By Will Martin
For FC Dallas to have a successful opening night against the Montreal Impact that for some was a welcome surprise. You could also understand if the crew that is loyal to the ‘Red For 90’ were just a little bit dismayed about being successful in Week 2 at Sporting KC. They are, after all the defending MLS Cup champs with quite the roster for talent.
This before you get started with third round MLS Superdraft pick Alex Martinez making his debut on this night. History has shown us that since 2007 FC Dallas hasn’t won a game since against KC. A span of 0-3-3 with an overall record of 8-11-5 with Kansas City and 1-1 at Sporting Park.
One advantage that could play into the FCD’s hands was fatigue for the Sporting KC. Five games in 15 days and three days removed from a 1-0 victory over Cruz Azul in CONCACAF champions play. Sporting KC also lost a tough 1-0 game one week ago to the Seattle Sounders on a late goal which denied the defending champions one point.
March 15th in Missouri it appeared that FC Dallas was going to be completely dominated by a team known for its style of play and aggression. Statistically this would bear me out.
Consider that Sporting KC would have more shots on goal 18-7 (also an 8-1 on target advantage), more passes and accuracy with same 482-262 (81% vs. 75% accuracy), and a 12-2 advantage in corner kicks in addition to an advantage for only being fouled 15 times while FC Dallas got fouled 19 times with three yellow cards.
Sometimes statistics can lie.
The big bright spot of the 2014 FC Dallas team thus far has been the heart and the soul of the back wall of defenders. Matt Hedges would make many a key stop especially late in the second half. More on that in a moment.
A 10-3 shots on goal advantage for the Sporting KC was not enough to get points on the board as Chris Seitz held his ground. Hedges, Stephen Keel, and Jaor Benitez went the full 90 and was equal to the task when Alex Martinez, Sal Zizzo, and Jimmy Medranda had ideas about penetrating the box.
Not until the 81st minute would we a 170 scoreless drought end for Sporting KC when Benny Feilhaber blasted a corner kick that went off the head of Aurelien Collin for a 1-0 lead. Remember what I said about losing a lead late?
The 2014 slogan for FC Dallas happens to be Red For 90. Perhaps with good reason as FC Dallas would knot things up in the 90th in the extra time as Michel was awarded a free kick on a penalty. Michel successfully placed a kick towards Matt Hedges who would head a shot of his own past goalie Eric Kronberg to give FC Dallas a welcome 1-1 draw and more importantly one point on the defending champions.
Equally impressive was the amount of support FC Dallas had in Missouri for this matchup. The team was quick to thank the fans via social media afterwards.
FC Dallas can now look forward to playing four of the next five at home beginning with Chivas USA on March 22nd while Sporting KC will try to stop the late goal allowances and do so by hosting San Jose next week.
3/22 vs Chivas USA 7:30 PM