Dallas Soccer: Charlotte Eagles
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Opening thoughts on the game:
"I thought we came out prepared to play. A couple pretty severe injuries came up. You lose George [John] and Zach [Loyd] in eight minutes. I think it affected us so much so that it gave up the goal, and it might have even been their first shot on goal. I thought that Charlotte did the things that they needed to do to come away with a victory. Every time we tried to do something, we might have been our own worst enemy. I'm disappointed because I thought this was a really good opportunity to get back on track and get results. I'm disappointed, obviously, because it has Lamar Hunt's name on the trophy. I'm disappointed in our performance. I think a fan said it best, when we were coming off the field. He said the outcome was unacceptable. That was an unacceptable performance by our players."
On how the team has continually appeared to have bad luck throughout the season:
"You keep thinking that the ball bounces wrong, when we had two chances to score on that one flurry. We knocked some good balls across there, but we're just not doing enough. I have to believe that you make your own luck. Isn't it interesting that the guy who scores on the header is alone, and the guy who was supposed to mark him didn't? It's not about getting the right call or getting lucky, it's about making your own luck. We just had a poor performance."
On the few positives the team showed:
"I think we had some players that did well. I thought Jair Benitez played extremely well today. We had to move him from the left side, where he was very dominant, to the right side. Moises [Hernandez] came in and I wanted him to be in his comfort zone. He did fine for not getting a lot of playing time with us. Another one of the players that I thought did well was [Matt] Hedges. It wasn't the same performance that he has had over the past two games, but he is playing along with Andew Jacobson very well. Again, Andrew Jacobson did very well in the first half. He made things happen."
On if the upcoming break can help the team:
"It's not only the best thing for the team, it's the best thing for the coaches. The coaches have put in a lot of time and energy, and the players have put in a lot of work. The reality is a lot of those guys haven't been playing. I don't know if they were mentally tired, or if they just couldn't keep the pace up. We still have 19 games left in the MLS, so I think what we need to do right now is get some points and do things right."
On Jackson's red card:
"You know, you look at emotional intelligence. Jackson worked awfully hard. It was a nothing situation to get a red card on. If you're going to get a red card, there's a level on which that card should look like. It could be something silly or a hard play, but not to take a break and go get a shower. It's not worth that."
FC Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz
On losing two defenders in the first half to injury:
“It’s not one of those things where you look at as two players going off. For us it’s one of those things where we try to get the new guys involved in the game as quickly as possible. They get their first touch and we move on. It’s not one of those things you can really take a breath and be like, ‘Darn, they’re off the field.’ You don’t get that second. It’s all playing from there and you do the best you can. At the end of the day, we have a goal and we gave up, what? Two shots the whole game? And they scored two goals. We didn’t do our jobs today. We came out here and had probably one of our worst games. Now we have quite a while to rebuild and work hard. It’s one of those things where we have to come back stronger and there are no excuses.”
On the frustration of the first half of the season:
“It’s definitely been rough. It’s been one of those things where we’ve been in a lot of the games and we just haven’t been able to get the result. There’s really no sort of excuse to put out there for it. It’s one of those things where all we can really do is continue to work and come in here on those days we’ve got coming up and really put in the work to help us start turning some of those losses into ties and some of those ties into wins.”
On hitting the reset button for the second half:
“It’s one of those things where we have to work hard on both sides of the ball. Obviously, we’ve been giving up quite a few goals so we’re going to be working on our defensive shape. Coach gave us a good analogy the other day. We used to be a team that refused to lose and we’ve got to get a little bit of that back and really just push forward. We need to forget about what has already happened because there’s nothing we can do about it. We really need to get out there and make the most of every opportunity that we have.”
Head Coach Mark Steffens
“We’ve had a relatively tough season this year so far. We’ve had a ton of injuries. We’ve had guys come in late with visa problems and on and on. So we are finally getting our team together and we have played a lot better the last 10 days or so.”
“We feel like we are improving, so we knew it would be a tough battle. Obviously we didn’t think we would play with them; match-up straight up with them, so we definitely defended hard and then they’d block and we’d try and counter them a little here and there. They definitely had the better of the possession by quite a bit, but we’re real fortunate that we came out with a victory.”
On the two goals scored:
“Darryl Roberts is a really good finisher. He’s been hurt most of the season. He’s only played in about four games for us. So when he gets opportunities he puts them on frame, so that’s why we give him the ball in the box and we feel good about him putting stuff on frame or in goal when he gets the opportunity so he did that.”
“Then they were pushing up late in the game and we got it to Darryl again and he’s the one who beat one guy and slithered it across to an open runner, Nate Thorton. It was nothing more than being able to get that chance. You know, it was really only a one-nothing game.”
On Keeper Clinton Irwin’s performance:
“He’s really coming on strong. El Paso was his first game for us and he shut them out as well, so he’s really doing well as a first-year pro.”
“He helps us out because if you give up an early goal, which we have a lot this year, that kind of a mistake can flatten the whole team. So it’s really important you have a keeper who can come up with one or two big saves to keep you in the match.”
“He’s really been our second keeper all year. Our first keeper, Eric Reed, is just as good, so we feel fortunate to have two great keepers.”
