By Will Martin
Frisco ISD Night at Toyota Stadium figured to bring out a large portion of the city community to enjoy some soccer of the FC Dallas variety. You also have a week’s worth of 20 and under tournament play going on the week following. There was also the return of the Seattle Sounders with Clint Dempsey and Kenny Cooper. You may recall the last time the Sounders were here back on October 19th 2013. The last home game for Schellas Hyndman in which FC Dallas won an emotional 2-0 thriller.
Traffic was brutal on that date for this writer and missing half the game was of little solace. Arriving two hours prior to start time insured nothing would be missed on this day. An educational date of sorts under a cloudy and very windy 83 degree day in North Texas.
As 17,070 fans trekked their way to the Red For 90 arena you could not have asked for a better played first half. FC Dallas outshot Seattle by an 11-2 count aided by the wind. Scores by David Texeira in the 11th minute and a penalty kick by Michel in the 42nd minute gave FC Dallas a 2-1 lead at intermission.
“I thought in the first half, we could have led by three goals and the team that the people saw in the first half makes us look into the future and be very optimistic,” said head coach Oscar Pareja postgame. “In the second half, Seattle did a good job and they put us on our heels and had some options that were very effective. We had a couple too and we couldn’t put it in the back of the net.”
Things remained at 2-1 until the 75th minute when a shot by Seattle bounced off the foot of Steven Keel. Marco Pappa shot across the box to Dempsey on the right. Dempsey cut the ball back for Obafemi Martins at the far post. Stephen Keel in trying to block, knocked it into the net for an own goal, making it 2-2.
Clint Dempsey had himself a hat trick in a 4-4 draw with the Portland Timbers last week. Clint this night would get two goals in the 22nd minute and again in the 85th minute for what became a 3-2 victory for the 3-2-1 Seattle Sounders.
Marco Pappa got on the left side, played the ball to Martins top of the box. Maneuvering the ball to Dempsey,then passed to Chad Barrett up the right side. Barrett found Dempsey on a return pass for a goal past Chris Seitz and Clint’s sixth goal of the year. Tops in the MLS. I asked Dempsey about the sequence post match.
“It wasn’t pretty. I thought Dallas played really well,” Dempsey said after. “We’ve got to work on some things, but I thought we showed a lot of character coming back twice in the game, and ultimately getting the win so that’s a good thing to build upon. We’ll sharpen up and we’ll get better.”
It seemed like once the own goal happened the wind was taken out of the sails of FC Dallas which Chris Seitz addressed.
“We knew they were going to press us in the second half and fight to get back in the game,” Chris Seitz said post match. “It was one of those things that we kind of lost what we were doing in the first half and what was working for us and switched up a little bit. Give them credit. They came out, put us to the gun, and definitely got some goals.”
Even in defeat FC Dallas coach Oscar Pareja (4-1-1) had nothing but praise for his players and their effort.
“I don’t want to come up here and be jumping about losing, that’s not going to happen and the boys are upset in the locker room,” said Pareja. “But the boys were upset in the locker room when they beat Montreal, so that’s the mentality that we have. Now it’s a great time to keep growing and I’m saying that we have a very strong group and the core in our group is fantastic and I’m behind these guys 300%. I’m very proud of this team.”
Back to the wind. In the first half FC Dallas took an 11-2 advantage to the break. In the second half it was the Sounders who outshot Team Pareja 11-5 for a 16-13 advantage. Possession at the break favored FC Dallas 59% to 41%. By games end it was 50-50. Corner kicks favored FC Dallas 6-3 and fouls were even at 19 apiece.
Sounders Coach Sig had some thoughts about his team after the win. Here’s Siggy.
As a kid I grew up watching one Kyle Rote junior. He was dynamite with a soccer ball. Last Saturday night I learned about the amazing abilities Clint Dempsey has with a soccer ball. Like the weather, he too was like the wind.
4/19 vs Toronto FC 7:30 p.m.