FRISCO - The most grueling week of 2014 is over and FC Dallas is still standing.
Playing their third game in nine days against a rested Seattle Sounders team, Oscar Pareja’s men secured a gritty 1-1 draw that leaves them with at least a fighter’s chance of advancing in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
“They showed nationally today that they’re not only a playoff team, but a team that can play against anyone,” Pareja said after the match.
Pareja praised his team after Sunday’s draw saying he thought it was one of the best performances of the season with a team still recovering from an exhausting 2-1 win in Wednesday’s knockout round match against Vancouver. The Dallas defense did a good job limiting the fearsome duo of Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins to two real chances in the match and we’re just a set piece goal away from taking an advantage to the Emerald City.
“What I can see from the bench was a team very structured and very disciplined tactically,” said Pareja. “I thought we were spot on with what we wanted controlling the middle with [Obafemi] Martins and Clint [Dempsey], controlling [DeAndre] Yedlin with Tesho [Akindele], a tremendous job and in the middle I thought we absorbed what they had with the energy and physicality.”
The task now in front of FC Dallas is either winning outright at CenturyLink Field next Monday night or securing a 1-1 draw that would force extra time or a 2-2 or higher draw that would see FC Dallas advance on away goals.
“We have 90 minutes remaining and we can score there also,” said Pareja. “It’s frustrating any time that you concede a goal, especially because I understand the advantage of scoring away and the players do too, but that is nothing we can’t repeat. We can score there also.”
For an FC Dallas team that scored in 13 of 17 road games including a late 2-1 loss at Seattle, the goals are certainly attainable.
“I know we can do it and this group of players can do it,” said Pareja. “In that locker room, they believe in that, maybe [around the league] they feel different, but as I said we’ll be ready for the game on Monday because we showed today that it’s a challenge for them to face FC Dallas.”
“They already scored away but who says we can’t do it?” said Pareja. “We’re prepared for 90 plus minutes in Seattle and they need make sure that we don’t score there. We can do it and have done it this year already.”