FC Dallas pegged back after strong first half in LA

A true game of two halves. FC Dallas played some of its best soccer this season but a couple of old habits came back to haunt the Huntsmen. The game may have carried some more bite late on were there playoff implications, but once again the desire to fight was evident in moments as the team seeks to prove it is better than its record suggests.

“First half I felt like we were completely in control. Some of the best soccer that we’ve played in a while, and really good goals. But unfortunately, on the second goal not tracking the run into the box. We were specifically trying to be strong in our in our back line with five, understanding that they were going to be getting crosses in to flood the middle channel. And that one got away from us.”

Marco Ferruzzi

Marco Ferruzzi was forced into one change after Phelipe was handed a one-game suspension after kicking out at Raheem Edwards in the melee that followed Wednesday’s game with the other LA team. Jimmy Maurer stepped back into the start after a long spell that left us asking ‘is he injured, isn’t he injured’ over the past several weeks.

Ricardo Pepi recovered enough from that foot injury that required a stitch to take a place on the bench, with Franco Jara keeping the start after a strong showing against LAFC.

Neither side really threatened until Jesus Ferreira dragged things into life in the 23rd minute with two chances, forcing a save from Jonathan Bond off a low cross by Franco Jara. Seconds later, Ferreira received a pull back from Jader Obrian and was only denied by a goal-saving slide from former FC Dallas academy defender Niko Hamalainen.

The Galaxy looked the better side on the ball but it was the visitors forcing turnovers and creating chances, and their press created the opening goal just shy of the half hour mark. Jader Obrian forced a rushed pass out of the LA back line which Edwin Cerrillo intercepted. Franco Jara teed up Jesus Ferreira at the edge of the D with his first touch off Cerrillo’s pass. With Bond unable to react, Ferreira simply passed the ball into the corner of the net.

Jimmy Maurer was called into action for the first time in the 38th minute. Victor Vazquez tempted fellow Spaniard Jose Martinez out of defense with a run through the midfield before finding Efrain Alvarez in that recently departed space. The Mexican international ran one-on-one at Maurer, but the FCD keeper rushed out to deflect the ball out for a corner.

FC Dallas hasn’t made a great habit of scoring lately, but the attack has found its way against the two LA area teams. A run down the left from Obrian resulted in the Colombian cutting the ball back for Ferreira. The also-Colombian-born attacker saw his effort saved by Bond’s foot before Franco Jara was able to beat Nick DePuy to the rebound for his second in consecutive games.

In the postgame press conference, Jara spoke about Marco Ferruzzi urging the striker to play a higher line for these moments to pounce on.

The Gals thought they may have pulled a goal back one way or another in the 44th minute as Alvarez aimed a low ball at an unmarked Chicharito at the back post, only to see Jose Martinez stretch to poke the ball dangerously close to his own net followed by a visible sigh of relief from the former Barcelona B defender.

Two goals ahead at half time against an LA Galaxy team looking to land a home playoff game. A great example of counterattacking on the road, and a team that looked free of the burden of chasing an impossible goal after Dan Hunt spoke of still making the playoffs in the aftermath of Luchi Gonzalez’s departure. Ferruzzi mentioned after the game that traveling on Thursday gave an extra day in the LA area for the team to refocus.

An outstanding pass out of the Galaxy midfield from Chicharito Hernandez led to Maurer’s second big save early in the second period. The ball seemed destined for the run of Kevin Cabral, who then peeled off with both FC Dallas center backs while the ball fell to half-time sub Samuel Grandsir. The Frenchman struck low from the edge of the box, which Maurer was only able to parry before Martinez cleared the danger.

Baldomero Toledo so often plays the villain in FC Dallas games, but this time the big decision was a no-brainer. Chicharito flicked on a cross in the Dallas area, Jesus Ferreira threw his hand out at the ball and Toledo pointed to the spot. Hernandez earned the call, and rolled the ball calmly past Maurer.

“I don’t know what to say. The the ball bounces on [Chicharito] and it hits my hand where I can’t move my hand. it’s in a natural position.”

Jesus Ferreira

Matty Hedges took a moment to remind everyone why he’s the GOAT of FC Dallas. Chicharito headed a Sacha Klejstan free kick beyond Jimmy Maurer’s reach, but Hedges was able to race back past even Ema Twumasi to make the goal line clearance.

On Wednesday night FC Dallas conceded an equalizer with a clear offside that the assistant failed to flag and VAR lacked a definitive angle to remedy, but no such mistake was made as Chicharito hit the net again in the 77th minute. Dejan Joveljic strayed offside before receiving a pass out of the LA midfield. The former Manchester United forward did incredibly well to recover the overhit pass from Joveljic and squeeze the ball past Maurer from a tight angle but immediately waved off his teammates’ celebrations after seeing the linesman’s flag held up.

Marco Ferruzzi made changes as the game waited to restart, with Ricardo Pepi coming in for a tiring Franco Jara. Bressan replaced Paxton Pomykal as Dallas moved to close the game out with a back five.

Midfielders losing runs has been an issue through the season, and a cross from deep exposed that once more. Grandsir with the cross from the right, Sebastian Lletget raced away from Brandon Servania and through the Dallas back line before directing a volley past Maurer to tie the game up.

Toledo had shown five red cards against FC Dallas in his career and that briefly became six in the closing minutes after Ema Twumasi snatched the ball from Chicharito for a free kick. Hernandez grabbed his eye and Toledo the red until VAR intervened to show that Twumasi had not struck the Galaxy forward in the face.

Szabolcs Schon has found minutes hard to come by under Ferruzzi, which the Dallas coach chalks up in part to lost time while he was away with the Hungarian national team, and had to wait until the seventh minute of stoppage time to replace Jader Obrian.

Jesus Ferreira summarized the game as 85 good minutes with a five minute lapse. FC Dallas were impressive in the first half, and did a strong job in soaking up the pressure for much of the second half. But for all the talk of fixing the defense and cutting out fouls, a potential first win in nine games was undone by ill-discipline in the box and failing to track a run between lines.

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