Luchi Gonzalez’s next man up mentality was tested as Head Athletic Trainer Tracy Coleman saw more time on the field than the substitutes in a bruising game against Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday.
Dallas came into the game missing Fafa Picault after the former Philadelphia Union winger injured a hamstring in Saturday’s win over Minnesota United. Gonzalez opted to reshuffle the front six while retaining the 4-3-3 with Jesus Ferreira on the left wing opposite a returning Michael Barrios. Franco Jara also came back into the lineup along with Brandon Servania.
“I don’t want to say we could have, I want to say we should have scored the second goal. We should’ve scored the second goal, and we have to be disappointed we didn’t get three points, because of what we could have done in the first half in terms of transitions, counters. But that’s football.”Luchi Gonzalez’s thoughts on the 1-1 draw with SKC
Much like Saturday, it was a quick start with FCD on the board in the 9th minute. Dallas pressed high on Kansas City’s back line in possession, resulting in Bryan Acosta redirecting a poor attempted pass from Felipe Martins to the center of defense. Franco Jara raced on to the ball, chipping Melia for his first goal since arriving in MLS.
The visitors should have doubled their lead five minutes later as Michael Barrios made a run into the SKC area trying to get by Graham Smith. Smith was able to deflect the ball towards Melia, but the pair hesitated creating an opening for Jara to run in. Melia was able to get a hand to the ball to defuse the attack.
Chances would begin to go begging as Johnny Russell missed a far-post tap-in at the other end moments later. Sporting Kansas City were able to run the ball across the face of Dallas’ goal at will but the final touch eluded them.
Acosta built on a solid outing at the weekend, really dragging play into the opposition half and linking well. Unfortunately that came to an early end with an quadriceps injury inside the first 20 minutes. Tanner Tessmann, who hadn’t seen action since March was the replacement.
“The point is valuable but we want to keep fighting for three points whether home and away, but it is a valuable point. I will take it and we’re going to learn from this and get guys back healthy, hopefully soon.”Luchi Gonzalez
Without Acosta, Dallas sat deeper and eased off their press. Even more so after Jimmy Maurer went down with a calf injury. Kyle Zobeck would be called upon for his first appearance in goal for FC Dallas as Sporting Kansas City started to impose themselves.
Luchi Gonzalez had lost two of his five substitutes before half time and, more importantly, two of the three opportunities to interrupt the game to use those subs.
Sporting pushed harder for an equalizer and did so similarly to Dallas earlier in capitalizing on poor play out of the back. Jesus Ferreira took an awkward touch on a pass from Reto Ziegler with the ball bobbling up. Gianluca Busio won a header with play quickly progressing as the FCD fullbacks and midfield were caught hopelessly high up the field. Gerso threaded a ball between the Dallas center backs to Khiry Shelton, who had a simple finish.
The walking wounded increased coming out of half time as Bressan replaced Matt Hedges. It was later confirmed by Luchi that Hedges had taken a knock to the head in a challenge. Gonzalez did state that Hedges had not sustained a concussion.
Bressan may count himself lucky to walk away unscathed as two blocked shots left the match ball imprinted on the defender’s ribs.
The Brazilian joined Johnny Nelson in writing the story of the second half as Dallas tried to hold on to a point. The pair combined for 15 clearances and five blocked shots amid some last-ditch defending as the hosts threw everything at the Huntsmen to no avail.