By Will Martin
Saturday night’s matchup with FC Dallas and DC United had the look of trap game written all over it. The team with the best record in all of MLS Soccer and the team with the worst. FCD with an eight game streak of getting at least a point while DC United has lost six straight. Prior to Saturday night no team had been successful in scoring on FC Dallas prior to the 68th minute.
That changed on this night as Dwayne DeRosario would rifle a shot past goalie Chris Seitz (playing in place of Raul Fernandez due to an ankle issue) for a 1-1 tie in the 43rd minute.
FC Dallas struck first when Eric Hassli found Jackson all alone on the left side of the box for a shot scoring opportunity in the 10 minute of play. DC United has been bad about allowing an opponent to score first in five of their first matches within the 15 minute mark.
There is where the score stood until the 77th minute when a Michel corner kick connected directly with the chest of Je-Vaughn Watson to give FC Dallas a lead they would not relinquish. DC United already decimated by injuries fell to 1-8-1 in the East with a seven game skid as FC Dallas improved to 7-1-3, 24 points and a six point cushion in the West.
Schellas Hyndman was more than pleased with the effort of Eric Hassli. Hassli was just content to go out and play.
“I talked to [Eric] towards the end of the game and asked him if he wanted to say on,” said Hyndman. “He said, ‘I want to stay on and win it,’ but when they started making their subs and bringing on another striker I felt like we needed to control the midfield [and sub him off]. But I thought he did very well tonight.”
“It’s great to be on the field,” Hassli said after the game. “I didn’t have a great first half, but thanks to my teammates. They helped me a lot, because it was really hard for my first start in maybe six months. Blas helped me a lot and all the guys around me.”
“It’s like the coach said, if you think you’re a better team than [D.C. United] before the game then you’re going to lose the game,” said Hassli. “We knew that they were going to put 200% into it, because they have nothing to lose playing against the first place team in MLS. So it was a tough game, but it was good to win.”
Next week FC Dallas makes a trip to Seattle for late start with the Sounders. That’s always a tough place to play before returning home on May 25th for a match with the San Jose Earthquakes. Three home games in the month of May. Coach Schellas Hyndman wants as many points as he can acquire early.
June promises to provide other tests for this team. 11 games in, the overall health and mindset of the team is showing great tenacity at crunch time.