After Luchi Gonzalez and his team secured their first road win against Peter Vermes and his 2 weeks ago, FC Dallas faced off against a familiar foe in Sporting Kansas City at Toyota Stadium on Saturday night.
With a newfound run of form, Los Toros were hoping to extend their unbeaten streak to five consecutive wins.
Matt Hedges, after missing a healthy portion of the season due to injury, made his first starting lineup since May 22nd against Real Salt Lake. Jose Martinez made his first gameday roster, on the bench, since June 23rd against LAFC. Edwin Cerrillo returned to the starting eleven after coming off the bench against Austin FC.
Sporting Kansas City, after a 6-1 loss to Leon in the League’s Cup, featured a rested lineup that included players coming back from international duty.
Dallas had an early opportunity with Jesus Ferreira passing the ball to Szabolcs Schön after a poor Sporting clearance but Tim Melia was able to subdue the threat.
Alan Pulido made the most of his early chance after receiving the ball between Nkosi Tafari and Matt Hedges.
In spite of the early goal, Dallas had most of the possession in the opening 20 minutes but were not as quick to move the ball vertically as they typically do when playing at home.
“We need to shift quicker, they’re attacking from the right to the left so we need to shift quicker,” Matt Hedges said at halftime.
Kansas City was content to defend and counterattack, especially after obtaining the lead. Dallas found some success playing balls through Sporting’s lines and over the top to the forwards.
The first-half favored Sporting Kansas City who had a 1-0 lead. FC Dallas was frustrated by their opposition’s ability to stop any advancing threats into the final third. Sporting Kansas City was quicker to transition and commit players when attacking and defending.
“We talked about shifting, especially as a backline, we needed to shift better as a backline,” Hedges said of the half-time talk. “Once we started to do that better then we could play our game and play balls up the field.”
There was one change for FC Dallas at halftime as Bryan Acosta replaced Edwin Cerrillo.
Dallas came out of the half with more energy and started to challenge Kansas City’s defense with quick passing and ball movement.
“We talked about creating a positional shape to create chances and ways to get into the box,” Coach Luchi Gonzalez said. “I thought we showed more urgency and danger in the second but it didn’t bounce our way.”
2021 MLS All-Star Ricardo Pepi nearly opened the scoring but was denied by the woodwork.
FC Dallas was haunted by the woodwork yet again after a contentious “no-goal” decision resulted from Schön’s shot on goal.
Paxton Pomykal was substituted for Jader Obrian in the 63rd minute with a possible injury.
Daniel Salloi doubled Kansas City’s lead, beating out the Dallas defense in the 63rd minute.
“I felt like they took the breath out of us when the second goal went in,” Pomykal said. “That is how the game is like there were other games that we were outshot and came away with the win, but that is how the game is.”
Freddy Vargas and Franco Jara replaced Szabolcs Schön and Jesus Ferreira respectively in the 73rd minute.
The strong start to Dallas’ second-half started to wane after Sporting’s goal as frustration started and cards had set in for Los Toros.
Dallas continued to create chances and scoring opportunities but none were able to find the target or trouble Melia.
Luchi Gonalez’s final substitute was Andres Ricaurte for Facundo Quignon in the 83rd minute.
The 4th official indicated a 10 minute stoppage time period where Peter Vermes made his first and only substitute as Grayson Barber replaced Daniel Salloi.
FC Dallas suffered their first loss at home in over a year since a 0-1 loss to Nashville SC on August 12, 2020. Dallas did outshoot their opponents 16 to 11 but only 2 were on target.
“We want to protect our home with pride,” Luchi Gonzalez said of the loss. “We haven’t lost here in a year and I’m proud of the team to keep that streak alive. We had a good run of form with a couple of games recently and doing things that have mentally and physically helped us. It’s a strange feeling because I thought we created some good volume but it wasn’t our night.”
Luchi Gonzalez and his team have a quick turnaround as they host Seattle Sounders on Wednesday, August 18th, at 7:30 PM at Toyota Stadium.