For the second time in the last three games, FC Dallas was held to a scoreless draw at home against a Western Conference opponent. Two weeks ago it was against Chivas USA and last night FCD tied the league's best club, the San Jose Earthquakes.
Neither club had too many chances on the night but San Jose did have two shots cleared off the line and two big breakaways late snuffed away by Kevin Hartman and rookie center back Matt Hedges.
David Ferreira went the full 90 and Ricardo Villar made his return after being out 14 weeks with a foot injury.
Brek Shea once again played the lone striker but was ineffective on the night thanks to the San Jose defense.
San Jose was limited to ten men when Ramiro Corrales was issues a second yellow card in the 80th minute. Dallas was unable to do anything with the man advantage late in the game however.
(Read on for more thoughts and analysis)
Shutout with a young defense. If this is the wave of the future for FC Dallas and the back four, then sign me up. The quartet of Zach Loyd, Hedges, Hernan Pertuz and Carlos Rodriguez is showing positive signs of improvement each week that they are out there together as a unit. Being one of the youngest groups in the league - with an average age of 23 - this group has already gotten two shutouts on the season.
If anything this group is giving Schellas Hyndman some tough decisions once Ugo Ihemelu and George John get healthy. Speaking of Ugo, I talked to him a bit at halftime last night, he is in good spirits and is slowly making strides back from his concussion. These things take loads of times to get better. He's still having symptoms on a daily basis too which is tough to hear.
Anyways, back to the young group. Hedges and Pertuz are becoming a force in the middle together. Their comfort level with one another is growing by the minutes on the field together. Each were huge last night in stopping big scorers like Chris Wondolowski and Alan Gordon.
DF10 in the middle. A full 90 for Ferreira was huge and great to see. You could tell towards the end of the game he was gassed and not at all in the game other than on some set pieces. In the first half he was all over the place, being the motor in the middle that we were used to seeing from him. San Jose tried to limit his touches and were physical with him as you'd expect. Ferreira had several balls into Brek Shea in the first half that nearly found a pay day.
The second half was al quiet though from the DP. I said he was gassed and that was probably an understatement. Then again San Jose did a good job of shutting down his touches and limiting what he could do.
Villar's return. Another positive on the night was seeing Ricardo Villar return to the field. He came in at halftime for Fabian Castillo to try to give Dallas some width on the field and some creative juice from the wings. Talking to him afterwards you could tell he was spent from just going 45 minutes. He's hungry to play more though and a lot depends on his recovery time with his foot. He was hobbling around a bit afterwards but overall is ready to contribute again.
Not so good from the wings. Hyndman said in the post game they wanted to play down the middle more with Ferreira but because of that the wing play was limited a great deal. Castillo really was the only one in the first half doing anything of note from the wide area and he was limited due to the San Jose defense. Andrew Wiedeman got a shot at starting on the night in place of Jackson Goncalves but he really did nothing in the first half and was subbed out for Jackson at halftime.
Bringing Jackson into the game did a lot though for FCD in the second half. The Brazilian was clearly the best player on the field in the second half for Dallas and was dangerous throughout the 45 minutes he played.
FC Dallas - Kevin Hartman, Carlos Rodriguez, Hernan Pertuz, Matt Hedges, Zach Loyd, Fabian Castillo (Ricardo Villar 45), Andrew Jacobson, James Marcelin, David Ferreira, Andrew Wiedeman (Jackson 45), Brek Shea.
Substitutes: Chris Seitz, Daniel Hernandez, Bryan Leyva, Scott Sealy, Victor Ulloa.
TOTAL SHOTS: 14 (Andrew Jacobson 3, Jackson 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Fabian Castillo 1, Carlos Rodriguez 1, Andrew Jacobson 1); FOULS: 10 (Zac Loyd 3, Brek Shea 3);
OFFSIDES: 2 (Brek Shea 1, Matt Hedges 1); CORNER KICKS: 1 (David Ferreira 1); SAVES: 3 (Kevin Hartman 3).
San Jose - Jon Busch, Steven Beitashour, Victor Bernardez, Jason Hernandez, Justin Morrow, Marvin Chavez (Shea Salinas 62), Ramiro Corrales, Sam Cronin, Rafael Baca, Cris Wondolowski, Alan Gordon (Khari Stephenson 83).
Substitutes: David Bingham, Sercan Guvenisik, Ike Opara, Cesar Diaz Pizarro, Jed Zayner.
TOTAL SHOTS: 9 (Chris Wondolowski 3, Alan Gordon 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Chris Wondolowski 2, Alan Gordon 1); FOULS: 12 (Ramiro Corrales 2, Marvin Chavez 2); OFFSIDES: 4 (Chris Wondolowski 1, Alan Gordon 3); CORNER KICKS: 7 (Marvin Chavez 6, Chris Wondolowski 1); SAVES: 3 (Jon Busch 3).
SJ - Rafael Baca (caution) 21
SJ - Ramiro Corrales (caution) 77
SJ - Ramiro Corrales (ejection) 80
Referee: Ismail Elfath
Referee's Assistants: Craig Lowry, Peter Manikowski
4th Official: Jorge Luna Hernandez
Time of Game: 1:50
Weather: Cloudy, 81 degrees