September 30, 2012
STILL IN THE HUNT
FC Dallas hopes to close gap on Vancouver
SANTA CLARA, Calif.---With their wild 3-3 tie against the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night, FC Dallas may not have gained any ground in the playoff race, but thanks to a draw by the Vancouver Whitecaps in their game with the Seattle Sounders, the Hoops at least kept pace.
|Despite Saturday’s 3-2 loss to San Jose, FC Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman is optimistic about the way the team is playing and their chances of advancing to the playoffs. “We’ve got three games left and if we play the way we played here today… At the
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
“A couple points were lost here today,” said FC Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman. “We’ve got three games left and if we play the way we played here today… Considering the environment, being on the road, playing against a very good team that never stops, a team that you know is just going to knock the ball into the box and go after it. [Andrew] Jacobson getting hurt, hurt us a lot. He was winning a lot of balls in the air. At the end of the day, I thought we played well.”
Dallas might have played well, but San Jose, frontrunners for the Supporters’ Shield, were unrelenting.
Steven Lenhart scored a pair of late goals, and Alan Gordon added a goal and an assist. Blas Perez matched Lenhart’s brace for Dallas, and Matt Hedges scored once.
“It was a really exciting game,” said Hyndman. “Both teams pressed, both teams attacked, both teams scored goals. It was a good game for everybody involved.”
Gordon gave the Earthquakes a 1-0 lead in the 24th minute, off Sam Cronin’s assist.
Fourteen minutes later, the Hoops equalized. Jackson played a ball from the right side into the penalty area. Perez stepped in front of a defender and sent the ball to the far post. Perez added his second of the game in the 72nd minute. David Ferreira settled a failed clearance at the left edge of the penalty area and chipped a perfect ball in front of the goal, where Perez finished with a header.
“We weren’t getting him the ball enough in the first half,” Hyndman said of Perez. “Jackson missed a few services, then he quickly sends one in and Blas [Perez] got a great touch and he finished. The second goal was a great header off of a good service from David [Ferreira].”
But the Quakes, who are notorious for scoring in the final 30 minutes, did it twice against Dallas, marking the 36th and 37th times this season they have done so. Just 11 minutes after Dallas took the lead, on a play started by goalkeeper Jon Busch, Gordon laid the ball off for Lenhart, who put a left-footed shot past Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman.
In the 88th minute, Dallas took the lead again, when Hedges charged in on the rebound of a shot by Daniel Hernandez, but San Jose had the last word. Deep into stoppage time, Justin Morrow sent a ball into the penalty area. Gordon headed back toward the far post, where Lenhart was there to meet it with a header to tie the game.
“We put ourselves in a position to get three points tonight,” said FC Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman. “San Jose is a difficult place to play. There is a reason San Jose calls themselves ‘the Goonies.’ They never say die and tonight, unfortunately for us, was more of the same. We had issues dealing with the physicality of the game late. The last goal, it really seemed like Zach [Loyd] took a big shove in the back. It’s just difficult to deal with. San Jose’s first two guys are arguably the biggest in the league, then you go third and fourth and they’re all pretty big guys. They do very well with crosses and our inability to cut some of that off led to our undoing.”
San Jose improve to 18-6-7 for 61 points. FC Dallas is now 9-12-9, 37 points, still looking up at the fifth playoff spot in the west.
With only three games left, the Hoops know they need to keep piling up points to have a shot at the playoffs.
“The road that we are playing is very tight,” said Perez.” We have Vancouver out in front of us and we were very close to getting those points back tonight. Now, we have Chivas USA coming up. We are looking forward to that game. We need a win.”