Dallas Soccer: Hernan Pertúz
San Jose had to withstand an 89th-minute goal from Hernan Pertuz and a missed penalty kick in the 94th minute by Jair Benitez.
The Earthquakes (13-4-4) widened their lead in the Supporters' Shield race to seven points clear of Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City. San Jose is unbeaten at home in Buck Shaw Stadium since Aug. 13, an 8-0-3 run.
FC Dallas (4-10-7) ended a 13-match winless streak Saturday, but couldn't continue its momentum, despite the debut of newly acquired designated player Julian de Guzman, traded last week by Toronto FC.
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?
Pertúz injured his right ankle against Philadelphia Union on Saturday and was replaced by the just returned from injured Carlos Rodriguez.
1. Hartman or Seitz in Goal? ---FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman said after Sunday’s
2-0 loss to Colorado that he’d like to give one of the next two games to Chris Seitz. Will this be the game where the ex-Maryland Terrapin gets the nod or will Hyndman wait until Saturday night when Dallas visits Columbus to face the Crew? That decision was likely made after a short training session on Tuesday morning on the FC Dallas Stadium field.
2. Shea Back or Not? ---Brek Shea missed Sunday’s loss with a case of turf toe that has been bothering him for the last few weeks. He didn’t train on Monday but could still be in Hyndman’s first 11 for Wednesday. However, for that to happen, the 6-foot-4 native Texan will most likely have to have gone through Tuesday’s practice with little or no issues. If Shea was to miss the Seattle game, he would have to be considered a near lock to return to the pitch on Saturday night against the Crew.
3. Who’s in for Blas Perez Up Top? ---Hyndman may or may not have a tough decision on his hands. It all depends on how one views the situation. Conventional wisdom says the Dallas gaffer sticks with veteran Scott Sealy here even though Sealy’s results haven’t been all that notable since he returned to full health. Hyndman rolling the dice with a youngster like Ruben Luna would be an interesting move, but is likely not one he’d be willing to make, especially in the wake of having two starters out on suspension.
4. Is Marcelin Ready for Prime Time? ---Newly signed Haitian midfielder James Marcelin made his FCD debut on Sunday night, playing the entire second half at holding midfield and did well enough to earn solid reviews from Hyndman. The ex-SMU coach admits Marcelin isn’t match fit, but what other choice does he have than to start him at d-mid with starter Daniel Hernandez serving a suspension for this game? Not much of a choice at all, does he?
5. How Much Will FCD Have in the Tank for This One? ---Forget the fact that Dallas has just under 72 hours between games. Sunday’s loss took a lot out of FCD in several ways but playing two men down for the final 56 or so minutes will do that. And now that Hyndman’s club will hit the pitch on Wednesday night minus two starters, this is clearly an uphill battle for them to get any kind of favorable result against a team that is playing some good football right now. Schellas labeled Sounders FC as a tenacious team that is like a shark when they smell blood in the water. If that doesn’t describe FCD right now, then it’s hard to say what does.
6. (Bonus) Who Starts for Ugo Ihemelu? ---The captain is out with concussion symptons, either Matt Hedges or Hernan Pertúz will take his place. Earlier this year Pertúz would have been the obvious choice, but of late Hedges has done well filling in. Best guess at this point is Pertúz... or it could be Hedges... wait...
FC DALLAS -- OUT: MF David Ferreira (R foot surgery); MF Ricardo Villar (R foot strain); MF Andrew Wiedeman (sports hernia repair); MF Carlos Rodriguez (L elbow dislocation); MF Bobby Warshaw (R foot fracture); DF Ugo Ihemelu (concussion symptoms); QUESTIONABLE: MF Brek Shea (L foot turf toe)
Concussion symptoms is not something you want to see in a player who has had a concussion before.
Either Matt Hedges or Hernan Petruz are likely to fill in for Ihemelu.
FCD responded, being whistled for 14 fouls, which is short of their season-high of 17 against Montreal on April 14. The Impact are one of the most whistled clubs in MLS, so that’s understandable. But seeing his guys respond in similar fashion against the star-studded Galaxy definitely brought a smile to the gaffer’s face.
