After tying the second-longest unbeaten streak in franchise history at nine games, FC Dallas hit a bump in the road last week. A 4-2 loss to a very strong squad from Seattle is FCD’s first loss since way back on March 10th. FC Dallas returns home to try and start a new streak with the San Jose Earthquakes coming to town (Saturday 7:30PM TXA21HD). They are plenty of extremely interesting numbers to tell the tale of these two squads coming into their first matchup of the season:
0.57 goals against average for FC Dallas at home. That is four goals given up in seven games at FC Dallas Stadium and the 0.57 GAA on their home ground is the 2nd best number in the league. Only the LA Galaxy’s 0.4 GAA is better (two goals surrendered in five home games). FC Dallas will be looking for that home fortress again since it will be four weeks before a league game is scheduled for Frisco after Saturday's game. San Jose is a team that is struggling on the road with three losses and two draws in away matches and they have been outscored 10-3.
5 times FC Dallas allowed four goals in game since Schellas Hyndman took over as head coach in June 2008. Again, the very in-form Seattle Sounders FC did it last weekend, the previous occurrence was at DC last March and it happened against this week’s opponent San Jose in a road loss to end the 2011 regular season on October 22nd though FCD was playing mostly reserves in that match.
457 consecutive scoreless minutes played by FC Dallas with George John on the field. Hopefully the defensive leakage of last game will be plugged as it appears John is poised to return to the pitch for the first time since a knee injury sustained April 27th in Vancouver. The last time George John was on the field and an opponent scored was an 83rd minute goal by Brad Davis in the Texas Derby against Houston. Toronto and Vancouver both scored two second half goals after John left those respective games with injuries. With John sitting out three consecutive full games, FCD has allowed six total goals to Portland, DC and Seattle.
34 straight games started by FC Dallas defender Matt Hedges. That is the longest stretch of consecutive games started right now by an FC Dallas player, which started with a home match against Philadelphia last May 19, the previous week at Columbus was the last time Hedges appeared in a game as a sub. He has started every FCD game since, but the very impressive streak of durability and reliability for the second year center back is in jeopardy due to a right hamstring strain suffered last week.
10 goals from corner kicks and free kicks for FC Dallas this season, highlighted by Michel’s sensational olimpico goal against Seattle last week - honored as the MLS Goal of the Week. With half of the goals coming from set pieces, the incredible service from Michel (especially on in-swinging corners) is proving to be a tremendous weapon for FC Dallas.
61 goals scored by San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski from 2010 through 2012. The three season total is the highest in MLS history, topped by tying Roy Lassiter’s single season league record of 27 last year. However he didn’t score one of those 27 goals last season against FC Dallas, the only Western Conference team to hold that distinction. A big save late in a home match by Kevin Hartman and a negated penalty kick due to encroachment were among the things that kept Wondo off the board against FCD. In 2013, Wondolowski has scored five, with Philadelphia’s Jack McInerney leading the Golden Boot race with eight.
2.12 goals per game scored by San Jose en route to winning last year’s MLS Supporters Shield. The explosive Earthquakes offense carried them to their league best 66 points and they were the 11th team in league history to average at least two goals per match in a season. However they were the first since the Galaxy and now defunct Miami Fusion did it in 2001. Obviously, the San Jose offense was a major weapon for them last season and that is not clicking this year. With them scoring only 1.0 goals per match, San Jose is only bettering Colorado’s 0.92 goals/match in the West rankings.
1.26 goals against average for San Jose last season. That was the highest for a Supporters' Shield winner since the Chicago Fire in 2003 (1.43 GAA as a team). The high powered offense for San Jose last year helped offset a less than air tight defense, but a big reason for the Earthquakes struggles this year is both the offense and defense have taken steps back. Much like their scoring offense, the Earthquakes scoring defense ranks 8th in the West on a per match basis at 1.46 GAA. Only Chivas USA is letting in more goals per contest amongst the West.
6 match unbeaten streak for San Jose against FC Dallas. The Earthquakes already held an advantage in the all-time series between the two and they have been padded it since the last FC Dallas win in the series in June 2010. Since then, San Jose has three wins and the teams have drawn three. Last season, FC Dallas lost once, and the teams drew twice with the last one a wild 3-3 affair in late September where Steven Lenhart leveled the match in stoppage time. His equalizer was one of an MLS record nine second half stoppage time goals scored by San Jose in 2012.
0.90 goals scored per 90 minutes last year by the Earthquakes Alan Gordon. That is the 6th highest G/90 number for a player in league history (minimum 20 games). It was also the best since former FC Dallas man Carlos Ruiz in LA in 2002. Gordon has missed time this year due to a suspension for a well-publicized incident involving cameras catching a slur that Gordon directed at Portland’s Will Johnson. Gordon’s suspension and Steven Lenhart’s injury have resulted in rocky starts for the two. Both of them were double-digit goal scorers last season and neither have opened their accounts for 2013, with each only making five appearances so far. Clearly that is another major shift in the state of the Earthquakes this year compared to last. FC Dallas is hoping another week goes by before those two find their scoring touch.
So the numbers say it is two teams having much different 2013 seasons compared to what happened in 2012. We’ll see if it holds up. Enjoy the match on this holiday weekend everyone!