Dallas Soccer: Philadelphia Union

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?

Match photos: Philadelphia Union at FC Dallas

May, 20, 2012
5/20/12
11:52
PM CT


Gallery not working, here's the direct link.

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);
OFFSIDES: 0;
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.

The Report Card: FC Dallas vs Philadelphia Union

May, 20, 2012
5/20/12
2:02
PM CT
First Touch: Two teams missing enough starters combined to make a third full side.

Second Touch: The above predicted the ugly soccer match that resulted.

The Finish: Dallas is a club desperate for something good to come their way, in the meantime grinding out a point here and there is all Hyndman is going to get from this mishmash of parts.

Grades:

Hartman: 8 - Kept the side in the match when Philly decided that applying some pressure to Dallas was their best defensive move

Pertuz: 5 - Was playing a tidy match, and then like the sun rising became this week's injury victim

John: 7 - While the defense struggles overall, John is showing off new level of form

Hedges: 6 - This kid appears to be as solid as a rookie gets

Benitez: 4 - I swear he's getting paid based on attempted passes over 20 yards - successful or otherwise

Jackson: 4 - A very "meh" night for the Brazilian who still looks to be finding his chemistry with a team that never fields the same 11

Hernandez: 4 - The grizzled vet is having to work harder than ever

Marcelin: 4 - Oddly quiet and absent for much of the match

Jacobson: 5 - Great effort to support Blas, just could never complete that one creative move

Leyva: 5 - Still loses the ball too easily, looks a bit scared in 50/50 situations - but we are promised there's magic in those shoes. His set pieces are superior to Hernandez.

Perez: 6 - Simply having to come far too back to get involved. His struggles are more about the team than him

Subs:

Rodriguez: 3 - A tough score for being put in a tough spot, but he really struggled. The fact Hyndman had to play someone so clearly not match fit is very telling of just how bad the roster situation is.
Luna: n/a

FC Dallas ties Philadelphia Union

May, 19, 2012
5/19/12
10:05
PM CT


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.

Five quick hits on Philadelphia Union game

May, 19, 2012
5/19/12
7:47
AM CT
FC Dallas will look for its first win since April 14 when the Philadelphia Union visit FC Dallas Stadium on Saturday night. Here are five things to consider heading into that match.

Shea starts his suspension -- Saturday’s match will mark the first of the three games Brek Shea will miss after deliberately kicking a ball at an official during a loss at Columbus last Saturday. It was a dumb play from an obviously frustrated player, which might be partly due to the turf toe that has been nagging. But then again, it could be because there is a growing frustration in the room over a three-game losing streak and not winning in over a month. No matter the reason, Shea now gets a three-game timeout to think about what he did at a time his club really needs him the most.

Who’s in for Loyd? -- However, Shea won’t be the only starter sitting this one out for FCD. Right back Zach Loyd, who is the only Dallas player to start every game and play every minute so far this season, a streak that will end on Saturday, was ejected in the second half of the loss to the Crew. Sure, the call was iffy at best, but it is what it is. Now Dallas gaffer Schellas Hyndman will have to figure out who spells Loyd there. If Carlos Rodriguez is healthy, it could very well be him. Were captain Ugo Ihemelu not out with concussion symptoms, he would be a possibility there, but he continues to have symptoms, so who knows when he returns? Rodriguez appears to be the logical choice but it wouldn’t be a shocker to see Hernan Pertuz in at right back, that is unless Hyndman puts him at center back alongside George John, a spot that could also go to rookie Matt Hedges, the club’s top pick in the 2012 MLS Super Draft.

What can go wrong next? -- Not to be Mr. Glass Half Empty, but considering how many injuries, suspensions and red cards this team has had already this year, one has to wonder what could unfold for FCD against the Union? It’s a viable question considering the absolute rollercoaster this team has been on for the first 12 games. However, on the flipside, the Union are a team that is also struggling, which could make this an ideal time not just for FCD to return to the win column, but also to right the ship or at least take a step in the right direction. But if somehow or someway Dallas falls to Philly, it’s not a great way to start a rough stretch, that will also see them play at Chicago and Real Salt Lake.

Who will step up? -- If there has been one truly disconcerting thing about this current bad run of form for FCD, it’s that even with so much upheaval in the first 11, there really hasn’t been anyone to step up and refuse to accept anything less than a win for their club. Backup goalkeeper Chris Seitz fared well in his three-game relief stint while starter Kevin Hartman was out with back spasms, but other than that, who has really stepped up for this team? Blas Perez has been great but that was expected. Great teams or good teams for that matter are clubs where even if the best players are out, there are others who step up and answer the bell. There has been little of that going on in the first 12 games, which could signal a greater problem for FCD going forward.

