Last night was indeed a wild and crazy night. Two penalty kick saves, a red card, a late goal and a fantastically loud (and big) crowd. You really couldn't have asked for more last night.
I didn't get to my observations of the game last night as I wanted to let my thoughts marinate a little bit before I broke down the game. I will also have some other articles for this week from this game as well, so stay tuned for them.
The finish. We've talked these last couple weeks about finishing strong. FC Dallas finished strong two weeks ago in New England and struggled late a week ago at Toronto. We knew that the LA Galaxy would be a little gassed from their midweek encounter in Monterrey but given how deep the Galaxy are, it wasn't a shocker to see them press and push Dallas a lot in this one. Thankfully after the wild dust of the penalty kick misses passed, things worked out in the end for the Dallas faithful.
Set piece scoring. This is going to continue to be the bread and butter of this club in 2013. Out of the 11 goals scored, four have come from a set piece situation. That is quality right there folks. Dallas is also making the most of their chances and are currently leading the league in the goals scored department. Not bad at all.
The biggest thing that stood out to me all night on the set pieces was out they were using George John. For most of the game, on corners in particular, John lined up next to Omar Gonzalez. The plan was to move John away from the ball for most of the night to keep his head away from things and to keep Gonzalez, one of LA's biggest players, away from the action. The end result worked on the last corner of the game that John scored. Dallas got a near post run by Matt Hedges and John was able to be on the back post to put in the game-winner.
Fernandez's save. Alfredo touched on this earlier but Fernandez had one heck of a night against LA. The first half was fairly quiet out of him thanks to the defense keeping LA from pressing forward enough but when he was called into action in the second half, thanks to the game being more open, he answered the call very nicely. Also, saving Landon Donovan's PK is pretty tough to do, given how that was just Donovan's third PK missed in his MLS career (he's scored a ridiculous 34 out of 37 now). The communication is improving with his back line each week and you can tell his confidence is getting better as well.
Sloppy play in the back. I'll touch on this more later this week but there were plenty of moments late in the game that the back four and the two center midfielders (Andrew Jacobson and Michel) were just lazy with their passes. This was probably Michel's worst game in the middle of the park but to be fair he is carrying some sort of minor injury too - something that hasn't been widely discussed. Schellas Hyndman said after the game that the group has to improve on not falling asleep when teams aren't pressuring them in the back.
The holy moly
The thrown bottle. We'll touch more on this tomorrow but at least we know that John is alright after getting hit on the head after his goal. He showed me his scar after the game and was being pretty cheeky with the reporters as well. The dude will be fine.
5 staples to fix the gash and 3pts later, all is well. Love the support! Maybe next time buy me the beer instead of throwing it at me.— George John (@GdoubleJohn) April 14, 2013