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Sunday, April 24, 2011
Vancouver v FC Dallas - Match Grades

By Peter Welpton

"How many licks to the center of a Toosie Pop"?
"How many kicks to David's leg before it snaps?"

Not sure about the former, but the latter proved to be a whole bunch over the course of about a season and a half worth of matches. David is one durable cat, but it was going to happen sooner or later.

Before the discussion of Ferreira's situation, the harsh reality was that FC Dallas was putting forth its worst performance of the 2011 campaign right up to that sad moment.

From the kickoff Dallas was largely on its back foot as another Northwest Soccer Crowd filled up the stadium with atmosphere and support for an energetic Vancouver side. Hyndman's troops struggled at all aspects of the game and could not retain possession for any serious stretch of time. With Castillo horribly miscast as the lone striker, Dallas had no one holding the ball up high allowing for a build up for attack.

Shea and Chavez both, whether due to travel fatigue or the poorly installed Field Turf pitch, struggled to penetrate and complete passes. Hernandez and Jacobson worked hard to plug holes as the Whitecaps decided that a direct, long ball style was their best approach. Overall the midfield simply could not create much of anything and a large part of that was due to Castillo being all but invisible for the first 45 minutes.

After Ferreira's departure, Dallas seemed to regain some emotion and seriously began to push back and find that the Whitecaps as a team looked to be on different tactical pages. Dallas was essentially a three wheeled car for the final 35 minutes or so, they did find a way to win the match, but it was never pretty or anything Hyndman is going to want to latch onto (other than the "guts" part, but FCD has always had that under Schellas).

As for the Ferreira tackle: Leathers is only guilty of committing the same tackle you see in leagues all over the world every match. Guy gets beat, guy works to cover, guy lunges from behind to poke a ball away and in the process takes out the opponent's legs. Just in this instance, the toe of David's shoe gets stuck in the turn and his foot stays vertical while the rest of him turns. You know the rest.

The reality is that is by FIFA's "Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees" what Leather's was guilty of is, or should have been, was, "Serious Foul Play".
A tackle that endangers the safety of an opponent must be sanctioned as
serious foul play. Any player who lunges at an opponent in challenging for the
ball from the front, from the side or from behind using one or both legs, with
excessive force and endangering the safety of an opponent is guilty of serious foul play.


Referees in leagues all over the globe rarely call this exact tackle anything more than a foul. Leather's did touch the ball, but that isn't supposed to matter. The Law of the Game are explict in that direction. The problem is that the punishment of ejection is such a game changer, referees won't red card tackles from behind because of the fallout. Ferreira receives this foul at least twice a match, and maybe the guilty party gets a yellow 25% of the time.

Unfortunately the law of averages finally turned against David this time and for it, he will be out for a considerable stretch of time with a double fracture (tibia and fibula).

Much like a lot that is wrong with officiating in soccer, there are plenty of proper laws in place, FIFA and their officials just need to enforce them by the letter of the law. Eventually the players will make the changes needed to fall in line and the sport will be far better for it.



Grades:(5 is an average performance, 10 is a world-class mindbender. Please note in my system, each player is held to a different standard based on their experience, position and expectation. ie: a Luna grade of "5" is likely different that a Milton grade of "5".)

Hartman: 6 - Dallas is really going to need his vocal leadership

Jackson: 5 - Was woefully poor in the 1st half, but his attacking style was important in the 2nd half

John: 8 - Continues to do little things that make average defenders turn into great defenders

Ugo: 4 - Another match he loses out for a header that becomes a goal, and looked shaky in other key moments. Is he struggling with his recovery?

Benitez: 6 - Like Jackson, he was key to comeback, actually impressive as a midfielder

Chavez: 5 - Simply not effecting matches as much as that position needs to and if team switches to 4-4-2, will that help/hurt him?

Hernandez: 5 - The middle of the park continues to struggle

Jacobson: 5 - See above

Ferreira: 4 - Harsh, yes, but the PK miss was shameful and before that it was another match David really struggled to find his space

Shea: 5 - Looked very rusty at midfield, but oddly comfortable at right back later in the match

Castillo: 3 - Not sure why Hyndman tried to force this fit.

Subs:

Avila: 8 - Another heroic late match winner. But the kid is going to have to put in an effective 90 minutes to be more than a super sub. Unfortunately, he may get a shot to prove he can

Milton: 7 - A very large part of why team settled as he worked hard to help with possession, but his lack of speed is really hurting him and the side in the final third

Alexander: 6 - Still think this kid can help his team. So calm and poised on the ball.

Match: "B+" - The Ferreira drama alone was compelling, but FC Dallas' fight back was a bloody, ugly three points for the good guys.

Ed note: Grades are for entertainment purposes only. Do not take them to heart, personally or otherwise. If you don’t like the grades may we suggest instead of only calling the author names and bein’ an anonymous meanie, how about you put your grades and explanation in the comment section below. After doing that, then you can then call the author names and remain anonymous, you just won’t be a meanie. Discourse is good for the soul.