Dallas Soccer: Bryan Leyva
A more level field? -- Salt Lake will be without Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando for this one as both starters are with the U.S. national team. But it’s not like FCD hasn’t faced RSL before without Beckerman. Yordany Alvarez will spell Beckerman, the man Dallas fans love to hate, in the central midfield while Kyle Reynish will be between the posts. However, Salt Lake was without both top striker Fabian Espindola and former MLS Defender of the Year Jamison Olave the last time these clubs played to a 1-1 draw in Frisco back in April. Still, not having Beckerman and Rimando is definitely big for FCD. In other RSL-related injury news, it looks like either defender Chris Wingert or midfielder Javier Morales won’t play. Morales will most likely be the one to return, leaving Jason Kreis’ back line without the services of Wingert.
Rio Tinto demons -- Sure, the sample size is a small one, but in regular-season matches, FC Dallas has not fared well at all at Rio Tinto Stadium since its opening, going 0-4-1 and scoring a grand total of three goals in those five matches. Of course, there is one draw among those five results and FCD did register another draw in Sandy during the 2010 playoffs, so this is far from an impossible task. But RSL’s home field advantage is one of the best in MLS and against a Dallas side that has struggled away from home to put it mildly this year means this is one streak that most likely lives on after this weekend.
Study in contrasts -- The biggest contrast in this game might be in the amount of rest each club has had. RSL hasn’t played in two weeks, last hitting the pitch on May 12 for a 1-0 win at Seattle. Since then, Dallas has already played three times and will add a fourth match in two weeks in Saturday’s tilt at Rio Tinto. Even without the services of Beckerman, RSL will be a much more crisp, well-oiled machine compared to a highly fatigued FCD side that comes into this game fresh off an emotional yet controversial 2-1 loss at Chicago on Wednesday, the first time the club had lost at Toyota Park. So the big question is how much does Dallas have left?
Light at the end -- The good news for FCD is that after Saturday’s match in the Beehive State, they won’t play again for two weeks as they get a two-week break of their own. That being said, one has to wonder what the mentality would be heading into this game. Does FCD look to end their winless streak and head into their layoff on a hugely positive note, possibly using a draw or win at RSL as a springboard to the rest of the year? Or do they see getting through the Salt Lake game as a mere necessity, a way to finally get some rest and even if their winless streak does indeed hit nine games, just get out of RSL and get some rest? Some might think the second question is more than a bit off base but it’s human nature when things aren’t going bad, especially in a team setting, that at least some members of the roster are going to see the glass half empty, just saying.
Shea’s last break -- Another good thing about Saturday’s match from a Dallas standpoint is that it will be the final game of Brek Shea’s three-game suspension. Then again, Shea wasn’t exactly at the top of his game when he was suspended. Maybe part of that was the turf toe he was battling and then again, maybe it was nothing more than a dip in form. But getting him back for the Houston game will be huge, especially since FCD has been missing something on the flanks lately. Bryan Leyva played well against Philadelphia but displayed some serious inconsistency in a forgettable performance at Chicago. Fabian Castillo didn’t even travel to the Windy City and it’s doubtful he plays on Saturday, which likely means Carlos Rodriguez or Scott Sealy gets the call on the flank likely alongside Leyva. No matter who starts at the two flank midfield spots on Saturday at Rio Tinto, it will illustrate one thing, how crucial Shea is to any success FCD is to have or not have in 2012.
But you kind of have to give the ex-Fire coach some credit; the book is in on how to take FCD off their game: foul them and foul them frequently. And until the league decides to do something about such a brand of physical play, if they ever do, that’s exactly what Dallas can expect to face almost each and every time they hit the pitch this year.
Sure, some, including coach Schellas Hyndman, ex-captain Daniel Hernandez and current leading scorer Blas Perez have some merit behind them when they gripe about the current lack of calls going their way. But no matter the sport, it seems like teams who complain the most about officiating never seem to get any calls and that theory is definitely in play here.
However, some who have already analyzed exactly what went wrong against Philly have clearly missed the point. The game turned late in the first half when Hernan Pertuz had to leave the pitch on a stretcher with what Hyndman later termed a possible foot injury. We’ll know more on Pertuz’s status going forward on Monday but when he left the game, Hyndman had no choice but to put the versatile Carlos Rodriguez out there in Pertuz’s place.
Some wondered why Hyndman wouldn't go with homegrown talent Moises Hernandez instead of Rodriguez, well the answer to that is simple. Hernandez hasn’t exactly set the world on fire in reserve games and while some might want to see what he’s got, he’s still a long way from logging minutes with the first team, plain and simple. So, a less than 100 percent Rodriguez was still a much better option than a talented yet raw Hernandez.
