Columbus 2 – Dallas 0: Another Red Card Dooms Dallas

The 2010 Western Conference Champions have yet to accrue a victory in 2011. Perhaps more troubling, despite manager Schellas Hyndman’s commitment to an attacking philosophy, Dallas has scored just once in its first three matches. Last night they fell victim to their second red card of 2011, but, even before the card, the Hoops didn’t appear on their way to victory.

1st half

Hyndman opened with his now customary 4-1-3-1-1. He did, however, make two concessions to Columbus’ 4-2-3-1. Instead of Eric Alexander, Hyndman deployed the more defensive Jackson in the linking midfield role. He also started Ugo Ihemelu at right back instead of Zach Loyd. Ihemulu has played fullback in the past, but, more recently, has featured at center back.

Starting lineups

The two defensive options led to a slightly-less open Dallas attack. Ihemelu rarely left his own half and Jackson didn’t make any threatening passes in the final third. As a result, Dallas turned to the flanks for their offense.

Fabian Castillo and Marvin Chavez troubled the Columbus backline, though young striker Ruben Luna was unable to score with the few half-chances created by the wingers. And with Columbus wingers Robbie Rogers and Eddie Gaven providing just as much threat, Dallas looked a shakier side than in either of their first two matches.

Dallas’ troubles came to a head when Jackson earned two yellows inside a minute (32nd-33rd). Hyndman, whose only change was to instruct David Ferreira to defend a bit deeper, refused to alter his squad’s attacking mindset, and Dallas did well to see off the half without letting in a goal.

2nd half

Columbus manager Robert Warzycha sensed an opportunity to pressure the Dallas defense and brought on striker Emilio Renteria for midfielder Dejan Rusmir. The change paid immediate dividends.

Dallas switched to a 3-4-2 after going down, though to little avail.

Inexperienced center back Brek Shea needlessly chased forward Andrew Mendoza into the midfield in the 53rd, and as Shea stepped up, Emmanuel Ekpo moved into the space he vacated, forcing George John into an awkward challenge on the edge of the box. The justly-awarded penalty was converted by Mendoza.

Had Dallas held on for a bit longer, Hyndman might have made a defensive substitution to see out a draw. After his team went a goal down, he had little reason to switch out his attack-minded players. His only changes, Zach Loyd for Castillo and Milton Rodriguez for Chavez, complimented a formation change to a 3-4-2. By that point, Dallas was chasing the match, and an eviscerating Columbus counter sealed the result in extra time (Gaven, 91st).

Uncompromising attack not always a good thing

Hyndman’s desire to attack makes Dallas matches a joy to watch. But his decision to sit tight at halftime was puzzling. Castillo, Chavez, and Ferreira all have poor defensive instincts. Indeed, Castillo didn’t mark Gaven during the first goal-scoring sequence, which allowed the Crew midfielder to find Ekpo. Had Hyndman made a defensive change shortly after the red card, Dallas might have been able to eke out a point.

Gringos, did you see last night’s match? Were you disappointed that the red card changed what could have been an exciting game?

2 Comments Post a Comment
  1. AG says:

    I wonder if Shea’s absence from the midfield is hurting their attack.

    • Blake Owen says:

      In our MLS preview podcast, we speculated that they might. But, for the most part, their attack has been quite good. They’ve just made some silly defensive errors and been a bit unlucky on the other end.

      They have missed Dax McCarty, though. No one has filled his shoes just yet.

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