Start of another tough stretch -- At long last, there is finally some rest on the horizon for FCD. However, the problem is that rest won’t come until after Dallas finishes a three games in a week stretch to finish out its May schedule. That tough slate begins Saturday night against Philadelphia. Then, FCD will play yet another midweek game at Chicago on Wednesday and won’t return home until after the gauntlet ends next Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium against Real Salt Lake. This stretch will mark the third time this season that FCD has played three games in a short period of time and will be the final three of their six matches in the month of May. But for a club that hasn’t won since April 14 and who will be without Shea for the next three games after he was suspended, this stretch definitely has the look of the Bataan Death March more than anything. However, if FCD could get through this with a win, even two or maybe even a draw or two, it would give them some much-needed momentum heading into June.

Schellas Hyndman on the Union

May, 18, 2012
5/18/12
10:42
PM CT
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.

Preview: FC Dallas vs. Philadelphia Union

May, 18, 2012
5/18/12
2:57
PM CT
This weekend's matchup between FC Dallas and the visiting Philadelphia Union has lost plenty of luster with Brek Shea and Freddy Adu unavailable for their struggling teams.

Those key midfielders are suspended for Saturday night's game, with both clubs hoping to end three-game losing streaks.

A poor start to the season for Dallas (3-6-3) took a turn for the worse Thursday when MLS announced a three-game ban for Shea, who kicked the ball at an assistant referee in a 2-1 loss to Columbus last Saturday.

Shea, tied for the team lead with three goals while leading the club with 24 shots and 10 shots on goal, posted an apology on Twitter. Dallas is 0-4-2 since beating expansion Montreal 2-1 on April 14.

Adu was assessed two yellow cards in the first half of the Union's 3-2 home loss to New York on Sunday. The second one was called for simulating a foul in the penalty box.

"When I went down I wasn't complaining to the ref or complaining to anyone," Adu told the Union's official website. "I just wanted to get right back up and the next thing I know the red card comes out."

His absence comes after Philadelphia (2-6-1) scored two goals in a match for the first time. The Union's seven goals in nine games represents the league's third-worst ratio ahead of winless Toronto FC and Chivas USA.

That attack will face a makeshift defense, as Dallas is missing two defensive starters. Ugo Ihemelu will miss his third straight game in the aftermath of a concussion while Zach Loyd is suspended for receiving a red card last week in Columbus.

The club has conceded 18 goals in 12 games, tied with Los Angeles for the second-worst ratio in MLS ahead of Toronto. Dallas has also been issued a league-high four red cards.

"We've had some bad luck with some late goals and bad luck keeping the players on the field," coach Schellas Hyndman told Dallas' official website. "You can say that's bad luck, discipline or intelligence, but those are things that are in our control."

Philadelphia, which ranks right behind Dallas with three red cards, traded defender Danny Califf to Chivas for midfielder Michael Lahoud and allocation money Thursday. Califf started four games, but would have been the odd man out with Gabriel Farfan set to return Saturday after a three-game suspension.

"We have enough speed right now," coach Petr Nowak said. "The trade is going to give us another option as well."

Lionard Pajoy had both goals for the Union on Sunday after scoring once in a 2-1 exhibition victory over German club Schalke 04 on May 9. Those games featured the inclusion of fellow forward Danny Mwanga in the lineup to give Pajoy support.

Dallas is 2-0-2 in the all-time series with Philadelphia, taking both home matchups.
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.

Talking tactics: FC Dallas at Philadelphia Union

August, 15, 2011
8/15/11
12:37
PM CT
When Dallas and Philadelphia met in May, Fabian Castillo torched the Union to the tune of a goal and an assist. With Castillo still out on international duty, it was another newcomer's turn to shine against Philly. Striker Maicon Santos bagged the opening goal, and though he didn't officially earn an assist on the second, it was his pass to Marvin Chavez that created the opportunity for Brek Shea to knock in a rebound.

Philly give Dallas space in the midfield

Santos was instrumental to Dallas' success Saturday evening. His four key passes - defined as passes that lead to a shooting opportunity - topped the team. Santos dropped into the midfield with regularity, attempting a number of passes near the midfield line.

