Takeaways as FCD takes El Capitan but not the win

Jesus Ferreira looked like securing a third goal and three points deep into injury time on Saturday evening only to see the Dynamo players celebrating 30 seconds later. There’s a lot to unpack as FC Dallas brings El Capitan home following a 2-2 draw in Houston.

We talked on the podcast this week about the midfield battles, and Nico Estevez stuck with Facundo Quignon and Tsiki Ntsabeleng with Edwin Cerrillo and Brandon Servania riding the bench once again in an otherwise expected lineup.

Matt Hedges gave FCD the lead with a header off an Alan Velasco corner in the 27th minute. Thor Ulfarsson tied it up with a goalmouth scramble tap-in in the second half, before Jesus Ferreira put Dallas back in front in the third minute of stoppage time.

In the 11th minute of added time, the back line were caught napping as Teenage Hadebe poked the ball home after Maarten Paes parried a deflected shot.

Firstly, apologies for missing a few of these. Between covering MLS NEXT Cup and games on school nights, it’s been tough to sit down and go through these. If you want to catch up with the recent youth cup, here’s my daily recaps for MLS:

Day 1, day 2 with FCD U-19s featured, day 3, day 4, day 5, day 6, day 7, U-15 and U-16 finals, U-17 and U-19 finals

Feeling the Heat

Houston’s humidity is bad enough most of the year but I can’t imagine lining up in the tunnel to be greeted by a screen showing a heat index of 112°F.

Aside from just the useful Tweet, Garrett mentioned on the FC Dallas broadcast that the players had been taking sodium chloride tablets and potassium supplements throughout the day to help cope with the conditions and prevent cramping.

This apparently didn’t stop Tsiki Ntsabeleng from getting the hook just 26 minutes into the game.

The South African rookie was struggling up against Memo Rodriguez and looked completely fine albeit disappointed to be subbed out for Brandon Servania. Coach Estevez explained the change as Ntsabeleng struggling with the heat rather than anything tactical or performance-related.

Jose Martinez has suffered from heat exhaustion recently but managed to see the game through. Coach made the point that Martinez didn’t get acclimated to the heat last year due to injury. A hamstring injury shelved the Spaniard from the end of June through most of August in 2021.

Sparko Farfan

There was some concern close to the end of the game as Marco Farfan took a knee to the head from Maarten Paes as the pair attempted to keep Fafa Picault from resuming his run of six Texas Derby goals in the five editions prior to April’s home win.

Paes immediately cradled Farfan’s head, and we quickly saw the doctor signaling for a concussion sub and a stretcher.

Marco Farfan sustained a cut from the collision, and Estevez did describe the left back as momentarily unconscious. He was taken to the hospital for scans but was discharged that evening.

The injury came in doing what he’d effectively done all evening, shutting down Picault.

Picault had scored in all three derby games prior to this season since heading south, and had a brace for FC Dallas in the game before that. On Saturday he had only two shots with neither on target. Fafa’s impact was reduced to having the least time on the ball of any starter in the Houston lineup aside from Sebas Ferreira who was subbed in the 55th minute.

Farfan also contributed well on the attacking side, combining well with Velasco higher up the field. Farfan’s four progressive carries was only bettered by Velasco (7) and Paxton Pomykal (5).

Having the additional support also seemed to bring more out of Velasco’s passing game. Depending on the source, Velasco went either 100% on 17 passes (FB Ref) or 93% on 15 (WhoScored.com) with an assist and three key passes. The Argentine was certainly not a black hole with the ball.

Reduced Options

Yellow cards are starting to mount up for FC Dallas. For Brandon Servania, in a single game, as he picked up a second booking for the second time this year.

In Kansas City Servania clearly forgot he was on a yellow and committed the silly foul. I initially thought the same happened in the 13th minute of stoppage time, but he didn’t seem surprised and the foul really came in preventing a breakaway for a potential winner for Houston. Let’s call it taking one for the team, but he’s still now suspended for the New York City FC game on Wednesday.

Facundo Quignon and Marco Farfan also sit out having picked up their fifth yellow cards this season.

Farfan’s suspension will also coincide with a spell in MLS concussion protocol.

Hold It Down

Odd tagline for the two Houston teams aside, Paes pulled out some great saves but seemed to have an issue holding onto the ball. Both goals came from second chances off a Paes save that was parried away when it seemed an easier grab.

Paes similarly went to ground twice more with the ball coming loose, but he was able to jump on the ball.

Holding down the result, and the sequence for the last goal, certainly wasn’t all on Maarten Paes, starting with what should have been FC Dallas’ third goal to kill off the game.

Jesus Ferreira was gifted an easy lob over a keeper 20 yards off his line. Instead, the 11-goal striker runs at Clark and the save is taken straight down the other end. Even if he misses the shot and it goes for a goal kick, it kills vital seconds when you’re already in the time added on to the 10 minutes of stoppage time.

Once Houston get the ball down, Paes saves the deflected Darwin Quintero shot and it bounces out towards Nkosi Tafari who simply doesn’t react. In the clip, you can see him check over his shoulder and look for Teenage Hadebe late, but at that point he can’t do much. The best thing Tafari could have done that late is take a step to the left and force Hadebe wide.

Last summer we talked a lot about mentally exhausted players, and there’s an argument for that reoccurring.

Looking Ahead

It’s back to Frisco on Wednesday to face NYCFC. The defending MLS Cup winners only have two wins on the road in 2022, both in May against Minnesota and DC United.

New York City won 4-2 against New England at the weekend after winning three penalties and seeing the Revs down to ten men in the first half. That was their first win since May 28, which was the last in a run of five consecutive wins. Similar to Dallas, draws are keeping NYCFC afloat as they are currently third in the East.

Coach Estevez will have some selection issues after the aforementioned injury and suspensions. For those not at Toyota Stadium, the game will be aired on TXA 21, FCDallas.com/stream, and ESPN+ for out-of-market viewers.

2 Comments

  1. For as much money as we’re spending on central defenders the certainly look like shit.

    I’m done with Hedges, he had a few good years. Looking back one has to wonder if we should have sent him packing and and desperately held on to Zimmerman.

    1. Something to keep in mind with that is Walker wanted out and was going to let his contract run out as long as Oscar was coach.

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