City does, and they are so direct. You know exactly what they are going to do; you just have to beat them to the ball. For us, we didn’t really expect to score that early, but I think it opened up the confidence for us to go again."
Things got a bit dicey in the second half as Kansas City dominated the run of play for the first 30 minutes after halftime and were rewarded with a Ryan Smith deflected strike that got past Dario Sala to cut the Dallas lead in half with 30 minutes left to play.
"Smith's goal was with a lot of time left in the game. I thought we had a little bit of energy still in us. I added Jack in the game to see if he could give us a little more, but we couldn't find our rhythm" said Kansas City coach Peter Vermes
Dallas would hold strong, however, and struck a tiring Kansas City team on the counter late as Jeff Cunningham scored his 131st career goal between Jimmy Nielsen's legs to seal a huge 3 away points for FCD and extend their unbeaten streak to 17 games, just one shy of tying the MLS record.
"It is really quite remarkable. I’m not sure if you all notice; I’m sure you understand part of it is we are playing without five regulars," said Hyndman. "It is one thing to play without your starting goalkeeper or your captain, but our two center backs didn’t even make the trip. We have five starters that aren’t making the trip in the last few games, but we are still getting results. It says a lot about our team and our depth."
Game observations, more quotes and links after the jump
-Tons of credit goes out to the whole team for this one, every single player provided positive contributions to the game. Whether it was Marvin Chavez who scored his first goal of the season, Kyle Davies playing incredibly solid for his first start in forever, or Jackson showing his versatility...this team fights for each other and is unlike any Dallas team I've seen since I started watching in 2004. As Dario Sala said on Friday, this isn't the most talented team he's played on, but it is the best overall team.
-If there was any question before there isn't any now, David Ferreira is back. He went through a tough stretch in the past month with physical defenses and questionable refereeing, but Ferreira has got his swagger back. He's got to be a top 3 contender for the league MVP award and could win it if FCD wins a few more games. Interestingly, he's tied for the league lead in game winning assists with 5.
-One of the biggest reasons to think this Dallas team is set to be good for a long time is the remarkable depth. When everyone is healthy, the Dallas bench has Eric Avila, Jackson, Kyle Davies, Zach Loyd, Jeff Cunningham, Dario Sala and Marvin Chavez. That's the strongest in the league by a wide margin. Without this depth, Dallas wouldn't be anywhere near the top like they are.
"Obviously it’s a difficulty. It’s an adjustment we have to address. There are guys trying to win starting jobs, trying to make the most of it, and they are doing that" said Heath Pearce. "Obviously we come to an away stadium against a team that is trying to make a late run for the playoffs who has won their last two games. All the guys who are rookies, or new in the team, or relatively inexperienced made big plays for us tonight and gave us the win."
-Marvin Chavez is really starting to find his groove. It's taken him awhile, but you can tell that he's really beginning to enjoy his soccer with FC Dallas and his speed is really giving defenses problems. He's clearly not a starter when everyone is healthy, but he's clearly got his confidence back.
-Kyle Davies didn't miss a beat in his first start since very early in the season. It took a lot of guts for Schellas to start the kid in that environment yesterday and Davies responded with a great game. The fact that it's tough to pinpoint any one thing he did is a very good thing. Just more quality depth as we've been talking about going forward in the future.
-I think Schellas has finally found the right way to play Milton and Cunningham. After struggling with who should start and who should come in as a sub, the gaffer's discovered that Milton for the first 60 minutes and Cunningham for the last 30 or so works extremely well. Amazingly, Cunningham now has ten goals on the season and just six players in the league have scored more. How great would it be to see him score a couple of times in the next two weeks and become the second franchise player to set the MLS all-time goals record at home...
-After a couple of frustrating results, what a huge weekend for FCD in the playoff seeding race. In the end, FCD gained 4 points on Los Angeles this week and three points on Real Salt Lake while jumping Columbus. Just 4 points sit between LA and FC Dallas meaning if FCD can somehow win the next three games, LA has to slip up just once to make that last game for the Supporter's Shield.
-Houston has been eliminated from playoff contention.
A big thanks to the KC PR staff for uploading a quote sheet. This is great stuff for quote hounds like me...Quotes from Schellas, Davies and Heath Pearce as well as KC people
On his team’s playoff position
"I think we are safe. I think talking about the Wizards they are going to have to win all of their games to bypass us, and that is if we don’t win any of the rest of our games, or get any more points. It is still mathematically possible though. We were in the same boat last year that the Wizards are in this year. I still think that the Wizards are a very good team, but tonight things just didn’t go their way."
The official MLSSoccer.com game recap
Faced with another red-hot team, FC Dallas didn’t miss a beat, extending their streak of games without a loss to 17 and dealing the Wizards' playoff hopes a blow with a 3-1 victory on a rainy Saturday night at CommunityAmerica Ballpark.
Dallas moved to 11-2-13 on the season, collecting three more points that should cement their place in the playoffs come the end of October. With the defeat, Kansas City (9-9-7, 33 points) weren’t able to gain any ground on Seattle, Colorado and San Jose at the bottom end of the playoff race.
Andrew Wiebe writes that yesterday was just one too many leads for Kansas City to overcome.
In the last two months, the Wizards transformed themselves from doormats into arguably the hottest team in Major League Soccer.
But for 12 minutes on Saturday night, Kansas City reverted back into the team they had seemingly left behind and it cost them dearly. Not only did they lose 3-1 at CommunityAmerica Ballpark to FC Dallas, but their playoff dreams suffered quite a dent.
Terez Paylor with his gamer for the Kansas City Star
The Wizards are quickly gaining a reputation for living dangerously. The problem with this, you know, is that sometimes you actually get hurt.
And against red-hot F.C. Dallas on Saturday, the Wizards — who fell behind by two goals for the second game in the row — learned that lesson the hard way, as they came up short in a 3-1 loss before an announced crowd of 10,385 at CommunityAmerica Ballpark.
KC Wizards blog Down the Byline with their game recap
For the second time in 4 days the Wizards made a poor start to the game. Unlike Wednesday's 4-3 win over Houston, the Wizards were unable to recover against the more talented FC Dallas team.
And finally Stuart Goldman writes for the Dallas Morning News about FCD extending the streak to 17 with a shoutout to the traveling fans.
FC Dallas players made the long walk across CommunityAmerica Ballpark after Saturday's game to give high-fives to the 20 or so FCD fans sitting behind home plate in this minor-league baseball park as they celebrated their 3-1 win over the Kansas City Wizards.
The victory improved FCD's record to 11-2-13. More importantly, FCD earned three points to increase its total to 46 points, one more than FCD coach Schellas Hyndman set as a goal to all but assure a spot in the Major League Soccer playoffs. FCD also ran its unbeaten streak to 17 games.
LAG 50 points 26 GP
RSL 48 points 26 GP
FCD 46 points 26 GP
CLB 45 points 26 GP
NYC 44 points 26 GP