Hernandez & Perez lack common sense in 2-0 loss to Colorado
FC Dallas has had an awful start to the 2012 MLS season. Not so much in terms of points (12 so far from 10 games, in 6th place in the Western Conference), but because of injuries. The injured list is so ridiculously long that the club had to bring in an extra player last week (former Timbers man James Marcelin) to augment the weakened squad. It’s a nightmare scenario for manager Schellas Hyndman, as even Brek Shea missed Sunday night’s home clash with Colorado due to turf toe issues.
Knowing the team is scraping to get by, veteran (and former captain) Daniel Hernandez received two yellow cards in short succession, earning himself an early trip to the showers, all in the first half hour against Colorado. Two minutes after the Hernandez ejection, new FCD forward Blas Perez received a red card for a bone-headed, cleats up collision with the Rapids’ Drew Moor. Suddenly, with nearly an hour of the match remaining, Dallas had nine players and little chance of winning an important match.
The Perez red card might’ve been debatable, but it was probably deserved. Hernandez’s two yellows were certainly deserved. They were both very petty offenses committed by veteran players who should know better.
The Hernandez cards were particularly problematic because he received the first one for mouthing off at the ref. It was ridiculous, immature, and unacceptable behavior from one of the team leaders. Hernandez is a tough dude and has been a solid midfielder for Dallas the past few seasons, but he is too mouthy, and this time it is really going to cost his team. Hernandez has earned two red cards already this season. He seems to have lost a step, which has made him prone to irrational challenges. He would be much better suited to a substitute role this season, but Dallas’ current injury situation makes that difficult.
The Perez challenge was very unwise considering that Hernandez had just been ejected. Perez seemed to be a great acquisition at the season’s start, but I’d like to see more goals and fewer off-the-ball shenanigans from him. Just play the game!
The mental lapse of two players with so much experience hurts Dallas during a crucial week with Seattle visiting on Wednesday and a trip to Columbus Saturday. Having lost to Colorado, these next two matches are even more important. The ejections were also a slap in the face to FC Dallas fans that didn’t pay to see the team limp their way through an hour of the match with nine men (as valiant as they were) on their way to a 2-0 defeat.
What do you think? Am I being too harsh with these red card criticisms?
Spring brings new kits for U.S. Men and FC Dallas
I’m on the fence about the new U.S. away jersey. At first glance last Wednesday against Italy I was iffy about the white sleeves because it made the sleeves look like cut-offs. But I’m starting to come around.
The new design retains the retro diagonal stripe, though it is now black. I’m not a fan of the new penchant to include black in the red, white, and blue mix (like the all-black U.S. Women’s uniforms). Like many U.S. fans, I’d like to see the red third shirt become a mainstay. Nevertheless, the new away look is slowly growing on me, and of course it doesn’t hurt that it is now associated with that historic 1-0 defeat of Italy!
FC Dallas also unveiled their new home and away jerseys on Thursday. I think the home shirts are a classy, subtle improvement on the now familiar horizontal red/white stripes.
I also really like the return of some gray in the blue/white away shirt.
A lot of fans would like to see FCD join the ranks of teams with sponsored jerseys. I would be fine with it as long as the sponsor’s logo doesn’t radically clash with team colors (i.e. Philadelphia’s Bimbo shirt), but in the meantime I like FCD’s uncluttered jerseys.
It would be fun to see FC Dallas throw a third jersey into the mix, perhaps a departure from the usual “hoops”. Other MLS teams are starting to experiment with third jerseys (I think the Timbers’ third shirt for this season is pretty cool).
The unveiling of new jerseys means the new MLS season is just around the corner! FC Dallas kicks off (at home) against NY Red Bulls next Sunday, March 11 on NBC Sports Network.
What do you think about the new U.S. and FC Dallas jerseys?
Watching FC Dallas roast Chivas USA 1 – 0
I was at The Oven, a.k.a. Pizza Hut Park, last night so I can verify that it was indeed too hot for soccer. Or any other outdoor activity. I’m pretty sure I could’ve baked a pizza just by setting one in the empty seat beside me. Apparently, last night’s 102 degree temps set a record high for a match at PHP, though having lived in DFW ten years now, I’m surprised the record is “only” 102. Oh, and did I mention this was an evening match (kickoff was 6:00 PM)? It was so hot, the game was even stopped around the 40-minute mark for a water break. I’ve never seen that in a pro soccer game before. They should’ve had a Slip & Slide on the sideline for the players.
I think the Europeans have it right – soccer in the fall/winter/spring and take the summer off. I’ve always preferred watching and playing soccer in the cold. Of course, I understand why MLS has to schedule the bulk of the season away from American football, which dominates the sports landscape here from September to January. But it sure would be nice to have to wear a coat to PHP for a change!
As for the game, the teams looked understandably sapped from the opening whistle. Even so, Dallas was clearly the faster, more aggressive side. Poor Chivas USA fans – their team was absolutely dreadful. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a professional team pass and dribble the ball out of bounds so frequently. Dallas looked worst than I’ve seen them since the beginning of the season (probably the result of the heat and their packed July schedule). And yet for the most part they dominated Chivas.
Dallas missed the midfield presence and distribution of captain Daniel Hernandez who was being rested. Forwards Ruben Luna and (later) Maykel Galindo frustrated fans with their hesitance, off-target shots, and poor possession in front of the Chivas goal. Brek Shea had a relatively quiet game, though he was refreshingly willing to run the ball into space (unlike several of his offensive teammates). Fortunately, Marvin Chavez ripped a 26th minute shot that ricocheted off Chivas defender Heath Pearce to give FCD the game’s only goal.
The best thing about Dallas was goalkeeper Kevin Hartman and his often unsung back four: Ugo Ihemelu, Zach Loyd, George John, and Jair Benitez. The defense recorded their 12th shutout of the season, which leads MLS. The Dallas D isn’t flashy, brash, or dirty. They simply play fundamental defense as an airtight unit. I don’t mean to downplay Hartman’s saves – there have certainly been plenty – but he has perhaps the league’s best fullbacks in front of him.
It was fun to see Ihemelu and John enjoying their jobs as well. During a pause in the action late in the game, Ihemelu playfully offered to squirt the head of the linesman with a water bottle. Unfortunately, the linesman declined. A moment later, George John amused the crowd by nodding his agreement and giving thumbs up to one fan’s loud admonishment for John to shoot from midfield since no one else was getting anything on-goal.
Considering the extreme heat, a surprisingly decent crowd of 10,000 made it to the match. Not bad for FCD at the end of July. But later at home I watched highlights of Toronto at Portland and saw the Timbers’ rocking, jam-packed JELD-WEN Field. Wow! Going to FCD games would be a completely different experience if we had sellouts every game. I’m jealous of the Northwestern teams. I’m glad for them and for the league. But I’m jealous. It seems no one can put their finger on why FCD doesn’t draw more fans. I hear people around me ask the question every time I go to a game. The club has a fiercely loyal following – it’s just a small fiercely loyal following. Soccer fans in the Dallas area are missing out if they’re not tuned in to the current FCD squad, which may very well be the best team in franchise history.
Does FC Dallas have the best defense in MLS?