His forays toward his own half were a result of the tactics employed by Peter Novak in Freddy Adu's MLS return. In order to accommodate Adu, Novak unveiled a flexible 4-3-3. Adu joined Sebastian Le Toux and Jack McInerny up top. The three forwards interchanged constantly, and their movement gave the Dallas backline some problems, particularly when midfielder Justin Mapp joined them (one of Mapp's ventures forward led to the first penalty).

But Novak's use of the attacking trio did not come without cost. Dallas likes to break down the wing, so Philadelphia's forwards had to take turns retreating to reinforce the stretched midfield. However, there were a few sequences where one of the forwards failed to provide defensive support. The Union central midfielders were then unable to cover enough ground to prevent Dallas from stringing passes together. And when Santos dropped into the midfield, Dallas easily bypassed Phladelphia's center mids.

Though Dallas' first goal was courtesy a mistake from center back Carlos Valdes, who failed to clear a pass right in front of Santos, the second was due to the stretched Philly midfield. Shea won a challenge in his own half, and because all three Union forwards near Dallas' backline, Shea, Santos, and Chavez were able to quickly break into the Union penalty area.

Dallas errors lead to Union goals

But it was three mistakes that came to characterize FCD's evening. While Jackson and Ihemelu both committed fouls on their respective penalty sequences, neither defender should have been forced to attempt a challenge on the edge of the box. In the first half, Jair Benitez neglected to track the run of Mapp, and Ihemelu had to chase down the Union midfielder. Later on, Jackson created his own conundrum by trying to backheel a clearance, which forced him to run after Gabriel Farfan. And, of course, Jackson was only lining up at fullback because George John earned his second yellow by unnecessarily blundering into the heels of Danny Mwanga.

These gaffes must be eliminated before Wednesday's journey to Pumas. Few teams are able to overcome silly mistakes in the rigorous Champions League.

Blake Owen is the editor and publisher of futbolforgringos.com.

FC Dallas earns road point despite two PKs and a red card

August, 14, 2011
8/14/11
12:40
AM CT
FC Dallas overcame two penalty kicks and a red card to earn a road point on goals by Maicon Santos and Brek Shea at Philadelphia Union on Saturday night.

Santos opened the scoring in the 16th minute after pouncing on a miscue by Carlos Valdes to then loft a ball over the Union net minder. Sebastien Le Toux scored the first Philly PK after Justin Mapp and Ugo Ihemelu got tangled up and went down in the box.

Brek Shea grabbed the 2nd FCD goal after Santos and Marvin Chavez combed for a shot Chavez put off the post. A charging Shea grabbed the rebound.

George John got a 2nd caution in the 80th minute putting FCD down a man. Union capitalized in the 84th minute when Jackson fouled Gabriel Farfan in the box and Le Toux notched his second PK of the night.

With the point, FC Dallas maintains its hold on second place in the Western Conference with a 12-6-7 (43 points) mark, while Philadelphia is also second in the Eastern Conference at 8-5-10 (34 points).

Scoring Summary:
DAL -- Maicon Santos 7 (unassisted) 16
PHI -- Sebastien Le Toux 2 (penalty kick) 33
DAL -- Brek Shea 10 (unassisted) 47+
PHI -- Sebastien Le Toux 3 (penalty kick) 84

FC Dallas -- Kevin Hartman, Zach Loyd, George John, Ugo Ihemelu, Jair Benitez, Marvin Chavez (Andrew Jacobson 82), Bruno Guarda (Daniel Cruz 71), Ricardo Villar, Daniel Hernandez (Jackson 67), Brek Shea, Maicon Santos.

Substitutes Not Used: Eric Alexander, Ruben Luna, Bobby Warshaw, Chris Seitz.

TOTAL SHOTS: 11 (Brek Shea 4); FOULS: 12 (Zach Loyd 3); OFFSIDES: 3 (Marvin Chavez 2); CORNER KICKS: 2 (Ricardo Villar 2); SAVES: 4 (Kevin Hartman 4).

Philadelphia Union -- Faryd Mondragon, Sheanon Williams, Danny Califf, Carlos Valdes, Gabriel Farfan, Justin Mapp (Keon Daniel 79), Freddy Adu (Danny Mwanga 62), Brian Carroll, Veljko Paunovic, Sebastien Le Toux, Jack McInerney (Roger Torres 73).

Substitutes Not Used: Michael Farfan, Stefani Miglioranzi, Amobi Okugo, Zac MacMath.

