It might've just been me, but for the majority of Saturday night, I was either holding my breath, or running my hands through my hair. Match number two saw FC Dallas prove doubters of their back line wrong. With a still not-match-fit back four, the club was able to hold Kansas City to a single goal, while being able to equalize in the final moments of the game to take a point home with them.
I think my Man of the Match vote could go to a number of players: Chris Seitz, Adam Moffat, and Stephen Keel to name a few, but my choice is Matt Hedges.
Even putting his game-tying set piece header to the side, Hedges was an absolute anchor. His back line kept a Sporting team that held the ball for 65% of the game, scoreless for 82 minutes. Oh yeah, and they did it in "The Cauldron."
FCD was starved offensively, but any breaks forward they did get, started from turnovers created by his defense. Hedges made sure his defense were on their toes all night long, with Kansas City being awarded 12 corners, most of them late in the game.
For a team that struggled to close out games last year, Saturday was a complete reversal. It would have been easy for this team to concede a late goal and then mentally check out, but instead, the team was ignited, getting more possession in the final seven minutes than any time in the game before that.
Hedges himself proves that the team has a never-say-die spirit.
"We always fight for 90 minutes even though we're down a goal." Hedges said. "We are always looking to come back and try and get the point on the road."
For a defense that is missing its key player, Hedges showed great leadership in the most pivotal moments of the game, a trait injured CB George John is known for possessing.
On top of his defensive efforts, Hedges plain and simple came through when the team most needed it. When Michel set the ball down before his free kick, I think we all he was going to loft it near that cluster of players. Hedges got into brilliant position and put a perfect head on the ball to net the goal.
In a game where defense was the name of the game, Matt Hedges played a complete game.
Do you agree? What are your thoughts? Who was your Man of the Match? Vote and comment below.