MLS Regular Season
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?
David Ferreira is in the running for MLSsoccer.com's Top 3 Performers of the Month for his output through five games in March.
The FC Dallas captain scored a goal or an assist in four of FCD's first five matches. Ferreira's lone goal came in the club's only loss of the season, 3-1, to Chivas USA.
El Torito also set up FCD's game-winning goals against the Colorado Rapids and New England Revolution, with his third assist of the month coming on Dallas' second goal in a 3-2 win over the Houston Dynamo.
You can vote for Ferriera to be one of the Top 3 Performers of the Month here.
After beating the New England Revolution, 1-0, on Saturday, FC Dallas has climbed two more spots in MLSsoccer.com's Power Rankings to the fifth spot. The club has been ranked as low as 15th in the league's power rankings after the loss to Chivas USA in Week 2, but since FC Dallas has made its run to the top of the league standings the team has moved up 10 spots.
You can see the full MLSsoccer.com Power Rankings here.
Other sites have FC Dallas ranked higher. Sport's Illustrated ranked FCD fourth, while Bleacher Report put the club in second place and Yahoo! Sports and ESPN FC both have FC Dallas ranked as number one.
What do you think? Where should FC Dallas be in the MLS Power Rankings?
Full match highlight from FC Dallas' 1-0 win over the New England Revolution.
SAVE: Great buildup by FC Dallas ends with Revs GK Bobby Shuttleworth blocking David Ferreira's shot on goal.
SAVE: Raul Fernandez pushes Jerry Bengtson's header over the crossbar to keep the match level.
CALLED BACK: Kenny Cooper's second half goal is ruled offside.
SAVE: Fernandez comes up big on Juan Toja point blank.
GOAL: Blas Perez heads home the late winner for FC Dallas.