By Will Martin
If there has been a formula to explain the success of FC Dallas the first two months of the season it has been to enjoy and employ a mode of attack where the midfielders challenge the opposing defenders as they penetrate their way to the box and the goalie. Usually able to do so after the 88th minute for a good result.
For the 1st time this young season FC Dallas had a ten minute stretch of play where they wish they could get a do over as they fell to D.C. United by a 4-1 count.
FC Dallas would record the first goal of the game in the 14th minute when Jair Benitez would set up a pass down the left flank for Fabian Castillo. Castillo passed it to Blas Pérez, who put in a slick pass to Mauro Diaz in the box. Diaz then placed a great and patient shot past DC United goalie Bill Hamid for a 1-0 FC Dallas lead.
We almost saw D.C. United tie things up in the 17th minute when Eddie Johnson was in line for a netter after being fed beautifully by Fabian Espindola. At the last moment Johnson and FC Dallas goalie Chris Seitz would collide after Seitz punched the ball skyward. While falling Seitz had the presence of mind to follow the ball and catch it while prone on the ground.
Trouble would hit FC Dallas in minute 39 when Zach Loyd got called for a second caution for a hard tackle on Davy Arnaud. This led to an ejection and D.C. United got a 1 man advantage for the rest of the game.
In the fifth minute of stoppage time Eddie Johnson would make a far cross pass to Fabian Espindola who would head the ball past goalie Chris Seitz for a 1-1 tie.
In the second half at minute sixty United would get a lead they would not relinquish when a right flank cross by Jeff Parke looked to be an easy goal-until Chris Seitz used his reach to slap the ball away to a waiting Bobby Boswell at the top of the box who was able to spank it in burying the goal just within the left post for a 2-1 lead.
Sean Franklin made it a 3-1 game in the 64th minute when Espindola was able to make his way past two defenders and chip a pass in the area where Franklin was.
At minute 69 Espindola would accrue his second goal of the night without breaking stride after Chris Rolfe was able to release a pass from his area to where Espindola was. His second goal of the night along with one assist. Three goals in less than ten minutes sent the RFK Stadium crowd of 11,172 home happy in a game played in just under two hours.
After the game Oscar Pareja addressed the challenge of being down a man.
“Just to be organized in two lines of four. We wanted to control the width of the field to see what is coming, especially on our left and their right. And also try to extend the line and support because we knew that they were going to get some numbers up.”
Chris Seitz, as you entered the second half what was the mindset for you and the team?
“You know, we sought confidence. It is one of those things where we had a good group of guys out there, a group that we knew was going to have to work hard, but at the same time we thought we would be able to create a chance or two. We are going to obviously put defense first and then try and get one or two chances to win the game and that was our mindset going into it. Obviously, things changed decently quick and we had to adjust from there. But, we went back out there and honestly we weren’t playing for the 1-1 tie, we still had confidence in what we could do out there.”
DC United coach Ben Olsen was quick to talk about the benefit of having a man advantage.
“I thought we managed the game well once the red card happened. To get that goal right before the half was a big boost. I thought early, though, we looked a little hazy. I wasn’t happy with the way we started. It just looked like we weren’t ready. And, I will take that part on myself. Not getting them geared up this week and before the game because without the red card I think we are in a little bit of trouble.”
And what was Ben’s thoughts on the play of Fabian Espindola?
“I didn’t think there were many poor performances after we go up a man, but that happens a lot. It is not easy to break teams down when they sit back, and Fabi (Espindola) is a guy that can unlock that, and he did a great job tonight. I thought (Chris) Rolfe and Nick DeLeon both really helped out in the midfield in creating problems for them. You know, I thought Eddie put in a good shift until he had to come out.”
Lastly Ben Olsen was asked about his United team having a five game win streak.
“Yeah, it is a good group. And, as I said before, they are hungry. I think a lot of these guys have something to prove, for one reason or the other. I have something to prove and our staff has something to prove, so hopefully we can continue on this run. We have a tough match next week going to the West Coast against a good Portland team. Obviously, their record isn’t showing it right now, but they are still a very good team, so we are looking forward to the next challenge.”
With the defeat FC Dallas falls to 5-2-1 in the Western Conference with the Seattle Sounders (also 5-2-1) holding a head to head tiebreaker with 16 points. While the DC United now travel to Portland to try for a six game point streak FC Dallas now licks its wounds and tries to bounce back with a Sunday matinee game with the New York Red Bulls. A 2pm start time with a national television audience.
5/4 vs New York 2:00 p.m.