First shutout a "monkey off the back" for FC Dallas defense
FRISCO - Coming into Saturday’s match at RSL, FC Dallas had the dubious distinction as one of just four teams in MLS that had not logged a shutout through the 2014 season which is now nearing three months old.
It’s not that the Dallas defense had been bad, with numbers that are middle-of-the-road in MLS and multiple games with dominant defensive efforts that were undone by one mental slip, but they still hadn’t posted that bagel on the scoreboard until Saturday night’s scoreless draw at Real Salt Lake. That fact alone may have been one of the reasons head coach Oscar Pareja said after the game that it felt like his squad won more than one point.
“That was a really important shutout for us. I think it got the monkey off the back a little bit,” said Walker Zimmerman on Wednesday after training. “It was just a great team performance. You look at everyone on the field and everyone put in the defensive work and that’s why we got the shutout.”
It’s not a secret that FCD has been slumping recently having failed to notch a victory in their last seven matches, but sometimes all it takes is a little spark to turn things around, especially when it’s simply the results on the scoreboard that are the problem rather than the effort shown on the field. Multiple players mentioned the full team effort on Saturday night, one that was finally rewarded with a hard-earned point.
HIGHLIGHTS: FCD 0, RSL 0
“It starts from Seitz and all the way up to the top with Blas and Tesho pressuring the guys,” Moises Hernandez said of the shutout. “Everyone did a great job and it’s going to help our team going forward.”
One of the biggest positives was the midfield play of Adam Moffat and Victor Ulloa. The two have certainly begun to form a solid partnership in the middle having played together for three games in a row.
“Victor and Adam were definitely the men of the match,” said Zimmerman. “They covered a lot of ground and had a lot of range and if they put that kind of work in every week, it’s going to be tough to break us down.”
Coach Pareja agreed with Zimmerman’s assessment.
“I think it was the best game [of the season] for our midfielders in that regard, being solid and consistent and covering a lot of ground also,” said Pareja. “Because when you see these guys running almost 12 kilometers in the game after playing three games in a week, you have to be amazed.”
With the defensive monkey off their backs and a return to Toyota Stadium where they’ve only been shutout once this year, the young FCD backline knows the importance of continuing the effort seen at RSL straight into Saturday’s showdown with San Jose.
“We’ve got these next two games at home that are going to be pretty critical,” said Zimmerman. “Getting six points these next two games is our goal and it would put us in a pretty good spot.”