FC Dallas reaches historic mark with win in Mexico
After years of league-wide shortcomings to collect three points in Mexico, all it took was one attempt for FC Dallas to halt the league winless streak south of the border.
Wednesday night at Estadio Universitario, FC Dallas – in its first CONCACAF Champions League appearance – defeated Mexican kings Pumas UNAM 1-0 to end the 24-game MLS winless streak in Mexico, shedding the ghosts of years past.
“We are the first to beat a good Mexican team in Mexico,” said head coach Schellas Hyndman in his postgame press conference. “I hope that more MLS teams will have the same courage to play good soccer and I hope that we can continue to find success here.”
In the past 24 attempts throughout Mexico only three MLS teams had even tied their opponent, but history changed just past the hour mark on a wet summer night in Mexico City.
In the 65th minute a hard-working Marvin Chavez collected the rebound off a Jair Benitez long distance blast that bounced off the right post, placing his ensuing shot past the out-of-position Pumas goalkeeper Odin Patino.
Chavez – who provided high pressure on the Pumas defense throughout the night – credited the unity of his teammates for the landmark.
“I am very happy for all of my teammates,” the Honduran international said. “The most important thing of the group tonight was the attitude of the group and we hope to continue working in the same manner.”
Defensively, FC Dallas goalkeeper and MLS legend Kevin Hartman saved the day, stopping three shots -- perhaps none more important than the tone-setting block 18-yards away from his goal on a one-on-one in the opening moments.
The 2010 MLS Coach of the Year, Hyndman hopes that Wednesday’s achievement will open the gate for future MLS success against Mexican teams in their country.
“I’ll tell you that the first man who broke the four-minute mile was a man named Roger Bannister,” said Hyndman in relation to the famous running record. "The next week another six people broke the four-minute mile because they believed in it.”
The three points didn’t come without sacrifice, as Chavez and FC Dallas fought high altitude and wet weather to fend off the 2011 Mexican Clausura champions.
“In the opening minutes the altitude affected us, but we knew about that,” Chavez said. “I think that the attitude of the group tonight helped us get a good result.
Added Hyndman: “I think we just tired them a little bit with our ability to withstand their pressure. It took an outstanding goal for us to beat a very good team tonight.”