And once Pertuz left the field, Philly centered much of their attack on the left flank. Once again, a tactical adjustment by Nowak that allowed his side to leave Frisco with just their fourth point all year on the road.
Hyndman addressed losing Pertuz and it being a key point in the game in his postgame remarks to the media. “I think one key point was when Pertuz got hurt. It changed our defense. We weren’t as strong in the air. We weren’t as strong marking wise,” Hyndman said.
“That changed the game to the point where if you look at the number of chances that Philadelphia had late, it was normally turnovers in the back third. I thought we were doing that quite well in the first half. The moment Pertuz got hurt, I think it changed,” he said.
While this team has been rocked by a litany of injuries, suspensions and textbook boneheaded plays, one of the biggest question marks heading into this season was this club’s lack of depth. And as the saying goes, our worst fears have been realized. As Hyndman put it, when Philly decided to get physical, Dallas simply didn’t have the personnel on the bench to handle it.
But if there is a bright spot to all this it is that at least on Wednesday night in Chicago, FCD figures to have right back Zach Loyd, who missed Saturday’s game on suspension, back in the fold. Fabian Castillo could also return after Hyndman called him 70 percent on Friday even with his ankle injury. The thought of having Castillo on one flank and fellow youngster Bryan Leyva on the other is a great idea indeed and who knows, maybe FCD can continue their unbeaten run at Toyota Park and finish May with at least one win?
Leyva got his first career assist, delivering a great ball on a corner kick seven minutes in that first found the head of George John and then Blas Perez, who finished nicely for his team-leading fourth goal of the year.
Dallas gaffer Schellas Hyndman didn’t have many good things to say after seeing his club blow a 1-0 lead for the fourth time in their last seven games, but he did heap some praise on the young shoulders of his pacey midfielder.
“What a nice performance for Bryan Leyva, a player that was coming along for us, picked up an injury and now he’s coming back, getting his rhythm and getting in with the team,” Hyndman said. “I thought he played very well. I thought he was composed. I thought he was able to get some very good passes. He’s a player that if he can continue to get more and more playing time, he could very well compete for a starting position on this team.”
Leyva had yet to speak with his coach but admitted in the locker room postgame that it felt good to be able to contribute after getting several starts in March only to be sidelined by several injuries.
“I haven’t talked to Schellas other than when he walked by and said that I had played well. I felt great,” he said. “It was my first game back since I injured my ankle. It did not give me any trouble during the game. I hope I can continue to play and contribute to this team.”
The homegrown talent was only in the first 11 because Brek Shea was serving the first of a three-game suspension and Fabian Castillo was out with an ankle injury. Castillo could return for this Wednesday’s tilt at Chicago, but why not leave Leyva in for the next few games and see what this kid has?
Overall thoughts on the game… I thought our players were really focused. They were very competitive tonight from the beginning to the end. We scored a nice goal, created some very good chances in the first half, and then the game just kind of got to the point where, unfortunately, it was more physical than it needed to be. I don't think our depth is strong enough right now with the injuries to handle it. I think one key point was when [Hernan] Pertuz got hurt. I think it changed our defense. We weren't as strong in the air and we weren't as strong marking-wise. All in all, the players showed up today to play and they gave us everything they had.
On Bryan Leyva's game tonight:
What a nice performance from Bryan Leyva, a player who was coming along for us, and then picked up an injury. Now, he's coming back and getting his rhthym. I thought he played very well. He was composed and was able to make some very good passes. He's a player that, if he can continue to get more playing time, he can compete for a starting position on this team.
On how the game changed in the second half:
If you look at the number of chances that Philadelphia had late, it was from turnovers in the back third. I thought we were doing well in the first half. If you look at the beginning of the second half, I think in the first 10 to 15 minutes we were doing the things that we wanted to do. The moment Pertuz got hurt, I really think it changed.
FC Dallas forward Blas Perez
Talk about what happened during your goal It was a corner kick, so I tried to get to the far post because I was thinking that was where the ball was going to end up. I was lucky enough to have the ball pop up for me. I was even luckier to not get injured on the play. It gave us a little gas during the early part of the first half.
Was this the most physical game you’ve played so far this season?
It wasn’t been the most physical game but there were some bad fouls. There is really nothing you can do about that but go back and try and play your game and let the referees do the best job they can do.
Did getting an early goal lift the team in the first half?
It was a big goal. It gave us a confidence boost for the rest of the first half. The second we didn’t pressure Philadelphia like we needed to and we gave away a goal on a mistake. We may have had a few more chances than them but [Chase] Harrison played well. He made some big saves for Philadelphia.
