David Ferreira’s brace led the way as FC Dallas demolished defending MLS Cup Champions Colorado Rapids 3-0 Friday night before 12,261 at Pizza Hut Park. It was the first win of the 2011 campaign for Dallas, while Colorado suffered their first defeat.
Colorado was forced to play the match without Pablo Mastroeni and Conor Casey, both out with injuries.
Ugo Ihemelu opened the scoring in just the 26th minute from a flick-on header from Marvin Chavez, who suffered a concussion and would leave the match on a stretcher. Ihemelu was left wide open and banged the ball into the side of the net for the first Dallas goal since opening night.
David Ferreira would score the next two for FC Dallas in a display that announced his return to 2010 form. In the 40th minute, Fabian Castillo’s excellent through ball freed Ferreira for a one-on-one with goalkeeper Matt Pickens. Ferreira’s cheeky fake and subsequent chip over the sprawling Pickens made the score 2-0. Then, just after the restart for the second half, a Daniel Hernandez through-ball sprang Eric Avila, whose cross across the mouth of goal was banged in by Ferreira to provide the final score.
It was a return to the free-flowing, open football FC Dallas fans grew accustomed to in the 2010 season. Colorado, without Mastroeni to police midfield, was constantly pulled out of shape by the ever-moving Dallas attack. The match was actually not as close as the score indicated. Were it not for two excellent Pickens saves in the first half, the score could have easily been 5-0 or worse. This was a total and complete dismantling of the Rapids.
This match surely provides hope and encouragement that this club is back on track. It’s amazing what this team is capable of when they keep their composure and all 11 men on the field for a match. The free-flowing, pace-pushing attack Dallas provides when at full-strength was missing for two of the first three matches Dallas played due to dumb red cards suffered, leaving Dallas to play at full strength for just 92 minutes. What a change this match was.
A key ingredient to the improvement was Brek Shea’s insertion at left back. Removing him from the center of the pitch to deal with onrushing forwards allowed the young player to play a more familiar role, albeit from a slightly deeper position. Surely bad news for Jair Benitez, Head Coach Schellas Hyndman may have found the chemistry in the back line he’s been searching for. Hyndman clearly wants Shea on the field somewhere. Fabian Castillo’s performance at left wing further solidified his hold on the position, while Hyndman won’t likely tinker with a back four that produced Dallas’ first clean sheet of the season. It will surely be some time before we see Benitez on this pitch again.
Although a huge concern and worry, the concussion suffered by Chavez will now provide yet another opportunity for Erica Avila to stake his place in the starting lineup. Avila’s ability to create and get forward into the attack could allow Dallas to mitigate the loss of Chavez, keeping the Dallas attack dangerous through both wings, where Dallas must succeed in order to play the type of football they desire.
Dallas next travels to the Pacific Northwest to face two expansion teams, the Vancouver Whitecaps and the Kenny Cooper, Jr. led Portland Timbers. Two contests against much weaker opponents than even the injury-plagued Rapids should provide Dallas with their first opportunity for this year’s first win streak. Two wins would go a very long way in erasing the misery of the season’s opening and could provide further evidence of what this year’s edition is capable of.
DAL – Ugo Ihemelu (Marvin Chavez) 26
DAL – David Ferreira (Fabian Castillo) 40
DAL – David Ferriera (Eric Avila, Daniel Hernandez) 46
FC Dallas – Kevin Hartman, Brek Shea, Ugo Ihemelu, George John, Zach Loyd, Fabian Castillo, David Ferreira, Andrew Jacobson (Eric Alexander 70), Daniel Hernandez, Marvin Chavez (Eric Avila 30), Milton Rodriguez (Ruben Luna 66).
Substitutes Not Used: Chris Seitz, Bobby Warshaw, Maykel Galindo, Ricardo Villar.
TOTAL SHOTS: 14 (David Ferreira 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Ferreira 3); FOULS: 12 (Eric Alexander 2, Daniel Hernandez 2); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 8 (David Ferreira 8); SAVES: 0 (Kevin Hartman 0)
Colorado Rapids – Matt Pickens, Kosuke Kimura, Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor, Anthony Wallace (Tyrone Marshall 63), Joseph Nane, Jeff Larentowicz, Jamie Smith, Sanna Nyassi (Brian Mullan 46), Omar Cummings, Caleb Folan (Quincy Amarikwa 61).
Substitutes Not Used: Steward Ceus, Andre Akpan, Scott Palguta, Wells Thompson.
TOTAL SHOTS: 5 (Quincy Amarikwa 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 0; FOULS: 16 (Sanna Nyassi 4); OFFSIDES: 1 (Caleb Folan 1); CORNER KICKS: 1 (Jamie Smith 1); SAVES: 4 (Matt Pickens 4)
DAL – Andrew Jacobson (caution; reckless tackle) 13
COL – Sanna Nyassi (caution; persistent infringement) 19
COL – Caleb Folan (caution; reckless foul) 33
COL – Anthony Wallace (caution; reckless tackle) 52
COL – Omar Cummings (caution; reckless foul) 81
COL – Drew Moor (caution; reckless tackle) 84
DAL – Daniel Hernandez (caution; dissent) 90
Referee: Paul Ward
Referee’s Assistants: Joe Fletcher, Anthony Vasoli
4th Official: Armando Villarreal
Time of Game: 1:53
Weather: Sunny, 86 degrees
FC Dallas Head Coach Schellas Hyndman
We played very well tonight. Our high level of pressure caused Colorado problems. It was a great performance. The team is getting better each week. At the same time, I also think Colorado is a better team than last year.
On if he is relieved by the result
Of course it is – it’s a relief for all of us. Our expectations are high. We’ve had two center backs that were injured. Having Ugo [Ihemelu] and George [John] back there is a relief.
On Andrew Jacobson’s first start of the season
AJ did very well. He was that connecting piece we have been missing. He had a good first performance.
On Fabian Castillo
Colorado is a championship team. To see them struggling to stop Fabian says a lot about his potential. He brings more speed to the game and improves the team.
FC Dallas midfielder Eric Avila
When I got the nod to come in, I just wanted to continue to attack and keep up that energy we were playing with. It was an unfortunate situation, coming in for someone who gets injured. You never want to see that, but when you get an opportunity you need to take it.
On his assist
It was great, getting my first touch of the second half like that. I made the run and fortunately Daniel [Hernandez] saw me take off and he put a ball right on my foot. I wanted to draw the goalkeeper to the near post and then I saw David [Ferreira] making that run to the back post. I just hit it as hard as I could at the back post.
FC Dallas defender Ugo Ihemelu
All week we really focused on finding our identity. Last season, we’d come out and put a lot of pressure on the other team, play in their half. We came back with that mentality this game and it paid off.
On his goal
Chavez challenged for it and it dropped in the right spot for me. I just focused on making contact with it because I was so near the goal. Lucky for me it hit the post and came back the other direction. For me, a little bit of luck, but I’ll take it.
Colorado midfielder Jeff Larentowicz
That’s what’s disappointing is we know we’re a better team than that. Just tonight from the get-go, we didn’t have it. We didn’t show what we really had. Dallas is a team that is good attacking and they can exploit things when you’re not showing your best and they did tonight. I think ultimately we’ll have to go back and look at it to find the technical things, but I think that for every game in this league you have to be up, you have to be ready and you have to prepare for battle because all the teams are good.
It’s a 34-game season and that was only one game, so we’ll move on.