Match Preview: FC Dallas vs. Philadelphia Union
FC DALLAS vs PHILADELPHIA UNION
TOYOTA STADIUM, Frisco, Texas
July 4, 2014 (WEEK 17, MLS Game #150)
8 p.m. CT (TWCS-TX; TCN-Phi)
FC Dallas return home to take on the Philadelphia Union in a holiday interconference matchup when the clubs meet Friday evening at Toyota Stadium. FC Dallas head back home following a weather-delayed scoreless draw with the Columbus Crew last weekend, their second consecutive tie. The Union made a winner of interim manager Jim Curtin in his coaching debut, a 3-1 victory at the New England Revolution last Saturday.
REFEREE: Edvin Jurisevic. SAR (bench): Paul Scott; JAR (opposite): Jonathan Johnson; 4th: Jose Carlos Rivero
Jurisevic MLS career: 74 games; FC/gm: 22.4; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 12; pens: 11
SUSPENDED: DAL: Fabian Castillo (through July 27)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: DAL: Fabian Castillo
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: DAL: Matt Hedges, Michel, Blas Perez, Je-Vaughn Watson, Victor
Ulloa … PHI: Maurice Edu, Fabinho, Raymon Gaddis
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (6 meetings): FC Dallas 2 wins, 11 goals … Union 0 wins, 7 goals … Ties 4
AT DALLAS (3 meetings): FC Dallas 2 wins, 6 goals … Union 0 wins, 2 goals … Ties 1
LAST YEAR (MLS):
6/29: PHI 2, DAL 2 (Okugo 20; Wheeler 87 – Zimmerman 24; Perez 97+)
- This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
- FC Dallas are unbeaten all-time vs. Philadelphia, in six meetings. FCD is 2-0-1 vs. Union at home.
- The teams have played to four draws, in all three meetings lifetime in Philadelphia, including a 2-2 result last June 29 in the only meeting between the teams.
- Coaches' records: Jim Curtin vs. DAL: first game … Oscar Pareja vs. PHI: P3 W1 L1 T1
FC Dallas reached their second consecutive draw, playing to a scoreless result with the Columbus Crew on Sunday afternoon at Crew Stadium. FC Dallas sit in fourth place in the Western Conference with 23 points from 18 games.
- The match was postponed for one day after a fan was injured in a lightning storm during a weather delay.
- FC Dallas came closest to scoring, twice seeing balls cleared off the line. The best chance came in the 13th minute, when Michel hit a firm shot from a corner kick, but Michael Parkhurst was in the perfect position to chest the ball off the line. Then in the 83rd minute, FCD substitute David Texeira headed down a cross that goalkeeper Steve Clark pinned the ball on the line for his lone save of the match.
- FCD goalkeeper Chris Seitz was credited with two saves in keeping the clean sheet.
- FCD head coach Oscar Pareja made three changes to the team that played to a 2-2 draw with the Portland Timbers at Providence Park. Matt Hedges, Jair Benitez and Michel all came into the side, in place of the suspended Moises Hernandez, Fabian Castillo and Blas Perez.
- FC DALLAS (4-4-2): Chris Seitz - Zach Loyd, Stephen Keel, Matt Hedges, Jair Benitez - Je-Vaughn Watson, Victor Ulloa, Adam Moffat (Peter Luccin 67), Michel (Andrew Jacobson 74) - Andres Escobar, Tesho Akindele (David Texeira 80).
- FC Dallas extended their undefeated run to three games with the delayed draw in Columbus, their third consecutive draw on the road, dating back to the scoreless draw at Real Salt Lake on May 24.
- “Really, it comes down to goals. Goals give you points. I can't explain myself of how we didn't end up with three points,” said FCD head coach Oscar Pareja. “We had four clear chances to score, everybody saw it. But that was due to hard work, discipline, the tactical discipline the boys showed.”
- Said defender Zach Loyd: “It’s a great point for us on the road. It’s really tough to regroup after something like that happened [Saturday] night. For the guys to come out and do the work that we did and to come out with the clean sheet was really big for us.”
- FCD has still won just once over its last 11 league matches, with four draws over that time.
- “Our team put out a lot of energy. With my players, I have to say that despite those challenges, this is one of the best performances we've had during the year,” said Pareja. “I don't really have an explanation of how we didn't get the three points. It was absolutely a great game for Dallas.”
- Chris Seitz returned between the posts after a two-match absence and recorded his second shutout in the last three league games.
