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FC Dallas Defeat Toronto FC 1-0 on Hernandez Penalty

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FRISCO TX - AUGUST 08:  Daniel Hernandez #2 of FC Dallas heads the ball against the Philadelphia Union at Pizza Hut Park on August 8 2010 in Frisco Texas.  FC Dallas beat the Philadelphia Union 3-1. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
FRISCO TX - AUGUST 08: Daniel Hernandez #2 of FC Dallas heads the ball against the Philadelphia Union at Pizza Hut Park on August 8 2010 in Frisco Texas. FC Dallas beat the Philadelphia Union 3-1. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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It wasn't the prettiest of wins on a muggy, humid night in Frisco, but they all count the same as Dallas took 3 points with a 1-0 victory over Toronto FC. A tight game was decided on a late first half penalty called on Toronto defender Adrian Cann for a foul on George John. Hernandez scored the penalty and Dallas held on for a 1-0 win. 

Observations:

The defense is finally working as a unit I've already watched the game again, and the biggest thing I will take from this game is the Dallas defense beginning to reach 2010 levels. The passing wasn't perfect out of the back, but Dallas hardly allowed anything to a Toronto team that scored twice on Houston last weekend. Joao Plata, the MLS player of the week, was shut down so back by Jackson that he got subbed off after an hour. It was the second straight shutout for FCD and the fifth straight scoreless half. Obviously when you hold the other team scoreless you put yourself in a great position to win with one positive play and that's what happened tonight.

Strange lineup Brings Offensive Struggles It looked like Eric Alexander was in the attacking mid role in the 4-1-4-1 formation for a little while tonight before FCD moved to a 4-4-2 with Chavez and Castillo up top later in the first half. It just never really came off for Dallas as Castillo was very sub-par tonight and the Alexander/Jacobson/Hernandez midfield is not really going to give you much offensively. That puts a lot of pressure on Shea, Castillo and Chavez to produce. 

keep reading for some good news and game grades

FC Dallas quietly rising the table Things are jampacked right now, but Dallas has recovered very well from the early struggles. With tonight's win, Dallas is now unbeaten in four and in a tie for third place in the West just three points behind Los Angeles for top in the league. It may not be pretty, but Dallas is absolutely getting the job done and showing that refuse to lose attitude. This recent run has really encouraged me in thinking that Dallas is going to stay alive without Ferreira, even if it means some ugly soccer.

Man of the match My man of the match tonight was Jackson. The Brazilian right back has been the subject of some controversy this year, but he was fantastic tonight. Jackson got forward well and did a great job on Joao Plata. Great performance from him. 

Player ratings

Haven't done these in awhile...6 is average

Kevin Hartman-7 Did what he needed to do. Spilled a couple of shots, but to no harm. Very vocal.

Zach Loyd-6 No complaints, a very quiet night for Loyd which is never really a bad thing from a defender

George John-7 Very good in the air on set pieces and drew the penalty. Finally looking 100&

Ugo Ihemelu-7 Also a nice night. Made some key interventions.

Jackson-8 Man of the match performance...see above

Daniel Hernandez-7 Showing the form of last season. Scored the goal and hit some great cross field passes.

Andrew Jacobson-6 Decent night defensively but struggled going forward. Did enough to earn a 6

Eric Alexander-6 Still not making those late runs I want to see from him, but rarely turned the ball over.

Brek Shea-6 Good in the first half, but faded in the second. 

Marvin Chavez-7 I liked Marvin's game tonight, though he didn't score, worked very hard. Finish your chances.

Fabian Castillo-5 Subpar night from the Colombian. Bad first touch and slow decisions...not a lone striker though.

Subs

Ruben Luna-6 Definitely had an impact...was it a dive? Looked like a no-call both ways to me

Bruno Guarda-I Nice to see Bruno get a little game time

Bobby Warshaw-I Not enough time