FC Dallas midfielder Daniel Hernandez
On how he felt playing a 4-5-1 with Andrew Jacobson, James Marcelin and himself in the middle I thought Andrew [Jacobson], James [Marcelin] and I were very comfortable with one another in the middle. We did a good job. I felt good. We had a good rhythm going. Philadelphia likes to crowd the midfield and I felt we did a good job of containing them.
On his first time playing next to James Marcelin
It was good. There was good communication. We were in the right places. It’s a style of play we’re comfortable with, one we have been playing for years. I think we play our best soccer in that formation.
How does it feel, getting three points at home?
It doesn’t feel good, just getting a point at home. You want three points. You want to win every time at home. I thought we played well enough to win. It’s just same old story. We can’t find a way to get three points.
FC Dallas Homegrown midfielder Bryan Leyva
On his performance tonight… I haven’t talked to Schellas other than when he walked by and said that I had played well. I felt great. It was my first game back since I injured my ankle. It did not give me any trouble during the game. I hope I can continue to play and contribute to this team.
How frustrating is it to lose a lead like that?
It’s really frustrating. I know how hard each and every one of my teammates works during training. We worked hard the whole week to be able to come out here and attack the game. We did, and we were up a goal and to let the lead slip away is very frustrating. Despite the tie, the guys still have a good attitude. It gives me confidence to be amongst a positive group of guys like that.
Philadelphia Union head coach Peter Nowak
Talk about the first half vs. the second half
We talked about how we are going to start the game and we wanted to continue to play how we did against New York, but they got the goal in the seventh minute which basically cuts you off immediately.
Talk about the adjustments you made coming into this match
We had Michael Lahoud with us for the first time, so he tried to find his feet and understand the system. We made some pretty good adjustments at halftime and basically executed very well in the second half. We created chances. We scored a goal and a couple of inches of luck here and there and we could have won the game. The 45 minutes was a good continuation of what we’ve been talking about in the past weeks and months of how we want to play and is a good sign of the future. We’re not going to slow down we’re going to play like that in the future and remainder of the season.
On Chase Harrison’s performance
He was very courageous on a couple of corner kicks and crosses and the free kicks from the sides. As you can see right now, he took some hits. Some hits on the head and some on the ankle. So listen, you always keep everyone fresh and everyone on their toes because you never know what is going to happen.
Talk about the result
This is a very positive result for us after a disappointing loss against New York. Because we all felt bad thinking we had played our best game of the season, so it’s a good sign of the continuation. That the guys are starting to believe in the way we play. As I’ve said, there’s still work to do, but we are moving forward as a group and we are going to keep fighting.
What have to tried to change in the first couple games this season?
What we tried to change was just the defensive game. Which we didn’t have in the first part of seven or eight games and we’ve tried to make it better. Now we are more dangerous. People are looking at us like ‘what are we going to do?’ We made the changes and we get shots, so the backline is stepping up and creating room and creating the chances. It’s time. It’s the new guys settling in. They know each other. They play with each other, so now the understanding as a group is pretty good and we’re going to keep fighting.
Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Chase Harrison
On his first start
It’s great. It’s been a long road getting here. I’ve been on several different teams and to have the coaching staff here believe in me, that I can get the job done; it means a lot that the coaching staff has my back and I’m glad we were able to come out and get the result.
On returning to Philadelphia
It was still up in the air. There were still a lot of things that happened in the offseason that happened behind the scenes that made me feel like they might be bringing me back, but it was hard to say until it got closer to preseason and when they gave me the call and said: ‘Hey we’d like to bring you in. We think this is going to be a good opportunity for you to come in.’ I came into preseason. Did well and they ended up signing me for the season.
On Dallas’ goal
When that early goal gets in you have to say, ‘alright that’s done. There’s nothing else I can do about it, so let’s just play hard for the rest of the 82 minutes left in the game. Let’s recoup and move onto the next play of the game.’
On his ankle injury
This happened probably 60 minutes into the game. I came out onto a cross and rolled it. And then I did a kick save to my near post and it tweaked it again. And the contact there at the end, it wasn’t bad contact, but when I stepped I rolled it again. It was extremely painful. It looked like I was wasting time, but I knew the referee was going to add more time anyways. I just rolled it again at the end there.
Philadelphia Union midfielder Michael Farfan
On the second half
In the first half, we just couldn’t get a rhythm. We were not possessing the ball too well. But in the second half we came out and spread it out a little more. We adjusted well and we got a good amount of chances. I think we put more pressure and we came out a little stronger [in the second half]. We were able to get out on the flanks and create a couple chances here and there, so I think we did a lot better in the second half.
