How does that famous book from Charles Dickens begin? Something about "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."
That famous phrase sums up FC Dallas’ performance on set pieces in Sunday night’s 2-1 loss to Sporting Kansas City at Livestrong Sporting Park.
The best of times came in the first half when Ricardo Villar put one over on the home side, by booting a free kick inside the left post to give FCD a 1-0 lead in truly shocking fashion.
Then just before the break, it was the worst of times when KC’s Aurelein Collin got his head on the end of a free kick for the equalizer and in a flash, Sporting had the momentum heading into the half.
Naturally, none of this was lost on FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman.
“Yeah, it was [good and bad for us on set pieces]. The number of balls that were sent in, there were quite a few balls ... whether it was the long throw, a set piece, a corner kick, whatever ... . My guys did very well with a lot of those. There was a lot of pushing, a lot of grabbing, a lot of knocking people down, so when you find somebody free it’s usually because somebody else has taken his marker out and there’s so much going on,” he said.
And he went into great detail about what he saw on Collin’s header.
“It was a great service and just basically getting a head on the ball and redirecting it. The timing was terrible. I look at not just that kick, but I look at it ... we come back and Jacobson comes back and works awfully hard to strip the ball and then we make a pass into the midfield where a guy’s completely marked, and how he gets stripped again. We've got to foul the guy and give them time to set up that whole thing.”
However, it’s not like the practice of surrendering goals right before the half or even right before full time is nothing new. In fact, it’s a trend Hyndman has taken notice of fairly recently.
“One of the things we talked about in our most recent runs is, for whatever reason we seem to hit a wall with the last five minutes of a half or the last five minutes of a game," he said. "And it could be confidence. It could be people nervous, but it seems like we give up too many opportunities that late in the game.
“We talked about it before the game. One of the things we talked about was just making better decisions, playing safe and not to give the ball away in dangerous positions on the field. I go back over my notes and wonder what part didn’t they get?”