FC Dallas’ first loss of the season was a tough one to swallow.
After taking an early 1-0 lead, FCD twice crumbled in a half’s dying minutes – first allowing an Aurélien Collin equalizer in first-half stoppage, then Kei Kamara’s winner in the 88th minute in an eventual 2-1 loss at Sporting Kansas City.
“Heartbreaking” might be too strong a word, but Dallas certainly weren’t leaving KC with smiles on their faces.
“It was a disappointing game for us, but we fought,” defender Ugo Ihemelu said after the match. “We gave up two big goals. It was just very disappointing. It’s one of those games where we feel like we should have at least came out of there with one point.”
In the 25th minute, Ricardo Villar gave Dallas a 1-0 lead after bending a fantastic free kick over the Sporting KC wall. It seemed like the score was going to stay that way heading into halftime, but Collin equalized three-and-a-half minutes into first-half stoppage time.
Ihemelu called Collins goal “frustrating” but what really infuriated the FC Dallas captain was Kamara’s winner.
“We were getting pressured all game,” Ihemelu said. “That’s the way they play. The last goal for them to win it was just another counter. I worked hard to get through the box, and maybe I reacted late. I tried to recover on Kei, and he just got a foot on it. With five minutes to go, we shouldn’t have let the ball get behind us. That was the worst thing that could’ve happened.”
Head coach Schellas Hyndman stressed the importance of stopping Sporting KC’s attacking five, and Dallas did a good job of it for the first 45 minutes.
Then players seemed to start wearing down and missing assignments. With George John making his first start and Bobby Warshaw coming in for an injured Villar in the second half, the backline had to adjust quickly, and couldn’t.
“We can’t really make excuses," Ihemelu said. "Other teams are going to have to make changes as well so it’s a part of the game. That’s why teams have 28-man rosters. Guys come in and you have to do with what you have. You can’t make excuses. We try to jell and keep getting better. We should have gotten the job done and came out of here with at least a point. It was unfortunate.”
With another road trip coming up against D.C. United on Friday, Ihemelu believes his team needs to put the loss behind them and get re-focused as soon as Sunday night.
“I think we’re already in the process of moving on,” Ihemelu said. “We just have to learn from the mistakes we made. I’m sure when we get back to Dallas, we’re going to try to fix them. We go to D.C. next week, and we’re going to fight.”