MLS Regular Season
Sitting on top of MLS by three points after Saturday's big win over the two-time defending champion LA Galaxy, the weekly MLS Power Rankings make for some nice reading no matter which site you check out. In pretty much all the power rankings out there, FC Dallas is in either first or second place and we've rounded them up to get a good look at what people around the league think of first-place FCD.
The MLSsoccer.com power rankings have FCD in second place behind Kansas City, jumping all the way up from seventh. Jeff Carlisle's ESPN Power Rankings have FC Dallas in the top spot, up from last week's second place position. Avi Creditor over at SI.com has FC Dallas in first while Soccer By Ives also has Schellas Hyndman's men in the top spot.
It's been quite a week for George John. The big defender scored his second goal of the season on Saturday in the 88th minute to beat the defending-champion Galaxy and then was felled by a bottle thrown from the stands. Of course, John is OK and sporting a smile on his face today. He made the media rounds Monday afternoon discussing Saturday's wild game.
George was on with Bob and Dan on 1310 The Ticket earlier this afternoon in an over 20-minute must listen interview that you can hear below(thanks to Tom Gribble at 1310 for the audio).
George was also on with MLS Extra Time yesterday afternoon to give you a full double dose of the big defender.
Click here to listen to George with the fellas from MLSsoccer.com.
20,465 at FC Dallas Stadium were treated to a show tonight in Frisco as we saw two PKs stopped and a late George John game-winner to push FCD farther into first place in MLS. Here are the highlights from the epic win:
MOVES: Ferreira puts Juninho on his backside.
SAVE: Magee stopped by a diving Fernandez.
OFFSIDE: Cooper scores, but the flag is up.
RED CARD: Leonardo takes down Blas Perez earning a PK and a red card.
SAVE: Cudicini stops Cooper from the penalty spot.
PENALTY: Villarreal earns PK for the Galaxy.
SAVE: Fernandez denies Donovan.
GOAL: George John wins it in the 88th minute.
Just about everything was going right for FC Dallas through the first half of Saturday's game at Toronto FC. Andrew Jacobson's 34th-minute strike put the away side in front, but a peculiar moment happened just before halftime.
A hard cross fired in by Michel met the head of George John at an awkward angle and while the big defender popped right back up, things didn't seem quite right as they walked off the field at the break. Suffering from some balance loss at halftime, Schellas Hyndman chose to not take any chances and substituted in rookie defender London Woodberry.
While there have been some thoughts that John may not be able to go this weekend against Los Angeles, Hyndman dispelled those fears after practice on Wednesday.
"He had a pretty bad headache and balance loss out in Toronto which really affected our performance, but for safety’s sake we went down the road of protecting players," Hyndman told FCDallas.com. "Yesterday, he was cleared by the doctors and just did a warmup at SMU. Today we got him involved in training, but used him as a neutral to keep him away from heading. Our thoughts are that he’ll be alright for this weekend."
FC Dallas' 2-2 draw with Toronto FC over the weekend had differing effects on the various power rankings around the online soccer community. The most dramatic change took place at MLSsoccer.com, where the Power Rankings politburo dropped FC Dallas from fifth place to seventh.
The rankings by other sources weren't near as harsh, as ESPN FC was the only other entity that dropped FC Dallas, but by only one spot from first to second. Two sites opinions of the club were unchanged by the draw; Yahoo! Sports kept FCD as its number one and Bleacher Report held Dallas steady at second place. Sports Illustrated, on the other hand, actually moved FC Dallas up a spot from fourth to third after the draw.
What do you think? Who has FC Dallas ranked most accurately?
It's been a good month for Andrew Jacobson.
The FCD midfielder scored his second goal of the season on Saturday - a new single-season high - and now MLSSoccer.com has named him to their Team of the Week for the second time in a row. Scroll down to see their comments on the Jacobson's game against Toronto FC and watch his great goal one more time.
