Dallas Soccer: Ben Olsen

FC Dallas’ Head Coach Schellas Hyndman
On his team’s defensive performance:
I thought our defense gave some silly balls away and I think [D.C. United] capitalized on it. It was something that we talked about before the game, “don’t give the balls away in the defending third and don’t give the balls away in the middle third,” and I thought we did that fairly well. It just seemed that before they scored the second goal there was a period of time when we had a hard time getting the ball and keeping it. Our defense was just under a lot of pressure and it showed.

FC Dallas Defender Ugo Ihemelu
On his team’s performance:
It was a disappointing game. We knew coming here that they didn’t have a win, were at home, and wanted to get a result and they were going to fight to the end. First half, we had opportunities which we capitalized, but we just let down. That was it.

On what went wrong:
We just let down, there wasn’t enough energy. We knew they were going to come out hard and fight for a win; they weren’t going to settle for a tie. So, we have to match that energy and go after them – we are on the road. We knew what to expect.

FC Dallas forward Blas Perez
On his team’s performance:
Despite not winning, I have to say [D.C. United] is a great team, with players that stand out. We have to keep working. It was a hard hit that won’t let us sleep, that’s the truth. We must try to get a win on Thursday and forget about tonight.”

On his scoring:
I have a lot of faith that I will score more goals, and that’s what I’m working for. I wanted to score more here but I needed to get better balls. Luckily, I was given one by D.C.’s central defense and I was able to score. It’s good for my self-confidence but it’s useless because the team didn’t get a win, tie or add points. So, I leave with a bitter taste.

D.C. United Head Coach Ben Olsen

On the win:
First off, it’s nice to win for the fans here. We haven’t given them much but I thought we put on a pretty good show. It was probably a pretty entertaining game to watch back and forth early.

On making changes at half:
In the second half I thought we were pretty good. We executed some of the things we talked about all week very well and we scored two goals.

On Danny Cruz and Nick DeLeon:
They had a big impact on the offensive end but they also had a big impact on the defensive end. I certainly appreciated the way they worked on both sides of the ball. I would hate to play against him [Cruz]. He’s a really competitive guy and just doesn’t quit. Nick [DeLeon] has very good soccer instincts for a young kid and I thought both of them played very well.

D.C. United forward Maicon Santos
On his first goal:
I’ve been trying every game I’ve been playing for D.C. United. You guys know that. I’ve been trying to shoot from long distance. That’s what I do. Work and shoot from long distance.

On playing with Dwayne De Rosario:
We know each other, so we understand. He knows where I’m going to be, so we work together.

On the result:
That’s a big win for us. It makes us relax.

D.C. United goalkeeper Joe Willis
On United’s performance:
We came out well. We had a lot of fight in us and I think it showed. I guess they caught us ball watching a bit at the beginning but I was able to make the saves and we got rejuvenated after that. I think the team played really well. I just did what I was supposed to do.

FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman

It was a very difficult game for both teams. The conditions were quite difficult. I thought both teams did everything they could to keep the other team from scoring. We had 14 shots to their four. I think we dominated probably a little bit better on the scoring opportunities, but I think you would expect that being the home team. It was a hard-fought game. As I said to the players, I couldn’t ask any more out of them. They gave everything they had. Sometimes we measure people on wins and losses and today was a game where I thought we got everything we could (from them).

On subbing Guarda and Avila in the midfield…

I think it got a little bit difficult in the midfield because they were basically playing a counter-attacking type of game where when they won the ball in the midfield, they could come out and put pressure on us, so I think our midfielders had to work awfully hard to support our attack. Then they had to come back and get into shape and help Daniel. So, I thought it was more just going through fatigue and I thought it was necessary to get some fresh legs on the field, as (DC United) did.

Was this just one of those nights where that’s how soccer goes…

We had a similar result against Kansas City. We didn’t do the things we wanted to do and we ended up losing that game pretty badly. This wasn’t one of those games where I thought we played badly. I thought they did a good job of stopping us from doing the things we wanted to do. And then I think we missed some great opportunities, in particular Marvin (Chavez’s) opportunity. How often does that happen? He did a fantastic job winning it and then, you know… what you tell goalkeepers is when you’re looking at a player running down at you, just force them to make a mistake and that (goal) could have been the game.