On the player changes coming into the game
We’re familiar with everyone that we’ve played with, so I think we all know our tendencies pretty well by now. I think we were prepared for this game just like any other game.
On playing with Chase
I think he as confident coming into the game. He does well in training, so I don’t think anyone was more nervous with him back there.
On locker room reaction to recent trades
We just stay positive. We just have to look forward to the next game. We can’t really dwell on the past, so I think we just look to the next game, train hard and come out strong.
FRISCO, Texas -- Gabriel Gomez scored in the 56th minute to help the Philadelphia Union tie FC Dallas, 1-1, on Saturday night.
Blas Perez scored for Dallas in the seventh minute.
Philadelphia (2-6-2) stopped a three-game losing, and Dallas (3-6-4) extended its winless streak to seven games -- the club's longest streak since a 10-game run in 2005.
Gomez scored on a header into the left corner of the net from the top of the goalie's box. Gomez collided with goalkeeper Kevin Hartman on the play and left the game in the 58th minute as he limped to celebrate his fourth goal of the year.
The Union's Carlos Valdes fired a long ball from near midfield that bounced off Dallas' Carlos Rodriguez and to Gomez. The goal came on Philadelphia's first shot of the game. It was the first time all season that the Union did not have a shot in a half. For the game FC Dallas outshot the Union 11-9. Dallas' Perez had an open shot at the Union goal, but goalkeeper Chase Harrison blocked the shot for one of his two saves in the game.
Perez opened the scoring when he headed a shot into the right corner of the net. The scoring sequence was started after Bryan Leyva curled a corner kick from the right corner to George John. John directed the ball to Perez, who made a diving header from inside the goalie's box.
Dallas played the first of three games without midfielder Brek Shea, suspended after he kicked a ball at an assistant referee in a 2-1 loss to Columbus on May 12. The Union played without starting midfielder after Freddy Adu, suspended for picking up two yellow cards in the team's 3-2 loss to New York on Sunday.
Your eyes can deceive you; don't trust them. - Obi-Wan Kenobi
It's been a while since I've done a practice observations, life can sometimes get in the way. But I was in town so I stopped by Frisco for Friday's session.
- Based on what I saw today I wouldn't think Brek Shea would play this weekend. FCD has shut him down as a precaution, today he just did some light jogging and walking. Shea has a turf tow injury he picked up in Vancouver. He did play on it in LA and technically he's a game time decision. Coach Schellas Hyndman seems to think Shea can go, but with three games in seven days they may not risk him for this one.
- If Shea is out Scott Sealy seems the most probably to start in his place with Jackson just back and Adnrew Wiedeman & Carlos Rodriguez both injured.
- New trialist... or really a new signing. James Marcelin a Hatian holding mid recently waived by Portland Timbers (to make room for Steven Smith). Marcelin is a big kid, looks athletic and rangy in training, his touch looks good. FCD has requested to claim him off waivers after he played in the FCD Reserve game this week. There is an order to the waiver process, so once he clears to FCD he will be added to the FCD roster. That should happen today. He's a replacement for Bobby Warshaw, although even without Warshaw being on injured reserve FCD does have an open space.
- Fernando Clavijo is down in Panama scouting players. FCD may look to bring someone into the club next window. They have some room, a mid tier number perhaps. A "big" move would require FCD clearing some cap... The latter is what I expect to happen this summer.
- Bryan Leyva was missing today, he called in sick. Yes, seriously.
- Carlos Rodriguez was outside jogging for the first time since he was injured. He looks to be way off a return to me, couple weeks to my non0doctor eye. Hyndman confirmed C-Rod is not close.
- Ricardo Villar is jogging and doing some ball work. Moved better than Shea I thought. Getting close on Villar return to training.
- Kevin Hartman is back to full training and Hydnman says he had a great week. Hyndman hasn't made a cal yet as to who will start.
- FCD ran shot training sessions all this week, the hope is it will help their recover time in the short window before their next game after playing Colorado this weekend.
But this season, Ferruzzi has added another responsibility as the new coach of the Dallas reserves. And through their first four games, the FCD reserves are 3-1-0 with nine points, tying them with Houston for the top spot in the Central/Mountain Division of the MLS Reserve League.
Bryan Levya and Jonathan Top each have two goals thus far for the reserves while FCD academy player Michael Ambrose, who is heading to the University of Maryland, currently leads the club with two assists.
In short, the man coaching this group couldn’t be happier.
“Well, it’s been good. The approach from the group has been very positive and committed. I think the one thing we started off with in speaking to the group is that this is an opportunity for you guys to get prepared to play first-team minutes but you have handle these games as important as the first-team games in terms of wanting to play well in terms of wanting to win those games because the results are important,” Ferruzzi said.