TOTAL SHOTS: 9 (Sebastien Le Toux 4); FOULS: 14 (Veljko Paunovic 5); OFFSIDES: 4 (Sebastien Le Toux 2); CORNER KICKS: 10 (Sebastien Le Toux 6); SAVES: 4 (Faryd Mondragon 4).

Misconduct Summary:
DAL -- George John (caution; Reckless Foul) 24
PHI -- Freddy Adu (caution; Reckless Tackle) 27
DAL -- Maicon Santos (caution; Dissent) 56
PHI -- Jack McInerney (caution; Reckless Tackle) 68
DAL -- George John (ejection; Second Caution) 80

Referee: Geoff Gamble
Referee's Assistants: -Daniel Belleau; Eric Proctor
4th Official: Drew Fischer
Time of Game: 1:56
Weather: Cloudy-and-79-degrees
Attendance: 18,811
FC Dallas (12-6-6, 2nd West, 42 PTS)
at
Philadelphia Union (8-5-9, 2nd East, 33 PTS)

7:00 PM CT
PPL Park
TV: FSSW

REFEREE: Geoff Gamble.
MLS Career: 6 games; FC/gm: 21.5; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 1; pens: 4
SAR (bench): Daniel Belleau;
JAR (opposite): Eric Proctor;
4th: Drew Fischer

INJURY REPORT:

PHILADELPHIA UNION –
QUESTIONABLE: MF Kyle Nakazawa (illness); FW Levi Houapeu (L ankle strain);
PROBABLE: DF Sheanon Williams (lower leg contusion) …

FC DALLAS –
OUT: DF Edson Edward (R knee ACL tear); MF David Ferreira (R ankle); FW Maykel Galindo (R hamstring strain);
QUESTIONABLE: MF Andrew Jacobson (L knee); DF Jackson (R ankle); DF Ugo Ihemelu (concussion)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: DAL: Fabian Castillo (Colombia U-20)

SUSPENDED: none

WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD:
PHI: Brian Carroll, Carlos Valdes, Sheanon Williams
DAL: Daniel Hernandez, Andrew Jacobson
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS:
PHI: Danny Califf, Danny Mwanga
DAL: Marvin Chavez, Ugo Ihemelu, George John, Zach Loyd, Brek Shea

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (3 meetings):
Union 0 wins, 2 goals
FC Dallas 2 wins, 6 goals
Ties 1

AT PHILADELPHIA (1 meeting):
Union 0 wins, 1 goal
FC Dallas 0 wins, 1 goal
Ties 1

- Brek Shea and Fabian Castillo scored as FC Dallas claimed a 2-0 victory when the clubs first met this season, May 14 at Pizza Hut Park.
- After the teams played to a draw in their first-ever meeting last year in Philadelphia, FC Dallas came away 3-1 winners in the second, Aug. 8 at Pizza Hut Park.

Coaches record:
Schellas Hyndman v PHI: P3 W2 L0 D1
Peter Nowak vs. DAL: P10 W3 L4 D3

LAST MEETING (MLS):
5/14: DAL 2, PHI 0 (Shea 29; Castillo 43)
- FC Dallas opened the scoring in the 29th minute. After skipping past Union defender Jordan Harvey, Fabian Castillo sent a rolling cross to a waiting Brek Shea, who tapped in from almost on the goal line.
- The lead was doubled two minutes before the break. Jackson darted down the right flank and floated in a cross to Castillo between defenders, and he flicked his header past Mondragón.

FC Dallas U17s open Generation adidas Cup play with wins

July, 27, 2011
7/27/11
10:54
AM CT
FC Dallas has two teams participating in the Generation adidas Cup at Pizza Hut Park this week, their U17s and U15s. The Generation adidas Cup is a tournament involving all of the MLS Developmental Academy teams. These are the players that will become the Home grown signings of the future.

MLS clubs participating in the U17 tournament include Chicago Fire, Chivas USA, Columbus Crew, Colorado Rapids, D.C. United, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, LA Galaxy, New England Revolution, New York Red Bulls, Philadelphia Union, Real Salt Lake, San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders, Sporting Kansas City and Toronto FC.

New this year is the U15 version of the tourney with eight MLS clubs including Chivas USA, Columbus Crew, D.C. United, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, LA Galaxy, New York Red Bulls and Seattle Sounders.

FCD U17s defeated Sporting Kansas City 4-2 on Monday night.