FC Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman
On tonight's match…
We certainly had to battle as a defense today. A lot of the game we were frustrated by [D.C. United's] organization and the shape they were able to maintain for the majority of the game. They put pressure on us at the right time and they forced us to cough up the ball. We were not able to put in any of the few opportunities that we had away. We are disappointed to not walk away with three points, but at the same time we are realistic enough to realize we did not create the opportunities that would give us three points.

On the second 0-0 draw between FC Dallas and D.C. United this season…
If you look at their roster, they have a great offensive lineup and their guys are willing to work. You always have to worry about D.C. United, the pressure they apply to you. That being said, we moved them from side-to-side for a long time and we weren't able to open up the spots and the angles we needed to win the game.

FC Dallas midfielder Ricardo Villar
On FC Dallas overcoming injuries…
It's going to be three games in a week and we're going to need the whole roster. Everyone is coming in and doing their job, so hopefully we can keep getting results.

On tonight's match…
Today, the ball just did not go in for us. We didn't give it much of a chance. It's one of those days were you battle the heat and we didn't get a lucky break.

On the D.C. United counterattack…
They sat back and played off the counter, so it was a lot of running. In this heat that isn't easy, but we found it in ourselves to keep going, keep battling and keep creating chances. We just didn't put them away this time.

FC Dallas defender Ugo Ihemelu
On tonight's match…
It was probably one of the tougher games we've played so far this season. Dealing with the heat and having two games against Real Salt Lake, we didn't have a lot of time to recover, so that was tough. It was the second game we had to get a win and so I think we came out and that took a lot of energy out of us. The heat really catches up to you. I think we gave it everything we had. We wanted a better result, but that's how soccer goes sometimes.

On D.C. United…
We expected them to come with energy and confidence because they just had a good result against New York in New York. We knew they'd come in with a lot of confidence and they'd want to keep building off their result in New York. I think they did. They came in, kept a good shape and didn't give us anything easy. Their front five guys are talented and really dangerous, but we did all right dealing with them. If the ball had bounced our way once we would have won.

DC United head coach Ben Olsen

We didn’t lose. This is one of the toughest places to play in summer. You look at Dallas when you get the schedule and you’re hoping you get them early or late. Today was just one of those days where either team could have taken it. They certainly had better chances and they were probably more aggressive in the offensive part, but give the guys credit it’s not easy to come out here and shut down a very athletic and fast team. Overall, it was very good point for us.

Are you comfortable with your team’s performance going forward?

You’re never comfortable with your team. You always want more and you’re always looking to get better but I really think the additions have helped us. We have some good depth now. We just have to get fully healthy.

DC United forward Charlie Davies

Away at Dallas is extremely difficult. Getting a point is alright. We are happy with that. It would have been better to pull off another win but a point here is good.

On the heat…

It’s like playing in a sauna. It makes the game extremely difficult and unfortunately we didn’t start playing until the 75th minute. If we were able to knock the ball around earlier it would have been a better outcome for us.

What must the team do to keep getting results…

Just keep playing tough and creating chances and I think if we continue to start from the back and focus on defense, everything will take care of itself.

Monday morning gaffer: FC Dallas at D.C. United

August, 16, 2010
Make no mistake, despite the win this was a poor overall performance from FC Dallas. The fact FCD managed to win the game is a big reason why they should be legit contenders this season for a MLS Cup. To win on the road without your best game is a hallmark of a really good team. But let's not let the win paper over the cracks. There are some problem spots in this team still.

El Bueno (The Good)

- With the win, FCD ties a MLS record for unbeaten road games at nine. That's a terrific accomplishment. There are so many tough places to play on the road in MLS, heck any road game is tough. The resilience and work rate it takes to perform on the road time after time is a terrific sign for FCD. Grit and guts won this in the end for FCD, but it wasn't pretty.

- Kevin Hartman is by far the Man of the Match for me. Those four colossal saves in the first half stole this game for FCD. In MLS about all you can ask for from a starting keeper is to be solid from game to game. It's a pure bonus when a keeper steps up and gets you three points on the road. Kevin Hartman won this game for FCD. Without that first half performance FCD is getting routed.
"Up until that point [the first Dallas goal], there was some pretty good stuff. It seemed like after we missed Danny's chance, we took it the wrong way. I felt like there was some air let out." - Ben Olsen

"It was one of those games where you make an early save and have confidence." - Kevin Hartman

- Zack Loyd wasn't great, but he wasn't bad either. For a rookie to step into Ugo Ihemelu's shoes and put in a solid game like that is a terrific thing for any coach and team. At 5'9" Loyd is surprisingly good in the air, something Ihemelu does well, so there wasn't much trouble there. Loyd reads the game well and played in good combination with John.

