By Will Martin
When you’re a team that is banged up and in the throes of a four game skid after a 5-1-1 start it helps to see the hole within the donut as opposed to the donut outside the hole.
One week prior FC Dallas absolutely dominated the Earthquakes in San Jose only to fall short in seconds 2-1. May 17th at Toyota Stadium it was coach versus coach, friend versus friend Oscar Pareja and Wilmer Cabrera prepping for an anticipated battle and the hope to garner three points.
Not the greatest of artistry but Chivas USA and FC Dallas played to a 1-1 draw. For their efforts each team gained a point while Oscar Pareja’s group ended a frustrating four game skid.
With the tie FC Dallas improved to 5-5-2 while Chivas USA improved to 2-5-4. In an otherwise quiet first half that lacked any scoring opportunities, Chivas USA had an opportunity to enjoy a lead it would not lose until the 23rd minute when Marco Rosales was the recipient of an inadvertent kick to the groin area by Stephen Keel which led to a penalty kick. That kick attempt by Rosales flew wide left of the net with “The Matador” Raul Fernandez defending at goal for FC Dallas.
Team Pareja also had a scoring opportunity in the 47th minute when Fabian Castillo was fed beautifully along the left wing to go one on one with a Chivas USA defender. Castillo’s kick attempt would also go wide left to keep the game scoreless.
Marco Delgado-who went the full 90 minutes-would get Chivas USA on the board in the 60th minute after a throw in and two sharp cross passes from mid-fielders Mauro Rosales and Martin Rivero who would find Delgado in an open lane to fire the ball past Raul Fernandez for a 1-0 lead.
Not a bad way for the birthday kid to celebrate turning a year older, Mr. Delgado very happy with the goal. The lead would remain 1-0 until we reached the 80th minute and onward. A left footed shot attempt from outside the box at minute 71 from Martin Rivero was blocked nicely by El Matador.
Come the 83rd minute futility would come to a halt as a corner kick by Jair Benitez would get deflected back to him right of the box. With proper centering Benitez then fired a crossing pass into heavy traffic that caught the right toe of Fabian Castillo to even things up at one apiece.
This was how the scored would finish out.
Statistically this was a game FC Dallas dominated from the get go. A 15-8 shots on goal advantage, total passes favored FC Dallas 509-297 and 81% to 71% for overall accuracy. FC Dallas had the corner kick advantage 6-2 while maintaining a huge advantage in time of possession 62% to 38%. And for that all that FCD gets for its effort is a point.
Back on the road for two games in four days beginning with a late game on May 21st with the L.A. Galaxy followed by a road game with the kids from Real Salt Lake. Any points gained the rest of this week would be welcomed news. With the point gained FC Dallas has a firm grasp of third place in the West. Eight points back of the red hot Seattle Sounders with 17 points.
The match was also the first start for Raul Fernandez at home since September 29, 2013. You can bet that “Superman” will have his A-Game ready for this two game set on the West Coast before the team returns home to play on May 31 against the San Jose Earthquakes.
On the injury front Hendry Thomas suffered a muscle tear to his right leg on May 10th. After having fluid drained the timetable for Thomas’ return will be anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks. He joins Mauro Diaz who is also on the mend dealing with a right knee injury and a recovery time of 6-10 weeks.
The sooner FC Dallas can get to 100% health the sooner the boys can get back to the business of contending in the West for a fall run. Still a long way until the playoffs.
5/21 @LA Galaxy 9:30 p.m.
5/24 @Real Salt Lake 8:30 p.m.