Focus Turns to MLS for FC Dallas After Open Cup Loss

FRISCO — FC Dallas’ Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup journey ended in the 89th minute after Sporting Kansas City’s Yohan Croizet lined up a volley at the top of the 18-yard box and fired into the top left corner. After a back-and-forth match, which had seen a total of four goals up to that point, FCD’s Open Cup run was over with one swift kick.

The attention now turns back to Major League Soccer play where Dallas sits tied for first in the Western Conference with a game in hand on Sporting KC. FCD will play Sporting once again at Children’s Mercy Park on July 28. Until then, Dallas will play six games in league play and will have the chance to pull ahead of Sporting before the two sides’ next matchup.

“We went in there thinking we could battle it out and we did for 89 minutes, those few mistakes that we made just cost us the game,” Reggie Cannon said. “We were level with them and sometimes we even pushed over their level. Oscar just told us to keep our heads up for the next game, and I think we’re sitting very nice right now in MLS and we have to progress.”

It all starts this weekend against the New York Red Bulls, who currently sit in fourth place in the Eastern Conference. Dallas’ Cup run may be over, but it is still in a good position in the west ahead of its trip to the Big Apple. Matt Hedges said the most important thing for the team to do after a tough loss is to put it in the back of your mind and move on.

“Just move on,” Hedges said. “We didn’t win. That’s the Open Cup, if you don’t win, you’re out. Now we go back to league play where we’ve been doing well, so we just have to try to keep that moving forward.”

Coincidentally, New York is also coming off an Open Cup loss at the hands of the Philadelphia Union. The Union scored two goals in succession in the second half, and even though the Red Bulls got one back, it was too much to overcome. New York went home empty-handed, and like FC Dallas, its Open Cup run was over.

The two teams now sit in a similar situation. The goal of winning the Open Cup is over for both, but the run to the top of the conference is within reach. Dallas is tied on points for first place and New York is just seven points behind first-placed Atlanta with two games in hand.

Head coach Oscar Pareja said the team knows how strong New York are, and since the Red Bulls are coming off an Open Cup loss as well, it’s an opportunity for either team to get back on track in terms of form.

“We had a good chance at the end, so they had some chances and adapted,” Pareja said. “With that one play in the 89th minute, it was a good combination of a couple bad decisions and a good goal from them. The group is fine, obviously we wanted to advance in the cup, but now we are just thinking about New York. It’s another big assignment that we have.”

One facet Dallas will be keeping an eye on is New York’s attack, which has scored the third-highest amount of goals (30) this season along with leading the league in assists. According to Cannon, in order for FCD to escape New York with a win, the Red Bull offense will have to be contained.

“Red Bulls are just a finishing team, you know, they’re going to put away every chance they get,” Cannon said. “With Wright-Phillips up there, he always knows where to be in the box and an engine like Tyler Adams in the middle, it’s going to be a very tough team to play against. It’s going to be a great experience.”