FC Dallas had the lead, had the man advantage but in the end couldn't keep the lead as the Houston Dynamo battled back late to get the draw, 2-2 Saturday night at Robertson Stadium in the first leg of the Texas Derby. Andrew Jacobson and Ugo Ihemelu both got on the board for Dallas tonight but late goals in both halves by Houston kept the game level.
Dallas made one change to start the match tonight as Bobby Warshaw made his first career start in place of George John, who picked up a groin injury in Seattle and was kept out of this game.
While the result feels disappointing it did however keep Dallas unbeaten in the month of May and helped FCD stay second in the standings with 22 points. Not a bad place to be after 13 games.
(Read on for more thoughts)
1. Brad Davis was a monster for Houston. I mentioned on Friday how big of a key Davis is for Houston and he had a hand on both Dynamo goals. I'm afraid to say it but I believe Davis carved up a blueprint on how to get around the Dallas defense tonight. Both goals in the run of play were perfection from him and his strikers finally made the most of it. He had a few other dangerous balls that his forwards couldn't finish but both Colin Clark and Cam Weaver made the most of their chances in this one.
2. Warshaw. I really felt the rookie had a solid game in place of John. He didn't make any big mistakes or cost the team any bad goals. You could pin the first Dynamo goal on him for not marking Weaver but I believe that could fall more on Daniel Hernandez. Warshaw and Ihemelu teamed up well together and showed that if John is out for any extended time here he will be a solid replacement in the defense.
3. Ugo was a beast. I think it is safe to say right now that Ihemelu is playing All-Star level soccer and First Team All-MLS here too. Not only did he get a timely goal in this game but he also found himself breaking down big Dynamo attacks all night long.
4. Possession was lacking in a big way. Daniel and I both mentioned this week that possession wasn't a major factor for this club considering the fact that they were getting results regardless of the little possession but in this one it mattered. Houston held the ball a lot in the first half and found a way to score because of it. Dallas did get more chances in the second half but failed to do anything positive with it until the corner kick goal from Ihemelu.
5. Tired legs. Three games in seven days will do this to any club but I thought Dallas handled the fatigue very well tonight. It did cost them three points in the end but considering how well this club has played all month it shouldn't bite them in the butts too much. I know it will feel more like a loss than a draw but ending the month of May with no losses and being unbeaten in eight games is rather impressive considering the fact that this all came after the loss of David Ferreira. June hits not with fewer games but that doesn't mean FCD can take the foot off the peddle. With the Gold Cup coming up and everyone else in the league missing players but FCD, the guys have to keep it up here.