- Is Jeff Cunningham starting to heat up? Three goals in two games is very nice. He always was a guy that needed to be challenged. Time to start thinking about getting two strikers on the field or keep him as a late game counter attacking threat?
"Historically, Jeff, as has been noted many times by many people, is a streaky player. And he's at his best in the hot months – July and August is when he traditionally starts to pick up. So we're right where he's most comfortable.

Jeff's getting motivated. He’s having better practices. He’s more focused. He’s more team-oriented. Before, he was hitting the crossbar. Now the ball is going in. If he's productive, we need to get him on the field more." - Schellas Hyndman to the Dallas Morning News.

- This just in, Andy Najar can play. He might be the only good thing to come out of DC this season.

- Ruben Luna in the 18 is a win for FCD. Next home game get him 10 to 15 minutes at the end.

- A very short stint from Jackson, but you can see why Schellas Hyndman wanted him. Pace, some foot skill, some soccer savvy, this kid's got some game. From today, the over under on Jackson starting at right back is 2.5 more games.

- Count me on board the Ben Olsen will be a great coach bandwagon. He needs to be an assist a little bit, but couple season down the line he will be ready.

- Some terrific pics of this game can be found here.

El Camino Central (Middle of the Road)

- Except for the fact he scored and had an assist, ok it was an amazing assist, I would have put Eric Alexander on the bottom section. He has such great little moments, shows such class here and there; but to much of the game he's just drifting, not nearly intense enough, and far to casual. There are to many turnovers and to many soft moments. I was one of the first people this spring to sing this kids praises. I think he eventually could be really good. But right now he's not focused and concentrating for 90 minutes, and that will keep him out of the lineup when Dax McCarty returns. I still think Alexander is better right now than the other options, Avila and Guarda, but he could be so much more.

- Milton Rodriguez is doing a ton of hard work playing striker by himself. That's not an easy gig, particularly for a guy who is really an off striker. He brings a lot of smarts and understanding to the game, see his assist on the Alexander goal, but he does need to get some goals here. I'm not by any means worried, but I really look forward to seeing what he can do with a playing partner.

No Tan Bueno (Not So Good)

- I don't think you can undersell how much this team misses Dax McCarty. It's not just McCarty's possession, although that is a big part of it. But also his linking play and and passing. McCarty is one of the few players on this side that can make a simple move, touch, or pass to get out of trouble and relieve pressure. Letting the defense move out or the offense get forward is very important in a possession team. Not to mention McCarty's knack for quick little defense grabs to snip the ball away.

- It's probably a symptom of a couple above points, but there were far, far to many turnovers in midfield. Hartman saved FCD's bacon several times, but almost any other team than DC would have pounded FCD for those mistakes. Multiple turnovers resulted in odd man rushes for DC and that's a sure fire way to lose most games. If, that is, the opposition is capable of scoring at all. Imagine the score line if that had been LA or Columbus. Ouch.

- Heath Pearce's Magnum PI mustache... good lord man, that's horrible!! Funny, sure. But this isn't 1976.

- For the first 30 minutes FC Dallas got played off the park. When FCD stole that first goal against the run of play DC basically folded. Up until that point FCD had been beaten in every single facet of the game. After the goal DC backed down and sat deeper, allowing FCD to develop their possession game. This first 30 showed a new model of how to handle FCD: play high pressure, physical defense to kill the FCD flow. In Dallas it's so hot that won't really work. In this one FCD showed they can counter attack and punish you if you can't maintain the intensity and focus. Is there a team that can pull it off for 90?
"Everything was there. The pressure, the energy, we were actually keeping the ball and moving it. It's tough going into the locker room wasting that much energy and not being up." - Devon McTavish

- Some people aren't to fond of me ripping Jair Benitez, so I'll just say this one thing. The own goal is a mental brain fart and lapse in concentraion, and Benitez does that at least once every game. At the higher levels of play, one lapse is all it takes to cost a game.

- Atiba Harris' form in front of net continues to be shocking. Refined he isn't. If Harris had some finishing class he'd be one of the best right mids in MLS. Instead he's looking like a trouble spot between the turnovers and poor choices in the final third.