Things went from bad to worse tonight as FC Dallas again was shutout at home, losing to Mexican champions Pumas UNAM 2-0 in front of 6,112 at Pizza Hut Park. The stout and composed Dallas defense stood strong for nearly the whole game, but Eduardo Aguirre broke the deadlock in the 85th minute and David Izazola scored another late to complete the 2-0 scoreline. Some doom and gloom thoughts:
Offense is dead right now Dallas was shutout in consecutive competitive home games for the first time since October 2007 and if you got to the Tauro FC game a little late, you haven't seen a goal from the home team in four games. This is simply unacceptable. Players are not making overlapping runs, there's no one crashing the box and players are trying to simply walk the ball into the net rather than testing the keeper. It's not working right now and Schellas needs to find a way to fix things.
Left side non-existent Brek Shea just did not look up for the game and the combination with Jeremy Hall was a disaster. Hall's inability to make overlapping runs on Shea meant four defenders around him at almost all times and it seemed like Shea just gave up in the last 20 minutes or so.
Strange positioning With Jackson inexplicably started at forward again, Schellas was forced to make a change at halftime bringing on Maykel Galindo for Fabian Castillo. It wasn't a sub you'd want to make but I could understand bringing on a more traditional forward. Except, Galindo did not play forward, he went to right mid and Daniel Cruz was basically playing as the lone forward. It didn't work or make much sense at all.
Regarding Fatigue It's an excuse. Dallas has played one road game since August 30. If the legs are tired and forcing you to lose, then start Bobby Warshaw for Daniel Hernandez, start Andrew Wiedeman for whoever was playing on the right, start Moises Hernandez at left back, start Ruben Luna at forward...you get my drift. If Dallas loses, at least you've gotten the kids some valuable experience while not screwing yourself over for the next game and driving more doubt into the minds of the starters.
It's easy to play armchair Hyndman, I understand that. However, the home fans have seen four straight stinkers at PHP and basically four straight home shutouts bar minute 1 of a game.
Some positives I thought George John was fantastic tonight. He was bordering on dominant in the first half and nearly grabbed a goal off a set piece in the second half. His anticipation was top notch and he was great in the air. An encouraging performance from the big Greek. Also, remember Dallas still needs just 1 win from their last two in order to advance. All is not lost and Dallas still has Fire, Whitecaps, Earthquakes to end the season and get on track. This is a very strong team and I believe it just needs a spark to get back on track which I believe they will.
FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman
General thoughts on the match...
"We played a very good team tonight that was very possession-oriented. They had a lot of talented players in their strike force, a defense that was very involved in the attack. They kept us back on our heels. On our side I thought we competed and fought for balls. We did not create a lot of opportunities. We only had one corner kick but we had some dangerous balls coming in that we were not able to get on the end of. Losing a key player like Jackson hurt us. His speed and his ability to keep defenders back. It hurt them as well in [losing] their center midfielder, but I think they took control of the game with the possession. We went to level two defending. Ugo [Ihemelu], for one, I thought had a very good game. I think not only did he have a good game for himself, I think he played for some other players who didn’t have the same effort. For us, we’re a little disappointed with the last 15-20 minutes of the game. But, all-in-all, we played a very good team and this time we didn’t come away with the victory."
On preparing for the remaining Group matches in Panama and vs. Toronto…
"This group is turning out to be a very competitive group, which is what you want. These are the type of games we want to have to continue to develop our players, but also to earn the respect throughout CONCACAF. There are a lot of (MLS) teams that are not in this tournament who wish they were, so we understand the responsibility of doing well and issues that we’re going to deal with, of course, is going to Panama without Jackson. I think Brek will be suspended as well; and I think Daniel Hernandez will be suspended as well. It was a conversation we had before the game, to have emotional intelligence. It seems like whenever I have that kind of conversation it goes the other way. But, we’ll have Marvin Chavez back and we’ll have other people given an opportunity to play. We’d like not to have it come down to the last game with us and Toronto. We’d like to finish it in Panama, knowing how difficult it is and how our team may be tired as well as a little bit weaker. Hopefully, we can get the type of officiating I think we got tonight. I think this is some of the best officiating I’ve seen since I’ve been at this level, and I was really pleased the game was in the players’ hands.
FC Dallas defender Ugo Ihemelu
On the two Pumas goals at the end of the game…
"We kept our shape pretty well for the majority of the game. Towards the end, I think, it just came down to fatigue. Guys’ legs got heavy and they just kept coming. They came in here with a lot to prove after losing at home. They had a lot of pressure on them and they are a quality team. When you give a team like that opportunities in the box, usually they are going to take advantage of it and that is exactly what they did. I would say those were their two best chances and they capitalized on them. We just have to learn from it and keep going forward. It’s good that we’re in a tournament like this because we’re playing against quality teams and I don’t think FC Dallas has had this many games against quality teams in all these tournaments at once. We just have to learn and build on it and keep taking the club in the right direction.
Pumas coach Guillermo Vasquez
On what this game meant for them in CONCACAF Champions League play...
"We knew this game was key for us to get back into a position that will allow us to compete to go to the next stage. We needed to get the three points in order to get into the position that we needed to ensure qualification into the next stage."
On the physicality of the game...
"The field was playing very fast. There were a lot of 50-50 balls, a lot of challenges in the middle of the field that resulted in a lot of contact from the players. Thankfully there were no injuries for either team. There was a red card, and we lost a man, but the team adapted well and managed to play the game the way we prepared to."
On whether the team was seeking revenge after a home loss to FC Dallas on Aug. 17...
"It wasn’t revenge. Dallas took three points from us at home, and we didn’t like it. We needed to come back and pay a visit and get the three points back. It wasn’t revenge. It was just a matter of getting those three points back."
On whether the FC Dallas team was who they expected to see on the field
"This was the team we knew we were going to face. This is a team that plays defense very solid and whenever they have an opportunity, they push forward and try to score a goal. We were expecting this kind of game from them.
On taking advantage of exhausted players in the second half
"That is the way that Pumas always plays. We push the game and work it on the two sides. It worked perfectly in this game because of the circumstances, and in the end it is nice to get a result."