“One of the things that we were talking about before the game was guys, our defenders are good but sometimes they’re a little bit too nice," Hyndman said. "Defenders on opposition really kick the living daylights out of our forwards, so I told them not to be so nice. Get a little bit more physical, be courageous and have an agenda. Your agenda’s to not get turned and not to let your man get a shot off. I think the guys took it serious, so it was good.”
BC PLACE, Vancouver, B.C.
April 21, 2012
9 p.m. CT (tape delay following Texas Rangers on KTXA-21)
FC Dallas' Saturday night road matchup against the Vancouver Whitecaps will kick off at 9 p.m. CT, but the match will air on tape delay due to the postponement of Friday night's Texas Rangers-Detroit Tigers baseball game. The estimated start time of the FC Dallas broadcast is 9:30 p.m. CT on TXA 21.
REFEREE: Edvin Jurisevic.
MLS Career: 41 games; FC/gm: 22.1; Y/gm: 3.7; R: 4; pens: 5
SAR (bench): Darren Clark;
JAR (opposite): Mike Rottersman;
4th: Paul Ward
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC - OUT: FW Darren Mattocks (R shoulder burn); DF Alain Rochat (L knee sprain); GK Brian Sylvestre (R knee surgery); DOUBTFUL: FW Etienne Barbara (groin strain); MF Michael Nanchoff (L heel contusion)
FC DALLAS - OUT: MF David Ferreira (R foot surgery); MF Ricardo Villar (R foot strain); MF Andrew Wiedeman (sports hernia repair); QUESTIONABLE: MF Andrew Jacobson (R hamstring strain); DF Hernan Pertuz (R foot strain)
Jacobson and Villar did not travel, Pertuz did and should be available.
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: VAN: Eric Hassli
ALL-TIME (2 meetings):
Whitecaps FC 0 wins, 1 goal ...
FC Dallas 2 wins, 4 goals ...
AT VANCOUVER (1 meeting):
Whitecaps FC 0 wins, 1 goal ...
FC Dallas 1 win, 2 goals ...
8/15: Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. FC Dallas, 7 p.m. PT;
9/15: FC Dallas vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 7:30 p.m. CT
LAST YEAR (MLS):
4/23: VAN 1, DAL 2 (Rochat 25 - John 53; Avila 83)
10/15: DAL 2, VAN 0 (Chavez 35; Shea 54)
- FC Dallas won both meetings last year in Whitecaps FC's inaugural season, including a 2-1 win April 23 at Empire Field.
Martin Rennie vs. DAL: first game ...
Schellas Hyndman vs. VAN: P2 W2 L0 D0
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC NEWS
- After starting the season without allowing a goal in 426 minutes, Whitecaps FC have now conceded six goals in the last 114 minutes.
- Both of Sporting's first two goals began with set-piece opportunities. In the three goals allowed to San Jose, one came as a result of a free kick chance.
- Whitecaps FC had a season-high 19 attempts at goal and put seven of those on target, also a season-high. Coming into the match, Sporting KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen had been forced into seven saves total in six games.
- Camilo came in off the substitutes' bench for the final half-hour for his longest shift since starting the first three matches of the season as he recovers from a quadriceps injury.
- 2011 No. 1 overall pick Omar Salgado made his first appearance of the season, coming in for the final 11 minutes on the left side of midfield.
FC DALLAS NEWS
- FC Dallas have won two games in a row, both thanks to late game-winners.
- Already missing Ricardo Villar with a foot injury suffered in the New England match, Hyndman was forced into another change at halftime when Andrew Jacobson took a knock.
- That change was further complicated when Hern·n Pertuz was also unable to return after the halftime break.
- The substitutions also brought a tactical change, with Hyndman putting Blas Perez as a lone striker up top and setting out Brek Shea and Fabian Castillo to attack from wide positions.