And the longtime FCD assistant feels that making sure his players have that same mentality is one of his biggest responsibilities with this young group.
“It’s all the same mentality that you have playing in the first team. If you sit there and you take it as an exercise or you take it as an individual and you separate it from the bigger picture, you’re not going to get the most out of it. So, they’ve taken it the right way,” Ferruzzi said.
So far, the only blemish on the FCD reserves this season is a loss to Houston, who they currently share the division lead with.
“They’ve gotten good results. I think they matched up against Houston, which on paper a good team, and they ended up getting a good result against us but I think we competed against them. It’s given those boys a chance every single week to be in Schellas’ 18 and some of them have already been in the 11,” Ferruzzi said.
Of course, this isn’t the first incarnation of the MLS Reserve League. But this Frisco fixture admits it’s nice to not have to basically pull guest players off the street as was often the case in the earlier incarnation of this league.
“It’s been enjoyable. From the first couple go arounds where we were scrapping for players because of injuries, schedule congestion and the timing of everything, I like the fact that we’re bringing in academy guys. Everybody that’s coming in is an FC Dallas part of the organization and I think it’s benefitting them,” Ferruzzi said. “They’re going to go away to school. They’re going to be that much more confident, that much more able and with that whole idea of being connected to us and coming back. There’s that whole continuity with us, which I like. So I think it’s got a lot of legs.”
M ANDREW JACOBSON (hamstring injury in first half of Saturday’s win over Montreal)
Hyndman: It [his condition] is a big improvement from yesterday but there’s still a little bit of swelling in the back of the leg and we’re going to be very cautious this week and see if we can get him back for this game.
M BRYAN LEYVA (ankle sprain picked up in training last week)
Hyndman: No it wasn’t [in last week’s reserve game that he picked up that injury]. It was out here in training and it was just a couple days ago. He’ll be going for the reserve game today [Monday].
D HERNAN PERTUZ (leg injury in first half of Montreal game)
Hyndman: Much better as well, it happened about the last 10 minutes of the half. He just took a pretty hard hit to the middle of the foot. He’s getting treatment. Today was a recovery day, so neither player was really asked to do anything but I think he’ll be a player that we’ll just continue to watch as well.
M RICARDO VILLAR (foot injury in first half of 1-0 win over New England on April 5
Hyndman: Very good improvement, his toe is probably the area that’s got the greatest concern. The reason for that is it’s an area where you really explode from, that part of your foot. Right now we’re just grading it.
“Yeah, Bruno’s a possibility. Warshaw’s a possibility but we’re also getting Daniel [Hernandez] back. If we stay in the 4-4-2, it could be Daniel and AJ side-to-side holding midfielders and then we’ll add on another striker, which now gives us what we’ve had before as that attacking midfielder,” Hyndman said. “So we’ll just have to wait and see. Right now with the reserve game, you’ve seen the last few practices we’re lower numbers. Today the boys really got a good workout in, a good hour-45 minutes of good work and I was really pleased with that.”
So decisions have to be made in terms of lineup. The evidence of sub patterns says Schellas Hyndman has wanted to get George John back in the lineup, and this looks like his chance.
So who else is going to play? Based on various things here's our best guess.
Perez and Villar are no brainers, as are Jacobson, Hernandez, Ihemelu, Hartman, and Loyd. John as I mentioned should step in and I think Petruz will get the call at left back. He's outplayed Benitez anyway, in my opinion. Hyndman moved Benitez to midfield last game and seemed to think it worked based on his quotes. And last, but not least, FCD has an article this week about Bryan Leyva and how he had played well enough to start again, which frankly I agree with.
So here you go...
So what lineup would you run out?
FC Dallas Reserves improve to 2-0-0 with the victory, while the Rapids Reserves fall to 0-2-0. The FC Dallas Reserves next face the Houston Dynamo Reserves on Tuesday, April 10 at FC Dallas Stadium.
DAL – Bryan Leyva (unassisted) 84’
COL – Wells Thompson (Unsporting behavior) 40’
COL – Eddie Ababio (Unsporting behavior) 60’
Colorado Rapids Reserves – Steward Ceus (Ian Joyce 46), Eddie Ababio, Tyrone Marshall, Scott Palguta, Hunter Freeman (*Dillon Serna 73’), Ross LaBauex (Josh Janniere 63’), Joseph Nane, Wells Thompson (Steven Emory 57’), **Edu, **Kamani Hill, Andre Akpan (Kohei Yamada 70’)
Substitutes Not Used: **Franco Donado, Davy Armstrong
FC Dallas Reserves – Chris Sietz, Alex Lee (*Mike Ambrose 87’), Victor Ulloa, Matt Hedges, Moises Hernandez, Bryan Leyva, Bruno Guarda, Bobby Warshaw, Andrew Wiedeman (*Mark Ashby 79’), Ruben Luna (Jon Top 63’), Luis Perea.
