Dallas pegged back by late Texas Derby equalizer

FC Dallas controlled much of the season’s first Texas Derby, but a late equalizer by Thor Ulfarsson prevented the Hoops from going perfect through their three games in eight days.

“We’re disappointed,” said FC Dallas goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer. “We felt like it was two points dropped, but seven points in the week is a strong takeaway for us in the league.”

There were three changes from the midweek win over Vancouver. Maarten Paes was listed as out with a thorax injury. The Dutchman did get treatment after a collision in the second half before seeing out the 2-1 win. Jimmy Maurer got his second start in recent weeks after a run-out in the Open Cup.

The regular rotation of the center backs continued as Nkosi Tafari was joined by Sebastien Ibeagha. Marco Farfan and Ema Twumasi in their usual spots.

Facundo Quignon kept the start as both sixes played in Wednesday’s game. Ahead of him, Tsiki Ntsabeleng welcomed back Paxton Pomykal to the midfield.

No changes up front, with Jesus Ferreira chasing second in the all-time FCD scorers list. Alan Velasco and Jader Obrian kept their spots on the wings.

Both teams sought to get a quick start. Houston recorded the first shot on target in the fifth minute after Ibrahim Aliyu had a nice heel flick at the front post off Amine Bassi’s corner. The effort was weak, falling easily to Jimmy Maurer.

A nice set piece routine up the other end should have seen Dallas’ first shot three minutes later. A free kick played short to Alan Velasco, was pumped over the Dynamo defense for Sebastien Ibeagha to run on to, but the Dynamo youth product wasn’t able to connect with the ball before Steve Clark was able to claim it.

Clark had to make a better save in the 11th as Jesus Ferreira recorded the Burn’s first shot on goal. Jader Obrian was able to bundle a pass toward Ferreira under pressure after beating out Chase Gasper. Ferreira spun, taking the ball away from a Dynamo defender, but his left-footed effort didn’t have much power behind it.

Dallas’ attacking play was typified by Facundo Quignon’s attempted bicycle kick, eye-catching but offering no threat to the Houston goal. The Dynamo’s mid-block was proving tough to break down with numbers along the edge of the 18-yard box.

Sometimes you don’t need to break a block, and that showed in the 53rd minute from a Jesus Ferreira free kick 30 yards from goal. Ferreira looped his delivery towards the back post. Facundo Quignon got away from his marker to head across the goal line where Jader Obrian was able to finish off the opportunity and give FC Dallas a deserved lead.

Ben Olsen immediately subbed off two of his front three in response. Sebastian Ferreira and Ibrahim Aliyu hadn’t amounted to much, while Thor Uifarsson had a goal in the 2-2 draw at home last season, and Nelson Quinones seemed a better option for the visitors’ left wing against the pace of Ema Twumasi.

Ulfarsson had a quick impact, forcing a save by Jimmy Maurer in the 62nd minute, although referee Victor Rivas failed to spot the Dallas keeper’s tip around the post and instead awarded a goal kick.

Jader Obrian has been somewhat of a revelation these past few weeks. He created a fantastic chance for a second goal in the 69th minute. Taking a ball down and winning a challenge on the left wing, Obrian made a run down the left, cutting the ball back from the end line between two defenders to Jesus Ferreira. The Homegrown’s shot was blocked away by a Houston defender.

A couple of minutes later Obrian smashed the crossbar off a low cross from Ema Twumasi. Coach Estevez made his first change just prior, replacing Tsiki Ntsabeleng with Edwin Cerrillo. Facundo Quignon pushed up as an eight. With his presence and Paxton Pomykal’s tendency to drop back and defend, it could have resembled the ‘triple pivot’ from Luchi Gonzalez’s first season.

Estevez went back to the bench in the 83rd minute to bring former Dynamo defender Sam Junqua on for Alan Velasco.

Houston got a goal back in the 85th minute. Hector Herrera’s corner met a glancing header by Thor Ulfarsson. The ball struck the post, and Jimmy Maurer made an incredible looking behind-the-back grab to scoop the ball, but it was narrowly over the line. FC Dallas doesn’t put players on the posts at corners. If only.

Paxton Pomykal made way for Jesus Jimenez in the 89th minute as Dallas sought all three points but the draw was a disappointing result for FC Dallas given the control they exerted through large spells of the game.

FCD gets a full week before playing on the road against Luchi’s San Jose Earthquakes next Saturday. Coach Estevez confirmed the players and staff will get a deserved day off after a couple of weeks without one.

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