- For Perez, his goal was his third of the season. He also now has three assists, recording an assist on the Shea's game-winner, his first since getting two in the opening game win vs. New York. "Whenever I score a goal, it benefits the team," Perez said. "I'm doing well so far, but there is still more work that we can do to understand each other better and to have better chemistry."
- On Wednesday, Hyndman confirmed Jacobson and Villar will not make the trip to Vancouver. "You may have players sometime say my leg doesn't feel 100 percent and they're looking not to play. Villar's the opposite. I'm ready to go even if he's 40 percent injured, I can help because he wants to play, because he has such a passion to play," Hyndman to ESPNDallas.com. "So I think on this one, we've got to slow it down a little bit because this could be a serious injury."
Hernan Pertuz, who also was replaced at halftime due to injury, a swollen right foot, will travel to Vancouver. Here’s FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman making it official.
"AJ will not be traveling. Pertuz will be traveling and Villar not," Hyndman said.
With Jacobson unavailable, the likely pick to replace him in the first 11 is second-year player Bobby Warshaw, who really showed well for himself in the second half of the win over the expansion Impact.
As to when Ricardo Villar might be return, no one seems to know. But that didn’t stop his head coach from extolling his toughness and love of the game after training on Wednesday.
"Ricardo is such a tough player. He’s a guy that plays for the passion of the game. He doesn’t play for the money or the glory, he plays because he loves it. You may have players sometime say my leg doesn’t feel 100 percent and they’re looking not to play. Villar’s the opposite. I’m ready to go even if he’s 40 percent injured, I can help because he wants to play, because he has such a passion to play," Hyndman said. "So I think on this one, we’ve got to slow it down a little bit because this could be a serious injury."
Jacobson and Pertuz were both listed as questionable on the MLS injury report published on Tuesday while Villar continues to be listed as out.
Even with starting left back Jair Benitez returning from suspension, Hyndman opted to keep Hernan Pertuz in his first 11 at left back and sit Benitez on the bench. Ex-captain Daniel Hernandez did return to the starting lineup alongside Andrew Jacobson but that could have been a simple decision, especially with Ricardo Villar out with a foot injury.
Still, it is interesting to hear the gaffer discuss such things, which he did in great detail after training on Monday.
“It is exactly that [based on the fact that things were working],” Hyndman said. “It was the first shutout we’d had [against New England] and it was working. Now all of a sudden, you’re going to change it after having a first shutout? You have to remember I didn’t think we played very well against D.C. and if you look at those mistakes, you can start looking at the area of concern. That’s why we made the change and so as much as we like Pertuz there, it’s really not his position.”
Hyndman added: “What we do is we lose out on one side of the field because you’ve got Pertuz on one side, who doesn’t attack real well and you’ve got Carlos [Rodriguez] in front of him that doesn’t attack real well. That was another thing that was developing. When I’m making all of these changes and a lot of it is through necessity, knowing that if we get a good result here, a good performance here, it was great but what do we want? I think you’ll start to see us getting back into positional players.”
When Dallas gaffer Schellas Hyndman made two changes to start the second half, bringing on Bruno Guarda and Bobby Warshaw for Andrew Jacobson and Hernan Pertuz, respectively, few thought it was anything more than a tactical adjustment. And since those changes signaled a shift from the 4-4-2 formation that FCD had employed in the opening 45 minutes to more of a 4-1-4-1 in the final half of play, no one thought that those two substitutions could be injury-related.
However, injuries are exactly what had happened, something Hyndman discussed after the game.
It turns out Jacobson was having some issues in his back and leg after getting kicked more than a few times by the hard-fouling boys from Montreal. As for Pertuz, he had a foot swell up and was unable to answer the bell for the second half.
“Pertuz got kicked over on the sideline and just wasn’t able to go. He fought his way through the first half but we knew something was wrong,” Hyndman said. “When we brought him up here [to the locker room at halftime], the foot was swollen and he just couldn’t go. AJ took a few hits, more of the back and leg that was bothering him.”