Substitutes Not Used: *Danny Garcia, Richard Sanchez
* = Denotes Colorado Rapids Academy or FC Dallas Academy players
**= Denotes trial players
Weather: Partly cloudy, 48 degrees
The decision by the Dallas gaffer that has been so oft discussed is his call to bring on George John just before halftime for midfielder Bryan Leyva, the FCD homegrown player who had performed well in his first Major League Soccer start, even figuring in Blas Perez’s goal about midway through the opening half of play.
Hyndman discussed the ins and outs of his decision to pull Leyva for John after a recovery session on Monday morning and here’s what he had to say.
“The nice thing about people’s opinions is they all have one. If they would see the game the way I see it, from a tactical point of view... after we scored on them, they started picking things up, coming at us with numbers. They’re a big, strong, aggressive team and they are very good on flank play. There were a couple of times where Jair Benitez was marking [Kris] Boyd. That’s not good. I’m a coach looking at that. The guy with the opinion doesn’t see it. The other thing that happens is because they’re attacking so much, they’re getting fouled a lot. Now they’re getting a ton of free kicks.”
And it wasn’t like the call to bring on John was a snap decision by the ex-SMU coach. No, it was one he had been mulling over for the previous few minutes.
“Before I made the decision and I was already thinking about making the decision to get George on the field because we just needed height there, before I made that decision [Lovel] Palmer hit the post with a head ball. [Eric] Alexander missed the follow up because Daniel [Hernandez] got to it first. There was an open header by one of their players that missed the goal completely and another player ran through the box unmarked. This all happened in a span of five minutes. Any of those balls end up in the goal we might have lost the game.”
Of course, part of his thought process on making such a tactical switch centered around his desire to head into halftime with their 1-0 lead still intact.
“I wanted to go into halftime with a 1-0 lead and could I have done it... the timing, let Bryan Leyva play the half out and then make the change at halftime? Yeah, I could have done that, but I felt so confident that we were being exposed that it was my responsibility to make an adjustment and that’s why the decision was made to bring in somebody that could deal with Boyd or the big boys coming through and they had some big boys,” Hyndman said.
Hyndman even admitted there was one Timbers starter he and his staff were unprepared to see, Hanyer Mosquero, who made his league debut after his league paperwork went through the day before.
“Mosquero, the big defender they picked up, we weren’t prepared for him. He just got his approval to play in the league the day before and then [Eric] Brunner, their big, strong center back [was also a handful],” Hyndman said. “Whenever they had a free kick or a corner kick, their whole defense came up. All of them were big. That was the decision."
"Would I make that same decision again? Yeah, I’d make that decision again. The thing I didn’t like was that we lost out in our attacking force but with our attacking force, really the only thing we changed was Bryan Leyva. That was the only one changed and I thought surprisingly, Jair Benitez did a pretty good job [moving up to the midfield].”
Leyva did not disappoint even though he is not normally a flank player. The talented youngster got up and down the right side with ease and in the 22nd minute got a shot on the Timbers goal that was saved by Portland goalkeeper Troy Perkins. Leyva's teammate Blas Perez was ready to pounce on the rebound, giving Dallas a 1-0 lead.
However, just before halftime, FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman noticed several disturbing trends in the match as it headed to the break and took Leyva off in favor of George John. Even though Leyva’s first start lasted just 45 minutes, his coach still raved about his performance.
“I thought Bryan played very well. This was the first time he started for us. He’s been working awfully hard and sometimes opportunities come in different ways,” Hyndman said. “This was an opportunity because we lost Brek and we lost Castillo. And I thought it would be good to give him a chance to play in front of his home crowd and I thought he did a good job.”
While there were plenty of highlights for the young midfielder, there are still plenty of areas where his game still has some rough edges things which his head coach feels will work themselves out over time.
“The biggest minus is probably just the lack of experience, which you would anticipate. With the ball, he’s always been very productive. Without the ball, he’s not been as reliable on both sides of the ball,” Hyndman said. “Now he’s making conscientious adjustments and improvements, so it’s a little bit different when you’ve been playing in the academy leagues and get away with walking back or not being in position. Here it costs you games. But he’ll get more opportunities and I’m sure he’ll continue to work on that.”
