Eye on the MLS: FC Dallas vs. Chicago (10/2/10)

FRISCO, TX - OCTOBER 02: FC Dallas team members celebrate with their fans after beating the Chicago Fire 3-0 at Pizza Hut Park on October 2, 2010 in Frisco, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
About a week ago, US soccer icon Alexi Lalas (whether you like it or not) told a national TV audience that FC Dallas was a team that had “figured out how to compete in the MLS, but not how to win.” Well, since that statement Dallas has racked up 6 more points on two wins and convincingly clinched their place in the 2010 playoffs, including Saturday’s 3 – 0 defeat of Chicago.

Despite their normal penchant for playing “not to lose” rather than to win, Coach Hyndman’s boys clearly came out at home in Frisco, Texas with an eye on scoring early and leaving no doubts about their place in the post-season. They lined up in a 4-2-3-1, with lone-striker Colombian Milton Rodriguez getting support from the always offensively minded attacking midfield countryman David Ferreira and winger Chavez. This Latin American trio were energized and showed great understanding, especially pushing up on Chavez’s wing on the left. It was a well-launched punt from keeper Dario Sala (in for the injured Hartman), however, that connected with Rodriguez in the Chicago box, who held off a defender to finish with a Drogba-like left-footed strike.

The menacing Chavez found the net in the opening minutes of the second half, and the scoring was rounded off when second half-substitute Jeff Cunningham drew a penalty and then buried it to tie Jaime Moreno for the all-time MLS scoring mark of 132 goals. Don’t be surprised if a week from now we have a new record-holder.

If there is a lack of commentary on the Chicago strategy here it’s because, frankly, they hardly seemed to be there. To their credit, they were coming off a midweek victory over the San Jose Earthquakes, but Dallas could hardly have handpicked a more scattered and ineffective opponent to push them officially in to the playoff picture. It wasn’t until Gringo veteran Brian McBride subbed on that Chicago seemed to develop a pulse, with the gritty target man causing agitation just by being present around the Dallas box.

Although neither Heather Pearce nor Brek Shea (who subbed on second half) had stand-out performances, both have been called up for next Saturday’s USMNT friendly vs Poland.

Memo to Bob Bradley

Dear Bob,
Your recent call up of two FC Dallas players proves some things about you:
1. You are a reasonable and forgiving man: Heath Pearce has only his own performance to blame for not making it through his pre-World Cup trial, but this season he’s been an integral part of a remarkable defensive performance, plus he has an impressive number of assists for a left back.
2. You are open to new and emerging talent: Brek Shea has some maturing to do, but the tall, spirited winger/forward could be a wild card in the next generation of USMNT.
3. Finally, you are an avid listener and subscriber of the FFG podcast: We’ve been singing the praises of Shea for months, and we accept your silent nod of acknowledgement that we are the unsung heroes, the boys in the back room orchestrating what will be a genius run for the 2014 cup.

Good luck next Saturday,

FFG

One Comments Post a Comment
  1. Blake Owen says:

    It’s good to see that Bob has been listening!

    The more I see Shea play, the more he reminds of his fellow Texan Clint Dempsey. Neither are traditional winger/forwards, but both are effective in advanced positions.

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