Scoring
8' - Marco Ortiz (FCD)
23' - Alessandro Mion (FCD)
25' - Victor Portillo (FCD)
59' - Diego De La Tejera Farias (FCD)
73' - Steven Enna (SKC)
75' - Steven Enna (SKC)

In their second match on Tuesday night FCD faced Philadelphia Union and drew 0-0 with the match going to penalty kicks. FCD prevailed 5-3 in PKS to sit alone atop Group B.

Edit: the U15s opened their tournament with a 4-0 win over Columbus Crew.

Match Grades: FC Dallas v Philly

May, 16, 2011
5/16/11
4:24
PM CT
FC Dallas' impressive 2-0 home victory Saturday night continued the unexpected gathering of points from a side missing its best player and league MVP. Points from the previous four matches came from a collection of luck, opponent's poor form and hard work. The win versus Philly was different because Dallas was largely the better team, worked exponentially harder and played well. On the flip side, there's frustration from the many chances that were left on the table.

Fabian Castillo had his best match in a Dallas shirt. He also had his fair share of misses. Right after utilizing his skill and speed to slice past two Union defenders and picking out Shea for the tap in, he then led the team on a breakaway counter with a personnel advantage. Instead of making the right pass to either flanking, advancing teammate he went solo, lost the ball and ruined the game's easiest goal opportunity. There ended up being one or two more of these situations with Fabian over the course of the match, and he still insists on exclusively going forward when presented with options of patience (to be fair that may be a tactical instruction). That sounds like a lot of concern on what really was Fabian's best performance from Dallas, but they are things to keep an eye on as the season progresses.

When matched with Chavez up top the mound of lost opportunities grows even higher. Chavez far exceeds anyone else on the pitch for FCD in lost chances and he was stacking them up high on Saturday night. As with much of his season, Chavez's shocking speed puts him in advantageous positions in dangerous spots, but the percentage of those that result in real goal opportunities is woefully low.

Alternately, the combination of Castillo and Chavez becomes a wonderful positive because their speed and work rate is an opposing defense's nemesis. Hyndman's instruction to lay the soccer version of the forecheck on thick gave Philly fits all night and this strategy goes a long way in creating different attacking opportunities that are needed without Ferreira.

While the young Columbian deservedly grabbed the MVP, special bonus needs to go to the effective and admirable work of Hernandez and Jacobson. The latter understandably had something different to play for, but the two of them were found all over the field. The former seemingly has found a injection of youth with the amount of pitch he has been covering in David's absence.

The 4-4-2 was effective for most of the night but the team's newness with the formation showed itself in the middle stages of the 1st half as The Union were unlucky not to have scored their own goals from strong counter attacks. Dallas was caught on several early occasions way too narrow and were fortunate that the Union's lack of goal scoring was consistent.

Overall the match should provide the team and fans much to feel good about. Philly has been a solid, consistent side all season long. While not the most dangerous on the attack, defense has been their strongpoint and Dallas is the only side to have breached them with effect all season. Certainly, a notch on the belt.

Grades: (5 is an average performance, 10 is a world-class mindbender. Please note in my system, each player is held to a different standard based on their experience, position and expectation. ie: a Luna grade of "5" is likely different that a Milton grade of "5".)

Hartman: 7 - A quiet night.

Jackson: 7 - Effects the match every game, this time it was positively. He again was lucky and got away with a terrible attempted a tackle in the 2nd half. - His pro/con equation is a tough problem

John: 8 - The good feeling about him continues to grow

Ugo: 8 - Starting to regain the form of 2010 and partnership with John is one of the team's greatest strength.

Loyd: 6 - Still working on the positional part of his game, but overcomes mistakes with his athleticism.

Shea: 8 - So much of what he tried and missed on in 2010 is working for him this season. There is an obvious confidence flowing with that hair.

Alexander: 6 - He's not making magic, but his steady, consistent game maybe more important than step overs and nutmegs.

Hernandez: 7 - A "Captain's Captain".

Jacobson: 7 - Wonderful performance on a personally important night. If only he'd converted that chance.

Chavez: 5 - Speed is like good looks, it will get you far, but you gotta show that you can do something with it.

Castillo: 8 - Continued output like this and Dallas' wait for Ferreira's return won't seem so long.

Subs:

Luna: 6

Guarda: n/a

Warshaw: n/a

Match Grade: B+

Ed note: Grades are for entertainment purposes only. Do not take them to heart, personally or otherwise. If you don’t like the grades may we suggest instead of only calling the author names and bein’ an anonymous meanie, how about you put your grades and explanation in the comment section below. After doing that, then you can then call the author names and remain anonymous, you just won’t be a meanie. Discourse is good for the soul.

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