Obviously, if these injuries keep one or both of these guys off the field for any significant period of time they are big negatives for Dallas. No matter whether it’s been at left back or at right back, where he has started each of the last two weeks in Hyndman’s 4-4-2, the Colombian defender Pertuz has been a rock-solid addition to the FCD backline.
Some might have questioned why Jair Benitez, who normally starts at left back for Dallas, wasn’t back in the first 11 for the Montreal game, but the answer is simple. If Hyndman is anything, he’s consistent, especially when it comes to winning. When a formation and a lineup works, if all of those same 11 players are available the following week, it’s a safe bet he’ll employ the same look barring something unforeseen.
That’s why Pertuz was in the starting lineup against the Impact and Benitez was on the pine. Pertuz has earned his playing time and will be until he slips up or Jair plays his way back into the first 11 through a string of strong performances in training... pending injury of course. Pertuz might be relatively new to MLS and to this club, but he’s already more than shown his value and if he’s not available for a while, it would definitely be a big loss.
Ditto for Jacobson, who after a rough start to the season, seems to have found himself and is no longer trying to do too much in the middle of the field. Some feel he might best serve this team as the holding mid with Warshaw possibly starting in the linking role but that’s a whole other discussion. The fact of the matter is that he and Daniel Hernandez form a steady if not a bit nard-nosed tandem in the middle of the yard and if A.J. is out for a while, that too would be a big loss.
Of course, the Dallas midfield is already a bit thin with David Ferreira out for about the next two months, as is Andrew Wiedeman, after both of them underwent recent surgeries. Ricardo Villar is week to week. Help is on the way as Jackson is thought to be arriving this week but it’s unknown what his current fitness level is, but if he’s ready to roll, he can definitely provide help in very short order.
We’ll find out more about the condition of Jacobson and Pertuz on Monday. Hopefully the news is good.
Here’s one such theory and an idea that seems to have some legs to it.
FCD Rolls Out in a 4-4-2
|Carlos Rodriguez||Andrew Jacobson||Ricardo Villar||Brek Shea|
|Hernan Pertuz||Ugo Ihemelu||George John||Zach Loyd|
This 4-4-2 would feature Blas Perez and the now healthy Fabian Castillo up top. Shea would play to the right flank with basically left side only Carlos Rodriguez where he could better handle things. Jacobson would slide from linking to holding mid with ex-captain Daniel Hernandez serving a suspension for getting a pair of yellows in last Friday’s 4-1 loss at D.C. United. Ricardo Villar would of course occupy the No. 10 spot.
In the back, Hernan Pertuz would slide over from center back to fill in for Jair Benitez, who is also suspended, at left back while George John returns to a starting role alongside current captain Ugo Ihemelu with Zach Loyd in his normal spot on the right side. Of course, Hartman would return to his usual place between the posts for FCD.
Pairing Perez and Castillo together up top could wreak considerable havoc on the Revs back line, especially with Castillo’s pace and Perez’s precision in and around the net. Shea can handle the right, and actually really likes it there cause he can cut inside easier, while putting Rodriguez on the left will make him the most comfortable.
As for the defense, Pertuz wasn’t a bad fill in at left back at Kansas City when Benitez moved to left mid and is a serviceable solution there at least for now. However, it’s most likely he only starts there for one game because that job looks to be Benitez’s to lose and recent lack of emotional intelligence aside, he still sits in good stead with Hyndman.
Getting the John and Ihemelu tandem back together in the middle can never be a bad thing, especially considering the strong chemistry they have displayed during their time playing together with FCD over the last few years. Maybe having that dependable duo in the middle could also help Loyd out a bit, who comes into Thursday’s game after one of the tougher performances of his short MLS career.
The biggest con with this potential formation switch could center around Jacobson. It’s no big secret that he’s been an absolute turnover machine in the middle of the park for FCD early in the season and that he hasn’t been anywhere near the player he was for much of last year, even while he was battling his way through a knee issue.
