Dallas Soccer: Mehdi Ballouchy

FC Dallas' 2011 season came to an end much the way the entire last third of the season had, with bunch of blown chances early and a moment of hesitation costing them on their own end.

Dallas had lots chances early, enjoying lots of offensive possession and outshouting New York 23 to 12 on the night. But yet again FCD played without a true striker and was unable to convert their chances. Yet once again a lone lapse in the back led to the New York goal. Even up a man after a red card to Jan Gunnar Solli, FCD couldn't take advantage before things were even at 10 men each due to a Zach Loyd injury.

NYRB eared their first goal in the 61st minute when Dane Richards grabbed a rebound from a long range shot Hartman had saved. Richards fed Mehdi Ballouchy who found the crashing Joel Lindpere in the box. The second goal came quit late in injury time after something like 6 minutes were added for the Loyd injury. Thierry Henry scored on a long counter attack breakaway when the FCD defense had crashed forward chasing the tie goal.

Attendance: 10,017

Scoring Summary:
NY – Joel Lindpere (Mehdi Ballouchy) 61
NY – Thierry Henry 98+

Misconduct Summary:
NY – Tim Ream (caution; tactical foul) 27
DAL – Ugo Ihemelu (caution; reckless foul) 31
DAL – Daniel Hernandez (caution; reckless tackle) 51
NY – Jan Gunnar Solli (ejection; serious foul play) 79

FC Dallas – Kevin Hartman, Jair Benitez, Ugo Ihemelu, George John, Zach Loyd, Brek Shea, Andrew Jacobson (Daniel Cruz 67), Daniel Hernandez, Ricardo Villar (Fabian Castillo 82), Marvin Chavez (Maicon Santos 73), Jackson.

Substitutes Not Used: Chris Seitz, Jack Stewart, Jeremy Hall, Bobby Warshaw.

TOTAL SHOTS: 23 (Jackson 7); SHOTS ON GOAL: 9 (Jackson 4); FOULS: 13 (Daniel Hernandez 4); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 5 (Jair Benitez 5); SAVES: 4 (Kevin Hartman 4).

Red Bull New York – Frank Rost, Jan Gunnar Solli, Tim Ream, Stephen Keel, Roy Miller, Dax McCarty (Mehdi Ballouchy 59), Teemu Tainio, Rafa Marquez, Joel Lindpere, Dane Richards (Carlos Mendes 82), Thierry Henry.

Substitutes Not Used: Bouna Coundoul, Stephane Auvray, Juan Agudelo.

TOTAL SHOTS: 12 (Thierry Henry 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Thierry Henry 3); FOULS: 12 (Teemu Tainio 3); OFFSIDES: 4 (Dane Richards 2); CORNER KICKS: 4 (Joel Lindpere 3); SAVES: 8 (Frank Rost 8).

Referee: Ricardo Salazar
Referee’s Assistants: Craig Lowry, Peter Manikowski
4th Official: Edvin Jurisevic

Time of Match: 1:57
Weather: Clear, 67 degrees
FC Dallas Manager Schellas Hyndman

Thoughts on the game…

“I really thought that we came out with very lively legs and really good team chemistry and team spirit to do everything we possibly could to get the result we wanted. I thought the first 20-25 minutes, we were very good. I thought we put some really good pressure on New York, but we just couldn't get on the end of some of those services, or we couldn't get the shot on frame. But, I thought we were very good.

“The second half I thought we came back and tried to set the tempo. It was really a pretty even game. About 60 or 70 minutes into the game I thought it was pretty even, and then we turned too many balls over in the back. Our distribution coming out probably gave them their better chances. A good shot on [Lindpere’s] part, Dane Richards gets to it, it gets knocked across and we had it covered, but they just got to the ball first. We did everything we possibly could and, no excuses, they came in and beat us on our field.”

Comparing tonight's match to the two team's last meeting at Pizza Hut Park...

"You know I thought (New York) played better today. When you say we outshot them, I don't think we outshot them, 18-7, like it was maybe last time. They're a hard team to break down when they're winning and even though they were down a man, we were just not experienced enough. We make some poor decisions under pressure and that comes a lot through our youth. It's not because of a lack of effort. It's just that we kind of played into their big men on the services, so they played better today than they did the first time. The problem being we were shut out both games.”