As last week progressed and Castillo did not train, speculation began about who would start in his place on the right flank. The logical first choice was Andrew Wiedeman because he played there during preseason, performing well against college competition but not nearly as well against higher-caliber foes during FCD’s weeklong stay in Florida.
However, Hyndman used last week’s Reserve League opener with Real Salt Lake, a game the Dallas reserves won 3-1, as his ultimate determining factor in who would get the nod in place of Castillo. Leyva had a goal in the win over RSL.
“Lot of conversations there, the issue we run into is how they’re really performing in training. Quite honestly, the difference maker was Bryan Leyva played so well in the reserve game, so he caught our attention. He’s coming on, so he’s really playing well and you want to reward someone who’s playing well,” Hyndman said.
But it wasn’t like Wiedeman didn’t play well against Salt Lake. He did rebound nicely after a less than stellar opening 45 minutes to play better in the final frame, but in the end, it wasn’t enough to sway his coach’s judgment.
“I thought Wiedeman did not have an active first half but he played much better the second half in the reserve game. Now we’re throwing him into another level asking him to start. I wanted to reward Bryan and also to generate the other players, to motivate them to say hey, look Bryan got a start. And opportunities come in different ways-call up, injuries, coach’s gut feeling, match-ups,” Hyndman said. “For Bryan, the important thing was he got a call-up [from the reserves].”
It was a good result for us considering we were without three of our most important attacking phase players: Fabian Castillo, Brek Shea and David Ferreira. I was really pleased with the effort the boys put in. I was very happy we fought all the way to the last second. – FCD Head Coach Schellas HyndmanEl Bueno (The Good)
I don’t think you can under sell what a big addition Blas Perez has been. He’s exactly the kind of high striker FCD has needed. Ability to hold the ball, positioning in the box, laying the ball off to attacking midfielders, defense form the front… everything FCD needed.
Zach Loyd has been terrific this year and continues his great form in this game. He’s amazingly fit and is getting down the field even late in games.
I like what I’m seeing from Ricardo Villar in the David Ferreira spot. Villar is linking play well, getting into good spots in the final third, holding for transition, and earning fouls in dangerous spots. I’m beginning to think he might make a good linking mid when Ferreira comes back, giving Jacobson a challenge.
I felt we started off well, thought the first 20-25 minutes we did a lot of things right. Ricardo was getting a lot of touches on the ball. - HyndmanEl Camino Central (Middle of the Road)
Fantastic for Leyva to get his first start, I thought he was solid, even getting in on the goal. Leyva’s sub was about the dangerous crosses and getting a defender into the game, you can see Hyndman say that to him and gesture to the defensive end. Still, that has to be a gutting blow to the kid, I was afraid for a second he might tear up.
He’s a Homegrown player. He has been with us three years and this is the first time he played any minutes. We all felt like he did a very good job, but we may not be able to dodge that bullet if we did not get George John on the field. - Hyndman
Andrew Jacobson for me was a bit hit or miss in this one. He had some solid play defensively, helping clog the midfield, but didn’t add a lot going forward. I’d like to see more box penetration and long range shooting from him.
2 games, 2 starts for Daniel Hernandez... I know the season is young but if he starts all 34 games FCD is going to have a big problem.
No Tan Bueno (not so good)
I’ve long admitted to not being a fan of Jair Benitez’s game, he takes to many risks for me and relays on his pace to recover. As he ages, and he’s not young at 33, that strategy won’t work as his pace diminishes. His form this year isn’t great and I hope this isn’t the beginning of the end. He’s been outplayed in back to back games by both Carlos Rodriguez and Hernan Pertuz was subbed in the first game and shifted to midfield in this one. It won’t shock me to see George John back in the starting lineup with Pertuz wid lefte in the next game.
The fact FCD played the 2nd half with two outside backs at wide midfield (Jair Benitez and Carlos Rodriguez) clearly demonstrates a roster problem. There simply isn’t enough wide mids on the roster. Shea is missing, Castillo hurt, Scott Sealy, who can play there, is banged up… SH clearly has no faith in Andrew Wiedeman. That’s how you end up with Bryan Leyva, who is traditionally more a central player, out wide in the first half and two defenders in the 2nd. FCD needs to find at least one more wide mid Hyndman can actually feel good about putting in a game. Someone like Eric Alexander maybe… oops.
I just think we are very thin right now. I didn’t want to put a player late in the game and have him try and get into the rhythm of the game. That is why we only used one substitution. - Hyndman
General thoughts on the game…
I felt we started off well, thought the first 20-25 minutes we did a lot of things right. Ricardo was getting a lot of touches on the ball. At halftime we talked about how Portland would try to add a little more steam and play rough. It was a good result for us considering we were without three of our most important attacking phase players: Fabian Castillo, Brek Shea and David Ferreira. I was really pleased with the effort the boys put in. I was very happy we fought all the way to the last second.