Goalkeeper Clinton Irwin
“I thought we defended really well. We knew we were going to be under a lot of pressure, especially at the end of the game. We had had four games in ten days and it had started to take its toll. I think FC Dallas kind of had the same schedule, so we just battled together and defended well.”
“You get your hands on the ball in the first couple of minutes and you just get comfortable in there. After every save you just gain more and more confidence. The ball gets huge and the goal looks smaller and smaller for the forwards. It’s definitely a good feeling to have.”
On his contribution to the Eagles:
“I haven’t thought a lot about it, but I just wanted to do well and do my job. A lot of the credit has to go to the way we scored our goals. You know Darryl and Nate had two excellent finishes on our two clear-cut chances and that’s what you have to do. The next level is just be clinical with your chances.”
Dallas’ George John and Zach Loyd were forced out of the match after suffering injuries between the 24th and 41st minutes of play. Homegrown player Moises Hernandez replaced Loyd, while James Marcelin came on for John, but it was Charlotte’s substitution that made the biggest impact.
The Eagles’ Nate Thornton replaced Joseph Kwabe in the 40th minute. He needed just two minutes before he picked up an assist on a goal scored by Darryl Roberts. The play began with Thornton chasing down a long pass on the right flank and sending a cross to the back post for Roberts. There, the Trinidadian forward rose above his marker to nod a shot into the back of the net for the 1-0 lead.
Dallas’ uphill battle got steeper in the 78th minute, when Jackson was ejected from the match following a collision with Irwin. The red card forced FC Dallas to play down a man for the remaining 12 minutes.
Pushing men forward in search of a game-saving goal, FC Dallas was caught on the counter-attack in the fourth minute of stoppage time. The Eagles’ combination of Thornton and Roberts hooked up again, this time in reverse, as Roberts received a pass on the left flank and played Thornton into space. One-on-one with FC Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz, Thornton calmly picked out the side-netting at the far post to give Charlotte the 2-0 victory.
Midfielder Brek Shea, who just finished serving a three-game suspension in league play after kicking a ball at an official, has been ruled out for the game as he continues to be bothered by turf toe. The Bryan native did not train on Monday morning, first riding a stationary bike and then doing some work with an exercise band before leaving the field with his left foot in a boot.
“Still banged up a little bit,” Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman said when asked about Shea’s condition. “I think what happens when you have something like a turf toe, a normal thing to do is you try to play through the pain. And when you try to do that, because you’re protecting it, you start to alienate something else so maybe a different part of his foot now is becoming an issue. Yeah, he won’t play tomorrow night.”
Fellow midfielder Daniel Hernandez also won’t play on Tuesday but for a different reason. The former FCD captain earned a red card in Dallas’ lost at Seattle in the 2011 USOC semifinals and won’t be available for selection.
“He’s gone through three games in eight days. He’s not playing tomorrow because of the red card he got in Seattle,” Hyndman said.
Central attacking midfielder Ricardo Villar will also not play as he continues to recover from a foot injury suffered back in April. However, Tuesday may or may not mark the return of Fabian Castillo, the speedy Colombian who has missed the last few games with an ankle issue.
Castillo did go through training on Monday morning on the stadium field but did so with his left ankle wrapped. “We’ll make a decision whether we’re going to start him or have him off the bench but he’s probably about 85 percent,” Hyndman said.
Discuss your general thoughts on the U.S. Open Cup and the meaning attached to it.
Hyndman: Well, it’s one of the things we talked about in our meeting today, was this is a fantastic event not just because it’s another competition. It’s also a situation where it’s named after our previous owner, Lamar Hunt. It’s the recognition our country’s given to a man that has done so much for soccer and it means a lot to our ownership and it means a lot to our club and our fans that we honor this opportunity. It’s also we get into a situation where you win the Open Cup, it gives you a direct route into CONCACAF [Champions League]. This is the first year they’ve gone away from a bidding system. Last three years, teams like Seattle would always bid high, hosted the game and giving themselves every opportunity to win. Now it’s a situation, it’s a little bit more even for everyone.
What do you know about the Charlotte Eagles?
Hyndman: I don’t know really that much about them. John Ellinger went out, got a chance to see them, scouted them when they played in El Paso last week I think. Our reports are basically they’re a team that are fighters. They’ve got a couple difference makers and obviously this game will be a big game for them because they’re playing inside an MLS complex and they want to be measured. So they’re very excited about it.
Charlotte features a local product, Scott Jones, who also spent some time with FCD. Did you ever recruit him to play for you at SMU and if so, what kind of player is he?
Hyndman: Yeah, he was always a decent player that we had our vision on and somebody we thought would be a good player to keep at home. He’s a solid player. He’s got an excellent work rate, good technical player. I think this is one of those games we’ll definitely see his best for all the home environment, all those types of things.
Tickets are $10 for current FC Dallas season ticket holders, including full, partial and flex plans. All full season ticket holders will have their usual seats reserved for the match. Meanwhile, general admission tickets for non-plan holders are $15.
Named for MLS founding investor and investor-operator of FC Dallas and the Columbus Crew, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup dates back to 1914. The tournament is the oldest current national cup competition in United States soccer and is among the oldest in the world. Open to all affiliated amateur and professional teams in the United States, the 2012 edition of the U.S. Open Cup is its 99th tournament.The Dallas side won the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in 1997. MLS side Seattle Sounders FC claimed the last three Open Cup titles.