FC Dallas fell to their fifth away defeat of the season in just nine road games on Sunday afternoon, losing 2-0 at the hands of a struggling Sporting Kansas City team that had only won one of its previous eleven fixtures in the league since early April. Both goals were scored towards the end of a first half of major controversy with an Lawrence Olum header, his second against FCD this year already, from an indirect freekick and a Benny Feilhaber penalty which was enough to get Sporting KC all three points that they so desperately needed to get back on track in the Western Conference.
The result leaves Dallas in second, three points adrift of Colorado who also have a game in hand to play later this week while Sporting KC shoot up as many as four places up the table to fourth, albeit with more games played than most of the teams now below them.
The biggest positive out of the game may come in the fact that the team managed to improve their chance creation in comparison to what we've seen over the last couple of months, the New England game aside. Although they weren't really taken well, seeing the movement, pace, and passes split the Sporting KC defense in two at times was a good sight to see, especially as the team managed to do it without Mauro Diaz on the pitch for much of the game. If things can continue on this note and the team continues to create chances with such regularity and frequency, the goals are bound to flood in again at some point.
We also saw an improved performance from Maximiliano Urruti who looked more involved in the play here than he has done in a while now and although he didn't get too many looks in front of goal again, seeing him play some key passes that either led or could have led to scoring opportunities. As long as he gets into the game as often as he did here, he'll hopefully be back in form sooner rather than later.
Quite obviously the biggest negative of the day was the officiating performances of Jorge Gonzalez and his assistants. They overlooked and didn't signal a goal for Dallas when confusion at the back for Sporting KC resulted in the ball being passed into his own net by Olum and Tim Melia failed to get it clear before it crossed the line, but the referees adjudged that he did. Moments later, Fabian Castillo managed to score anyway but his goal was ruled out for an offside that was an incorrect call as he was behind Melia and the last defender standing in the line when Michael Barrios' shot came in. Then to compound FCD's misery, he didn't give what looked to be a stonewall penalty for a foul on Tesho Akindele just another few minutes later.
Usually, complaining about the referee is just a petty excuse that takes away from a overall poor performance from a team and one or two moments in a game do not define a whole 90 minute match altogether, but in this case it is a valid excuse. Dallas had at least three key decisions go against them and eventually it cost them the game. We all know here at BDS just how big of a difference it makes for this team whether it concedes or scores the first goal and had one of these key decisions gone FCD's way, this game could have panned out completely differently.
The other negative is obviously the set piece defending which is becoming irreversibly bad with the team conceding from them far too often now. Once again the goals were avoidable with some better marking and aggressive defending in the box, but it's become an unwanted pattern for this FCD team that just doesn't seem like it's getting properly addressed by those in charge or the players aren't understanding their flaws in the situations well enough. Whoever is to blame, it's a problem that's evidently needed to be fixed for a while now and very little progress has been made on that front.
FCD will not be in action in midweek this week, but will be back at home in Frisco to host Real Salt Lake at Toyota Stadium next Saturday evening in the first of a triple home game stretch over the next couple of weeks.