FC Dallas failed to gain revenge for the humiliating 5-0 defeat to Houston Dynamo during the second week of the season on Thursday night in a game that ended honors even at Toyota Stadium. After several days of heavy rain in the city, especially so on the day of the game, there were question marks over whether the match would even be able to take place in the midst of the terrible weather conditions. It did manage to go ahead initially but, after just four minutes, was delayed for nearly two hours with the playing conditions and the pitch totally unstable for a soccer game.
After the delay, Dallas managed to take a first half lead with a Ryan Hollingshead finish at the back post after some good wing play from Fabian Castillo but Houston rallied and got their reward early in the second half with a Ricardo Clark thunderbolt (no pun intended) from the edge of the penalty area, his third straight goal in as many Texas derbies. Dallas were expected to produce a response after that shock, but surprisingly it never came with Houston enjoying the better of proceedings for much of the second half.
No further goals arrived though as the Texas derby ended one apiece, which means that the possession of the cannon is all but lost for FCD in 2016, this on a night when the team went joint top of the standings alongside Colorado Rapids, albeit with two games more played.
Not much good to come out of this one which is largely thanks to the poor conditions in which the game was played in that hindered both the individual and collective performances as a whole. Seeing Zach Loyd start at right-back for the first time since October 2014 was a positive and it shows that Oscar Pareja is still willing to count on him there, which is good going forward from here. Kellyn Acosta had a decent outing, probably the best of an average bunch, and showed his attacking abilities with a couple of good long range shots, but not much else that he could do on a night like this.
Seeing the team extend its unbeaten home record to thirteen games, extending back to last August, is another plus. Not losing to the Dynamo for a fifth year in a row at home is pretty nice as well, but in truth, this one felt more like a loss than anything especially after all the buildup for it this week and the disappointment from the previous derby still hanging over everyone's heads.
Definitely more to add on here. The short passes were sluggish out of the back which led to the team really struggling especially when Houston started pressing higher up the pitch in the second half. Individually there weren't many good performances, not many chances were created, and generally the team's offensive game continued its struggles from the weekend game at San Jose, albeit this time with a much bigger reason for why that happened.
The reaction after Houston's goal was disappointing as well with the team coming second in majority of the duels afterwards, looking less aggressive and energetic in contrast to their rivals, and lacking ideas in building up plays from the back. Even though things clearly weren't working in the second half, Pareja stayed true to his philosophy instead of resorting to a long ball approach which would have been understandable given the conditions, but perhaps a lack of alternatives on the bench with Atiba Harris, Carlos Gruezo, and Tesho Akindele all away on international duty, while Michael Barrios is also injured. Considering the circumstances, there shouldn't be too much criticism going the team's way here but there is still a slight disappointment with the way things played out.
Lastly, there is a negative that is unrelated to the team that needs to be pointed out. Apparently, DBG (Dallas Beer Guardians) were vocally upset that the FCD security allowed Houston fans to sit in the beer garden section of Toyota Stadium which is supposed to be strictly for home supporters. It's yet another chapter in the exhausting tale of things that the club is doing which does more damage to home attendances than it does good and depending on how angered certain members of DBG are at this latest predicament, we may see the number of spectators for games at Toyota Stadium drop even lower next time around in a few weeks.
FCD are joint top of the Western Conference standings again and will now go on a well earned two-week Copa America Centenario break before returning to action on June 15 with a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup home match against USL affiliate Oklahoma City Energy at SMU's Westcott Field.