One of the most refreshing things about the 2011 FC Dallas season has been the way this team holds leads. Unfortunately, for the second game in a row FCD has held a lead and walked away with less than the full three points.
Maicon Santos got FCD off to a flyer, pouncing on a Philadelphia defensive mixup and slotting home an easy goal to put Dallas in front. Then, in the 33rd minute, Justin Mapp was freed down the right hand side and bungled over in the box by Ugo Ihemelu earning a penalty kick that Sebastien Le Toux buried.
Just before halftime FC Dallas would take a second lead with Marvin Chavez's effort coming off the post and Brek Shea tapping home for his team-leading 10th goal of the season to give FCD the advantage into the locker room.
Dallas was doing a good job holding off Philadelphia until things went all wrong in the last ten minutes. Referee Geoff Gamble, in one of his first MLS games, inexplicably sent off George John, giving him yellow cards despite the center back committing just two fouls the entire game. From there, Philadelphia found new life and earned another penalty kick, this time on a foul committed by Jackson. Le Toux scored again to complete the 2-2 scoreline.
Click for a few thoughts on the game and the quote sheet
Regarding the referee decisions Yeah, this is a tough one to take. Two penalties and a red card against one team in a game is about as much as it gets. The worst decision, for me, was the red card. I thought the first yellow was extremely soft and then to send a guy off for a slide tackle that was showing no cleats off the ground or anything of the sort is just ridiculous. George John committed two fouls in the game tonight that were 55 minutes apart, it's not as if he was committing persistent infringement. Just extremely harsh in my eyes and it was a decision that completely changed the game.
The penalties were just smart plays by the offensive players and clumsy plays by the defenders. Yeah, Mapp is jumping into Ugo Ihemelu to try and earn the penalty, but if you're Ugo why play so close to the guy when it's not really a dangerous opportunity. On the second one, if Jackson doesn't completely whiff on the ball in the first place, nothing happens. Clumsy, clumsy defending from a team that doesn't usually do that.
Defense tonight Despite only allowing goals on penalty kicks, I thought the back four tonight was pretty poor. They got a few lucky offside calls and I just didn't think they showed the compactness that we normally see and if you go look at the Chalkboard of the match you will see the distribution was very sloppy. Five goals allowed in two games is not a good look. However...
Kevin Hartman El Gato redeemed himself tonight for his error in Los Angeles. This game ends 3-2 to Philadelphia if Hartman doesn't make those ridiculous saves at the end. Great, great work from one of the best keepers in the league.
Maicon Santos It's amazing what this guy has brought to the team in a short amount of time. He does exactly what we've all been clamoring for out of a center forward, holding the ball up well, battling for every loose ball, making smart decisions on the ball, passing well and finishing. It won't show up in the stat sheet, but he really had a goal and an assist tonight making the fantastic, defense-splitting pass to Marvin Chavez on the second goal. A goal and 2 assists in his first two games in Frisco...just awesome.
FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman
I thought it was a really wide open game. The fans in the stands got to see a really good game.
I don’t think, as a coach, any time you get a penalty kick called against your team you like it or want it. But those were the calls
Sometimes when you bring a new player like Freddy Adu, there is an adjustment period. We went through the same thing with Maicon Santos last week. They are good players, the type of players you need. The first goal was a mistake on the Union’s part. We gave up a lot of free kicks trying to get on the other side of the ball.
Goalkeeper Kevin Hartman
On earning a good road result in a difficult atmosphere
We really feel like we lost a few points tonight. We certainly had the upper hand the majority of the game, but, unfortunately, George (John) was red-carded, and they were given two PKs. We just have to make sure that we can deal with that stuff and make sure that we come back. I thought that we had a good run of play away from home. I thought we were fairly solid until they went a man up and we had to come up with some plays on the defensive side of stuff. All in all, I think we’re disappointed we didn’t get the win but at the same time we know we’re working in the right direction in terms of playing good soccer and accumulating points.
On the confidence of the team based on its current position in the standings
It’s one of those things that Schellas (Hyndman) alluded to prior to the match. He said that usually the teams that do well in the playoffs are the teams that finish the last ten games strong. We wanted to make sure that we have the right attitude and the right momentum going into the playoffs and try to solidify playoff position and make sure that we’re firing on all cylinders when the time comes.
It’s certainly an important time of the season. We have a big number of games. We had eight games last month and we’ll have eight games this month. It’s fatiguing and we have to make sure that we’re responsible with our bodies and use the depth of our bench and go out there with the right attitude to persevere through some difficult circumstances like tonight.
On having never lost to Philadelphia in four meetings
This is a league where there’s quite a bit of equality amongst the teams. The fact that we haven’t lost to them yet doesn’t mean that it’s not the next one. We have to make sure that we’re always prepared. They certainly have quality throughout their side and to be honest, I thought they had enough opportunities tonight that they definitely could have grabbed the full three points. We really just kind of look at their strengths and make sure that we’re prepared for it but it’s certainly something that as a group we’re proud to have gotten out of here tonight with a point.
On what he was thinking during the last big save against Mwanga
He came in and I knew that Danny had scored an important goal last year to split the points maybe in the 92nd or 93rd minute: long ball into the box knocked down and Danny just came in and struck it, a pretty hard volley into the back of the net. I just made sure I was cognizant, just made sure I stayed up and did the best I could, and, fortunately, I was able to get a hand on it.
Midfielder Brek Shea
On never losing to Philadelphia in four meetings
We do well against this team. I’m not sure why, but we’ve had good success against them. We know that coming into games.
On enjoying his experience in Philadelphia (U.S. match and tonight against the Union)
I was here Sunday to Sunday and I had the U.S. game, tonight, and then went to the Eagles’ friendly against Baltimore. This is definitely a sports city and the fans love their teams. It’s pretty cool to be able to go to any sports event and have a pretty solid crowd.
On the team’s confidence based on its current position in the standings
We’re doing well. We have a lot of games to play. We’re doing well in CONCACAF. We’re doing well in the Open Cup and we’re doing well in the league. We have a lot of games but we’re doing well in all of them so I think this team is pretty confident right now.
Philadelphia Union Head Coach Peter Nowak
I think we made it easy for Dallas to score the goals and it’s a pity because we worked so hard getting the goals. From the results we pushed it until the end and we didn’t win the game because Hartman made some good saves.
We need to do better defensively. That’s what we have done well from the beginning [of the season]. [Tonight,] It was two goals we should not have given up in the first place.
On Freddy Adu:
We gave him a start. It was important for us not to push the envelope too much. You can see he still needs the game fitness. I think he understood the concept of the 60 minutes he played. He is going to get more dangerous if he is going to more from place to place. We have to figure out the tactical part, we have to see where he fits in our system. For the first time, it was good to have him [on the field]."
What did you see out of tonight's match?