On having trouble getting the ball to Brek Shea...

“It's a combination of [Red Bull] having a pretty good game plan to keep Brek in front of them and we weren't able to get the ball behind the defense for Brek to run onto. Like most players, if you don't see a lot of the ball, you keep looking around for it. We did a good job getting behind (Rafa) Marquez, but we weren't able to get behind their defense.”

FC Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman

Thoughts on the game…

You put so much into a season… It’s tough. We’re in front of a home crowd with a lot of fan support that we really appreciate. It was a quick turnaround, and to have everyone come out on a Wednesday night was exciting for us. We just did not play up to our expectations, except for maybe the first 15 minutes.”

On the goal…

“[Joel Lindpere] shot from distance and I was able to turn it to the outside. Jair [Benitez] went outside and defended against [Mehdi Ballouchy], but he slipped a ball in behind George [John]. It was just sort of slotted home. From that point, we started pushing forward trying to do something and unfortunately we gave up another goal late. We’re a team that doesn’t want to lose. We’re a team that is going to go out kicking. Unfortunately some of those goals that we give up late are a direct result of us trying to push it and catch a result.”

FC Dallas defender Ugo Ihemelu

On the differences between the first and second half…

We came out fairly strong in the second half. We were going after them. We created a lot of opportunities, but when you let a team hang in there like that… They were able to come back and capitalize. They are a team with great players. We gave them one chance and they capitalized. It’s a cruel game, but that is how it works sometimes.”

Did this game feel similar to a lot of the losses the team has suffered lately?

“It has been frustrating lately, you feel like you are a better team. But that’s the game. Sometimes it is not going to go your way. That’s just how it is. The ball is going to bounce well for you sometimes. Last year, the ball bounced our way a few times in playoffs. This year it just didn’t.”

On if the team felt fresh throughout the game…

“We started off strong, but then we let down. We took our foot off the gas and they started building some pressure in the first half. We came back out strong in the second half. I thought we were doing well, but once you give up a goal to a team like that, they just sit back and they’re hard to break down.”

Red Bull New York head coach Hans Backe

Thoughts on the game…

“It was a solid game from us. Definitely the key was our defense with our back four together. Even when we put one down, they still played unbelievably disciplined. The first half was like two heavy weight champions fighting and it never lead to any big chance or risks but it was quite expected. I’m very pleased with our defense.”

On playing on the road…

“We went down to the wire to make the playoffs. After beating Philadelphia, I felt our last two sessions that this was a relaxed team, a calm team, with two very, very sharp sessions. Probably the two best sessions we have had all season. We are close to our peak at the right time.”

On playing it safe for the first 30 minutes…

“We knew they would be all over us in the first 15 minutes with the pace they have. We said before the game that the key had to be closing down [Daniel] Hernandez’s distribution. So we put Thierry on him and we set our four midfielders back to challenge the pace of Dallas’ front guys and give them as little space as possible.”

Red Bull midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy

On picking up an assist immediately after entering the game…

“I think it’s just the opportunity I got. We took the ball up on the right and I decided instead of crossing, I should bring it back and play it in with my left. [Dallas’] back four stepped up, which opened up Joel [Lindpere] to finish it. We were fortunate to get the first goal.”

On making the playoffs on their last game of the season…

“It shows that we play for each other. We tackle for each other and we run hard for each other. We are a dangerous team. Even when we were down to 10 men – we were talking and our shape was good.”

Red Bull New York forward Joel Lindpere

On the team’s performance and organization…

“It was somehow a replay of the last game we played here against Dallas. So, we knew that they come out very strong and last time they didn’t score and this time they didn’t score. They made a lot of crosses and have a lot of power in their attacks. We got the game under control at the end of the first half and we knew we would get our chances. It was like a copy of the last game.”

On the play leading up to the goal…

“First we created one chance and the ball went out to Mehdi [Ballouchy]. He gave me a great ball and I was timing my run perfectly. Maybe I didn’t hit the ball hard but that’s still difficult for the goalie.”

On playing against Los Angeles…

“I think we tied them away and won against them at home so it’s going to be an interesting game. A lot of chances will make it a wide open game. We know we have two games so we don’t need to worry. We just need to keep working like we have done lately – as a team.”