But if that good Jacobson can return to the pitch for Dallas, then this 4-4-2 has a legitimate chance of working. If the evil goateed A.J. that has been the norm so far this year is again in the building, this switch may just be doomed from the start. Jacobson can handle the responsibilities associated with being the defensive mid, but his distribution obviously has to be much better in the 4-4-2 because there will be no safety valve in Hernandez behind him should he make a bad pass in the middle third of the pitch.
Maybe one theory in play with Jacobson this year, and it might not be one Hyndman or FCD fans want to hear, is maybe A.J. is a one year player. Look at his career to date. He spent one season in D.C. and another in Philadelphia before they decided to let him go. United left him exposed in the 2009 Expansion Draft and the Union didn’t seem all to broken up to ship him off to FCD last preseason. Maybe these are both cases of mere coincidence, but then again it happening two times makes it anything but a fluke. I'm just speculating but perhaps it’s something to consider.
While one hates to put so much pressure on one player, there’s no doubt that tomorrow night’s game should FCD roll out in the 4-4-2 could very well hinge on the central midfield and how well Jacobson plays. If he and Villar can work well together, then it could be a great night for Dallas supporters. But if not, it will be another result to file in the ever-growing file of games to forget about in very short order.
Benitez’s absence means Pertuz likely shifts to the left flank while George John, who was unavailable last week, likely returns to center back alongside Ihemelu. Although Carlos Rodriguez would also slide into Benitez's spot.
For a club whose back line was one of their biggest strengths in 2011, that definitely has not been the case this season. FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman called the group a work in progress but for good reason.
“I think it continues to be a work-in-progress. You got to look at how many people have been out,” Hyndman said. “You’ve got Brek Shea playing and not playing. You’ve got Fabian Castillo playing, not playing and now hopefully playing. Now you’ve Pertuz in there with Ugo or George John. There’s some very logical reasons why they’re not coordinated-we haven’t been able to put a lineup out there that has been the same.”
Blas Perez was tripped up just outside the 18-yard box, earning the visiting Dallas side a dangerous free kick. Villar knocked the chance high over the wall and to the far right of Jimmy Nielsen for a 1-0 Dallas lead in the 25th minute.
Down a goal, Sporting KC continued to push. With extra time ticking down in the first half, Roger Espinoza was tripped up in the Kansas City attacking third. On the free kick, Zusi picked 6’2” center back Aurelien Collin out in the crowd and the French international flicked the header over an on-rushing Hartman for the game-tying goal.
The second half saw an almost immediate chance for Sporting KC to take the lead when Chance Myers earned a penalty kick in the 50th minute. Kamara stepped to the spot, but Hartman was a step ahead of him, making the 14th PK stop of his MLS career.
With Ricardo Villar out after a collision with Myers, FC Dallas saw the majority of second half chances go to the home side. Hernan Pertuz had a chance to put Dallas ahead in the 86th minute, but his shot sailed high. Two minutes later, Myers crossed to Kamara for the game winner.
The loss drops FC Dallas to 1-1-1 (4 points) on the season, while Sporting KC improved to 3-0-0 (9 points). Dallas is on the road again Friday at DC United, kick off at 6:30 p.m. CT.
DAL – Ricardo Villar 25
SKC – Aurelien Collin (Graham Zusi) 45+
SKC – Kei Kamara (Chance Myers, Zusi) 88
FC Dallas – Kevin Hartman, Zach Loyd, Hernan Pertuz, Ugo Ihemelu, George John, Bryan Leyva (Andrew Wiedeman 70), Ricardo Villar (Bobby Warshaw 46, Luis Perea 90), Daniel Hernandez, Andrew Jacobson, Jair Benitez, Blas Perez.
Substitutes Not Used: Chris Seitz, Matt Hedges, Bruno Guarda, Alex Lee.
TOTAL SHOTS: 8 (Ricardo Villar 2);
SHOTS ON GOAL: 1 (Ricardo Villar 1);
FOULS: 11 (Four players with two);
CORNER KICKS: 5 (Daniel Hernandez 3);
SAVES: 7 (Kevin Hartman 7)
Sporting KC – Jimmy Nielsen, Seth Sinovic, Matt Besler, Aurelien Collin, Chance Myers, Kei Kamara, Graham Zusi (Lawrence Olum 91), Roger Espinoza, Julio Cesar, Bobby Convey (Jacob Peterson 93), C.J. Sapong.