MF: Andrew Jacobson (FC Dallas) – A second consecutive Team of the Week honoree, this time for his performance in FCD's 2-2 draw at Toronto FC. Though Dallas eventually dropped their two-goal lead, Jacobson was a force at both ends of the field and did well to open the scoring.
Raul Fernandez made four huge saves in Saturday's 2-2 draw with Toronto FC, but none was bigger than his sprawling, fingertip denial of Darren O'Dea's flicked-on shot.
MLSSoccer.com has nominated this stop for Save of the Week so head on over and give Raul a vote(or ten)!
Letting a two-goal lead slip away with under ten minutes left makes for a long trip home no matter the opponent.
Still, despite coming away from Canada with the solitary point, Zach Loyd knows earning four points from consecutive road games against TFC and New England is an acceptable overall result.
"We come out [of the road trip] with four points, so from that perspective it was a great road trip," Loyd said after Saturday's game. "It was frustrating not to get the six points after being up two goals, but we are very happy to come away with four points. Now, we get two home games where we hope to win both of them and stay at the top of the table."
Before Justin Braun's 85th minute header ended the defensive shutout streak at 272 minutes, the Dallas defense held TFC to just three speculative shots on goal, but unfortunately all that will be remembered is the two late strikes from the home side.
"We got a two goal lead, but we kind of took our foot off the pedal and started sitting in and tried to kill the game instead of continuing to play," said Loyd. "We took a lot of pressure in the last 30 minutes and I tip my hat to Toronto, they were down two goals and they showed a lot of resilience to come back and get two goals."
With LA - a team known for late goals - coming to town on Saturday night, late-game defense will certainly be a focus this week as Dallas looks for three points on Saturday to widen their first-place lead in the Western Conference.
"Going forward with leads we need to not take our foot off the pedal and keep possession," said Loyd.
Full match highlights from Saturday's 2-2 draw between FCD and Toronto FC
CROSSBAR: Andrew Jacobson pings one off the crossbar on a dipping effort from 30 yards out
GOAL: Andrew Jacobson finishes a free kick from Michel for his second goal of the season to give FCD a first-half advantage
GOAL: Blas Perez blasts home a long cross from Jackson to double Dallas' advantage in the 59th minute
GOAL: Second half substitute Justin Braun scores off a Dallas miscommunication to pull TFC within a goal
SAVE: Raul Fernandez gets a fingertip on Darren O'Dea's flick to preserve the FCD lead
WIDE: Fabian Castillo just misses restoring the two-goal Dallas advantage after a long run
GOAL: Darrel Russel hits an incredible shot in the 90th minute to steal a point for Toronto FC
Congratulations go out to FC Dallas midfielder Andrew Jacobson who was named to MLSSoccer.com's Team of the Week for week five. It's the first time Jacobson, who was named man of the match in the MLSSoccer.com game recap, has made the Team of the Week while FCD goalkeeper Raul Fernandez also appears on the bench this week. Read Nicholas Rosano's comments on Jacobson's game as well as some numbers behind his performance below:
Bench: Raúl Fernández (FC Dallas), Todd Dunivant (LA Galaxy), Dax McCarty (New York Red Bulls), Boniek García (Houston Dynamo), Eric Avila (Chivas USA), Tony Cascio (Colorado Rapids), Jose Villarreal (LA Galaxy)
MF: Andrew Jacobson (FC Dallas) – Was immense in the middle of the park as Dallas snatched a late 1-0 win on the road against New England. Shut down nearly everything the Revolution attempted to create through the midfield, allowing the FCD attackers more comfort going forward.
The OPTA Chalkboard numbers from Saturday's game certainly justify Rosano's comments. Jacobson truly was a force in the midfield at New England, logging 79 actions - his most of any game this season - while completing a team-high six headers. His passing game was on point as well, completing a season-high 37 passes with just seven unsuccessful passes for a successful passing ratio of 84% - also a season-best.
Do you think MLSSoccer.com got this one right? Should any other FC Dallas players have been included after the big road win?