The script was going pretty much according to plan for FC Dallas through the first hour of Sunday’s loss to the LA Galaxy.
As in their two road wins last week, Dallas held their opponents off the board through halftime and looked to ramp up the pressure in the second half. Unfortunately for FCD, another winning sequel was not in the cards.
“They’re consistent,” defender Zach Loyd said via phone after the loss. “They know what they do well and they continue to press for 90 minutes. They know if you make a mistake that they’re going to capitalize on it, and I think tonight is a key example of how they put pressure on teams and create their own opportunities from that pressure.”
Dallas spent much of the week in training preparing for the Galaxy’s high-pressure defensive strategy, but one mental lapse cost them dearly.
Rookie defender Matt Hedges has been arguably the defensive MVP for FC Dallas in 2012, but in a rare rookie-like moment, the center back was caught in possession by youngster Jose Villarreal. Just seconds later, Villarreal rounded goalkeeper Kevin Hartman and sent the ball across to Juninho for the opening goal.
Head coach Schellas Hyndman compared the defensive lapse to one seen earlier in the day during Liverpool’s 2-2 draw with Manchester City.
“Sometimes you see that at all levels,” Hyndman told reporters after the game. “You saw it today; you saw it in the Liverpool game. You just make a bad mistake and they capitalize on it. I was glad to see the guys continue to fight.”
FC Dallas allowed a second goal in the 84th minute on another uncharacteristic defensive miscue, allowing left back Todd Dunivant to sneak it and slot home past Hartman. It’s a testament to just how well the Dallas defense has done at keeping games close this season that the 2-0 defeat was just the second time this year that FCD has been beaten by multiple goals in a game where they didn’t suffer a red card.
“I think that we created some really good opportunities for ourselves, but the ball wasn’t bouncing right,” Hyndman said, “and then, of course, what we’ve been talking about all week was not giving them goals or making mistakes that would lead to a goal. Unfortunately, we did.”