Substitutes Not Used: Jon Kempin, Dom Dwyer, Michael Harrington, Paula Nagamura, Luke Sassano.
TOTAL SHOTS: 18 (Kei Kamara 11);
SHOTS ON GOAL: 9 (Kei Kamara 5);
FOULS: 15 (Chance Myers 4);
OFFSIDES: 1 (Graham Zusi 1);
CORNER KICKS: 7 (Graham Zusi 5);
SKC - Aurelien Collin (caution; Foul) 32
SKC – Chance Myers (caution; Foul) 36
DAL – Daniel Hernandez (caution; Dissent) 45+
SKC – Roger Espinoza (caution; Time Wasting) 90+
Referee: Abiodun Okulaja
Referee’s Assistants: Frank Anderson, Peter Balciunas
4th Official: Yader Reyes
Time of Game: 2:03
Weather: Sunny and 68 degrees
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?
Manager Schellas Hyndman employed a comparable formation to the 4-2-3-1 he used last season, though naturally some of the personnel changed. Gone were Jackson and Marvin Chavez, replaced by Blas Perez and Fabian Castillo. Also, a recently-returned George John was benched in favor of newcomer Hernan Pertuz.
Perez, Castillo, and Pertuz all made vital contributions to the victory. Perez garnered assists on both goals (more on Perez in the diagram below); Castillo's speed was instrumental in earning the free kick that led to the first tally; and the young Pertuz made a veteran's canny tackle to prevent Thierry Henry from getting a shot in the 13th minute.
As noted, Hyndman's main strategy was to counter at pace, which is how the goal was partially created. Castillo powered into New York's half following a Red Bulls corner, and though he was dispossessed, Ricardo Villar was able to earn a free kick on the ensuing scrum for possession. New York made a mess of a pair of clearances following the free kick. Zach Loyd then latched onto the loose ball and beat keeper Andrew Meara.
But, like the playoff encounter, New York controlled much of the match. Despite New York's high percentage of possession (63% to 37%), the Red Bulls' earliest scoring opportunities were courtesy of misplaced Dallas passes. In the third minute, Jair Benitez even sent a free kick straight to an unmarked Juan Agudelo. Ihemelu, though, was able to clean up the mistake
The second half played out much life the first. Dallas picked up a goal off a counter and had to do some desperate defending to garner the full three points. Oddly, New York left back Roy Miller started the second Dallas scoring sequence with a pass remarkably similar to Benitez's third minute gaffe. Under no pressure whatsoever, the Red Bulls' fullback casually sent a pass to Perez. The striker made an intelligent pass to find Ricardo Villar in space, and the Brazilian chipped Meara to put Dallas up 2-0.
New York manager Hans Backe responded by bringing on former Dallas striker Kenny Cooper and switching from a 4-4-1-1 to a lopsided 4-4-2 (forward Juan Agudelo was stationed at right midfield but was essentially a third striker). An exhausted Dallas began to retreat deeper and deeper into their own half, a problem compounded by the removal of Villar.
As the attacking midfielder in the 4-2-3-1, Villar's intelligent passes had ensured Dallas retained possession long enough to relieve pressure on the back four. When holding midfielder Bobby Warshaw came on for the Brazilian in the 74th, Andrew Jacobson moved up to Villar's position but failed to replicate his intelligent outlet passes. As a result, over the final 16 minutes New York completed 84 more passes than Dallas.
Under that much pressure, it was likely that a single mistake would lead to a goal. When Benitez and Pertuz failed to mark Cooper, the striker was easily able to chip Kevin Hartman, but New York was otherwise unable to ripple Hartman's net.
While the end result couldn't be better, Hyndman needs to find a way to relieve pressure late in games without the use of Villar.
Blake Owen is the editor and publisher of futbolforgringos.com.