- “We kept a clean sheet, which was good. Didn’t look like conceding too many times, but probably should have scored a few. I think we’re disappointed about that. You come on the road, you bury your two chances and get your three points,” said midfielder Adam Moffat. “We didn’t get that, but at the same time, it was positive. We were disciplined in our shape and we didn’t give them too much. They had a lot of the ball, but in places that we’re fine with.”
- Matt Hedges returned to central defense after missing the Portland match entirely, after an injury forced him off at halftime of the June 7 game vs. Colorado.
- Michel also returned to the lineup after missing the last five league games through injury, coming in on the left side of the midfield and playing 74 minutes.
The Philadelphia Union made a winner of their interim manager in his first MLS match, defeating the New England Revolution 3-1 on Saturday evening at Gillette Stadium. The Union are in seventh place in the Eastern Conference with 18 points from 17 games.
- Union took the lead through some good fortune in the 42nd minute. Sebastien Le Toux pounced on a weak back pass from New England’s Jose Goncalves, who headed toward ‘keeper Brad Knighton under pressure, and the Union striker popped it over the Revs shot-stopper from inside the box.
- The lead was doubled in the 69th minute when Michael Lahoud fed Cruz after clearing a corner, setting up the winger to dribble 60 yards before unleashing a blast from outside the top of the box that eluded the outstretched Knighton.
- The Revolution pulled a goal back in the 73rd minute, as substitute Saer Sene tapped home from close range with his left foot on a perfect cross into the goal area from Kelyn Rowe.
- But Union put the game away five minutes later. Racing forward on the counter attack, Andrew Wenger pulled back a rolling ball from the right edge of the area that Le Toux collected and snapped home for his second goal of the night.
- Union interim manager Jim Curtin made two changes to the team that reached a 3-3 draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps at PPL Park. Michael Lahoud and Sebastien Le Toux came into the side in place of Vincent Nogueira and Zach Pfeffer.
- PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-2-3-1): Zac MacMath - Raymon Gaddis, Sheanon Williams, Maurice Edu, Fabinho - Amobi Okugo, Michael Lahoud - Danny Cruz (Aaron Wheeler 79), Cristian Maidana, Sebastien Le Toux (Brian Carroll 84) - Conor Casey (Andrew Wenger 70).
- The game was the first league contest in charge for Jim Curtin after he took over for John Hackworth, who was dismissed following the 3-3 draw vs. Vancouver.
- “It has nothing to do with the coach. It has to do with the players,” Curtin said. “I have good players. I would say that the first half of the year we had a lot of very good players that had a poor first half of the season. This is the second half of the season, it’s a new start for them.”
- Sebastien Le Toux scored two goals in a game for the second consecutive match, also netting twice in the Union’s 2-1 win in the U.S. Open Cup against the NASL New York Cosmos. It was the fifth multiple-goal game of Le Toux’s MLS career, his first since Sept. 29, 2011, when he scored for Philadelphia vs D.C. United.
- In his last five games in all competitions (three league matches, two Open Cup ties), Le Toux has six goals and three assists. Since Curtin has taken over, Le Toux has played more as an out-and-out striker; he was making his first start in a league game since May 3.
- “It feels great scoring the amount of goals that I have in the past couple of games. I was injured for a little while with back spasms which I was playing with – so the fact that I feel 100 percent going into the game feels great,” said Le Toux. “I just want to feel as well in the future and I know that I can bring more to the team. If the coach puts me more as a forward along with my confidence I think that I can do well going into the future.”
- There was a major shift in the back end for Union. As he had in both Open Cup matches, Maurice Edu moved from central midfield into central defense, alongside Sheanon Williams, and Amobi Okugo moved forward into a holding midfield role.
- “Amobi (Okugo) did a great job in center midfield. He broke up a ton of plays, connected his passes, and you saw Mo (Edu) in the air. Athletically, he can compete with anybody,” said Curtin. “Mo is a soccer player. I’ve said it before, he can play any position on the field – he’s that gifted. He was our captain, he led us, and the guys bought into him holding things together back there and he did a good job. Plus, he can pass out of the back, so it’s a very good thing.”
- Said Okugo: I like playing in the middle as I’m getting more touches on the ball. I’m used to playing there as well, and feel comfortable there. The most important thing is that I want to help the team as much as possible, so I am willing to play wherever the coaches want me to.”
- Michael Lahoud made his first league start of the season, after two appearances off the substitutes’ bench, and he recorded his first assist of the year.
- Aaron Wheeler came on for the final 11 minutes in a wide attacking role. Wheeler had started the season in a conversion to a central defender, making eight starts there.
- “I think that a huge reason for our success is the fact that our coaches tried some new ideas tactically defensively and offensively. We were able to get adjusted to them quickly and it has turned to great results,” Okugo said.