Dallas Soccer: Peter Nowak

No doubt about it, FC Dallas’ 1-1 draw with Philadelphia on Saturday night was some ugly soccer in the second half. Peter Nowak’s Union played a very physical game in the second half, being whistled for 15 of their 22 fouls after the break and finishing the night with four yellows.

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?

Scoring Summary:
DAL – Blas Perez 7
PHL – Gabriel Gomez 56

FC Dallas – Kevin Hartman, Jair Benitez, Matt Hedges, George John, Hernan Pertuz (Carlos Rodriguez 45+), Bryan Leyva (Ruben Luna 77), James Marcelin, Andrew Jacobson, Daniel Hernandez, Jackson, Blas Perez.

Substitutes Not Used: Chris Seitz, Bruno Guarda, Victor Ulloa, Scott Sealy, Moises Hernandez.

TOTAL SHOTS: 11 (Blas Perez 4);
SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Blas Perez 2);
FOULS: 13 (Jair Benitez 5);
OFFSIDES: 3 (Blas Perez 3);
CORNER KICKS: 7 (Bryan Leyva 4);
SAVES: 2 (Kevin Hartman 2).

Philadelphia Union – Chase Harrison, Sheanon Williams, Carlos Valdes (Porfirio Lopez 78), Michael Farfan, Raymon Gaddis, Keon Daniel, Michael Lahoud (Josue Martinez 55), Gabriel Gomez (Amobi Okugo 58), Brian Carroll, Lionard Pajoy, Danny Mwanga.

Substitutes Not Used: Chris Konopka, Cristhian Hernandez, Chandler Hoffman, Antoine Hoppenot.

TOTAL SHOTS: 9 (three players with two);
SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Josue Martinez, Michael Farfan, Gabriel Gomez 1);
FOULS: 22 (Michael Farfan 5);
CORNER KICKS: 5 (Keon Daniel 3);
SAVES: 2 (Chase Harrison 2).

Misconduct Summary:
PHI – Michael Lahoud (caution) 37
PHI – Carlos Valdes (caution) 62
DAL – Andrew Jacobson (caution) 72
PHI – Michael Farfan (caution) 77
PHI – Chase Harrison (caution) 79
DAL – Blas Perez (caution) 88

Referee: Mark Kadlecik
Referee’s Assistants: Anthony Vasoli, Brian Dunn
4th Official: Mark Declouet

Attendance: 13,272
Time of Game: 1:59
Weather: Sunny, 88 degrees

Head Coach Schellas Hyndman
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.

Schellas Hyndman on the Union

May, 18, 2012
I asked FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman several Union-related questions after practice Friday and here’s what he had to say.

What are your thoughts on Philly trading Danny Califf to Chivas USA in the light of some rumors that he might not have been a good guy in the room any longer up there?

Hyndman: It’s always speculation, isn’t it? I’m not in that locker room. I’m not in the coaches and players discussion but I do know that when they were an expansion team, he was a very, very important player to the development of that franchise. He’s a solid defender. He’s a ball winner. He’s a guy that all coaches want on their team, not on the opposing team. And then something obviously has happened whether personnel changes, other players can do different things, injuries, conflict between philosophy. So I think every coach has to make a decision, what’s the best for my team? Right now, as I mentioned to our players, losing him whether he was going to start or wasn’t going to start, I think it probably came to the point that they were going to move on without him. The other issue is where’s he going to end up? With Chivas, right? So now he’s in our conference.

Do the Union epitomize Nowak’s demeanor as a player and coach?

Hyndman: I watched the game they played against New York where New York was up a man and you couldn’t tell who was up a man. I know it was a home game. I know they haven’t had a great start like we haven’t, so you keep digging deeper and deeper into people. Attitude makes up 20 percent and it can add 20 percent to your game. If you have the attitude to work hard and your teammates are working hard, now all of a sudden your level of play really starts to rise.
Major League Soccer and Chelsea FC today announced that UEFA Champions’ League semifinalist Chelsea FC will face the MLS All-Stars in the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game. The marquee match will be played Wednesday, July 25 at PPL Park, the home of the Philadelphia Union, in Chester, Pa. and broadcast live on ESPN2, TeleFutura, and in Canada on TSN and RDS starting at 8:30 p.m. ET.

Philadelphia Union Manager Peter Nowak will lead the MLS All-Stars in a rematch of the 2006 event, when a sellout crowd at Chicago’s Toyota Park witnessed the MLS All-Star team – led by Nowak, then manager of D.C. United – defeat star-studded Chelsea 1-0 on a goal by Dwayne De Rosario. This is the second consecutive season that MLS has awarded the All-Star coaching honor to the host club based on competitive considerations of both the All-Star Game and the MLS Regular Season.

ESPN International will make the game available live in more than 100 countries. In addition, the All-Star Game will be carried online and on smartphones and tablets via ESPN3 and WatchESPN in the United States.

Chelsea FC recently advanced to the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League, is a semifinalist in England’s FA Cup, and is currently in sixth place in the Barclay’s English Premier League. Founded in 1905, Chelsea FC boasts a lineup of international stars such as Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast), Michael Essien (Ghana), Frank Lampard (England), Fernando Torres (Spain), Petr Cech (Czech Republic), Florent Malouda (France), Juan Mata (Spain) and John Terry (England). The AT&T MLS All-Star Game is part of Chelsea FC’s 2012 North American tour, which includes a game against the Seattle Sounders FC on July 18. The remaining details of the tour will be announced at a later date.