The disappointing start to FC Dallas’ season took a further turn at Allianz Field against a Minnesota United who dropped four straight results before a 1-0 win midweek. They repeated the trick against an FC Dallas side struggling to find its rhythm in the final third
“We lost in the last minute. I thought the [stoppage] time was excessive. But I give the full credit to Minnesota. They pushed the game there especially in the second half. We suffered second half. We tried to get through it, and we almost did with the point but it didn’t happen.”Luchi Gonzalez
Buzz had speculated the return of a three man back line in Minnesota. Luchi Gonzalez did indeed roll out his three center backs in a 3-5-2 with the return of Matt Hedges dropping Freddy Vargas to the bench as Jader Obrian started alongside Franco Jara as an off-striker.
Both sides struggled in possession in the final third, with a single shot on target each from the first half. FCD’s effort came only two minutes in through a speculative effort from Andres Ricaurte that never troubled Tyler Miller in the Minnesota goal.
Minnesota’s high defensive line in particular dealt with the FC Dallas attack through the first half. FC Dallas had accrued a total of three offside calls through the opening four games of the season. The Loons had caught Franco Jara and co offside a remarkable seven times in the first 45 minutes.
Despite no excitement from the play itself, a collision threatened to liven the game as Hassani Dotson chased a through ball from Emanuel Reynoso. Dotson and Phelipe both slid to claim the loose ball in the Dallas area. The clash looked worse on first view as Dotson was able to pull his foot clear of the Brazilian’s head. The Loons’ midfielder appeared to come off worse as he felt the brunt of Megiolaro’s knees. That incident counted as Minnesota United’s only shot on target in the first half.
Dallas created its only real chance of the first half just after the half hour mark. Andres Ricaurte released Jader Obrian down the left. Obrian got to the edge of the area, cutting inside to get away from Michael Boxhall. The Colombian looked set to wind up a shot, but chose to attempt to lay the ball off for Franco Jara only to see a defender intervene.
It didn’t appear to be a half for either team to hang their hat on, but Luchi Gonzalez felt that it would be his side’s reference point going forward.
“I’ll take the the first half positives. I thought the first half was one of the best halves we played this season, home or away. In terms of the game, in terms of what we train. The end product was not there, too many offsides, not getting shots off. We need to have a better efficiency in the last third.”Luchi Gonzalez
Obrian had the ball in the Minnesota net two minutes into the second period after receiving a long pass from Eddie Munjoma, with a turn and shot off the defender’s shoulder. Sure enough, that offside flag went up for an eighth time to deny him.
The Colombian should have scored moments later. Andres Ricaurte played a cross field ball into the penalty spot for Franco Jara. With Tyler Miller rushing off his line, Jara heads the ball into the path of Jader Obrian, but Obrian gets caught up and sees an awkward header drift away from the empty net.
Coach Gonzalez made four youthful substitutions, which took some effect. Dante Sealy settled into the off-striker in place of Obrian Ricardo Pepi once again bringing some mobility to the nine spot that Franco Jara has failed to show in five games. Despite that Dallas couldn’t muster a strong chance finishing with just six shots and only two on target.
“We created some objectives for the preseason and he certainly responded to them, scored some goals, fantastic energy in the pressure. Fit, mentally ready, excited. I would say for sure fitting into the plans and how we want to play with and without the ball.”Luchi Gonzalez on Franco Jara’s preseason
Paxton Pomykal brought his usual bite to the game after replacing Andres Ricuarte, who had been riding a yellow card since the 10th minute. Szabolcs Schon was again put in an awkward position, entering the game for Eddie Munjoma in the left wingback spot to push Ryan Hollingshead right.
Minnesota United grew into the game as the half wore on, and will feel like they should have had a penalty late in the game after a ball from Wil Trapp caught the hand of Matt Hedges. The Video Assistant Referee called Ted Unkle to the monitor, but the veteran referee decided against penalizing Hedges.
The review didn’t deter the hosts. Paxton Pomykal failed to clear a loose ball leading to Phelipe having to beat away a Romain Metanire shot in free space. Robin Lod should have scored 90 seconds later but the Finn mistimed his jump on a free header in the FCD six-yard-box.
Minnesota grabbed a deserved win in the fourth minute of stoppage time. Brent Kallman beat the challenges of Tanner Tessmann and Bressan to win a header from a corner. Jose Martinez blocked his effort on the line but Lod was able to react to the rebound faster than the Spanish defender and his keeper.
For Dallas, it was another winnable game that got away, and another frustrating showing from its refreshed offense.
Real Salt Lake are next up at Toyota Stadium. RSL won its first two games, but a loss to San Jose followed by a goalless draw at home to Nashville on Saturday. The 7pm kick off next Saturday will be broadcast locally on TXA21.