Thoughts on midfielder Bryan Leyva…
He’s a Homegrown player. He has been with us three years and this is the first time he played any minutes. We all felt like he did a very good job, but we may not be able to dodge that bullet if we did not get George John on the field.
Thoughts on the second half…
I just think we are very thin right now. I didn’t want to put a player late in the game and have him try and get into the rhythm of the game. That is why we only used one substitution.
FC Dallas midfielder Bryan Leyva
On his first start…
I felt great. I was happy and excited to get the start. It's something we all look forward to and I was ready and focused. It wasn't expected. I was in the training room getting treatment and coach came up to me and said to be ready and that I was going to start.
On the shot that led to Blas' goal...
I was running forward and I saw Carlos [Rodriguez] was going to cross it early. Since the field was wet, I knew there was a chance the ball might slip and come back to the second post. I was able to get there. I shot it first time across and really thought it was going to go in because the field was wet and it was bouncing. Fortunately, the keeper saved it towards Blas [Perez] and he put it away.
FC Dallas midfielder Andrew Jacobson
General thoughts on the game…
It was a tough game. They are a much-improved team, especially on the road. They have a lot of athleticism. They know what they do well and they come in and do it. They make things difficult. I don't think we had our best game. We played a little bit into them and started playing their game a little bit, but we were missing some big players and we needed other guys to step up. There's a lot to take away from that for sure. Guys worked really hard. Everyone gave their all and no matter what happens, that's something that will drive you throughout the season because you're not going to play well every game.
On the team's defensive effort...
Even when we make adjustments, guys just have a really good understanding of what we're doing defensively. Everyone did a good job defensively.
FC Dallas Goalkeeper Kevin Hartman
On battling against the wind…
We were playing against the wind the entire time. We were trying to clear it, trying to get more possession-oriented and they continued to step up. They have some big guys in the back, so anything that we were knocking long, they were able to win those balls. They have some ridiculous athleticism in the midfield. They were picking up a ton of second balls and they continued to come at us. We battled. We had a couple of opportunities there. They probably had more of the opportunities in the second half and I hate to blame it all on the wind, but certainly, we had more of the opportunities in the first half. So, probably that had a bit to do with the wind as well.
Portland Timbers Head Coach, John Spencer
General thoughts on the game…
We dominated for a long period of time in the second half. The difference between the first half and the second half was that we started to believe in ourselves. We started to play a little more up tempo, but then I also think our guys got a little fatigued at the end.
Thoughts on the season so far…
It has been a good start to the season. We played two quality teams and if our guys believe in themselves as much as me and my coaches do, we’ll make it two playoffs.
Portland goalkeeper Tony Perkins
General thoughts on the match…
The last 15 minutes of the first half we really started getting possession and momentum for us. We had a lot of chances on goal and maybe on a better day it goes our way. The second half with the wind at our back, especially with that kind of wind, it helps. You are able to get out of your own half with a long ball.
On playing against FC Dallas…
We knew they were going to come right at us and we wanted to turn it right back around and take it back at them. Obviously, we didn’t do that at the beginning, but we weathered the storm pretty well at some times at other times we did not.
On the difference between the team last season and in 2012…
There is a big maturity level increase this year as compared to last year. Last year we had almost the same start. They come flying at us and we walk into the half you know not even having touched the ball really. If they are pressing and pressing you don’t want to play the ball right back to a guy who’s been running for the last 15 minutes. It’s just taking the wind out of the play putting your foot on the ball and getting it up.
Portland midfielder Darlington Nagbe
General thoughts on the game…
Everyone came out with a lot of energy. It’s as simple as that. The first half we didn’t has as much energy. When we play with energy we play well as a team. We had more energy the second half. Guys were buzzing around a little bit more after the first 30 minutes. We just came out there with more energy with them and we controlled the game.
On the goal…
I just saw the ball go up while I was dropping back. Once it hit the other team I knew I was onsides, so then I just tried to finish. I was in the right place at the right time. It was nothing special. There was no one in front of me it was just me and the goalie.
On team this year…
Guys are more mature. Before we even came on the road, guys are playing more together. We are a better team this year.
Portland midfielder Eric Alexander
On the team this year…
The focus is a little higher [than last year] as well as our belief in each other. We have a talented group of guys who can get it done on the road. There are still better games to come.
On the season so far…
We took four points from teams that made the playoffs last year, so we’re pretty happy. It would have been nice to win. It’s a good result for being on the road.
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