LOS ANGELES — Welcome back to Keeping Score: Your complete FC Dallas match day experience.
This week, FC Dallas headed out west to the city of angels to take on the defending MLS champs, LAFC. Each side entered the match at seven points apiece with two wins and a tie in the books. LAFC was unbeaten against FC Dallas at home (three wins and one tie) and kept that streak going with a 2-1 win on Saturday night.
Here's how it happened:
LAFC struck early with a goal courtesy of their high press. FC Dallas goalkeeper Maarten Paes cleared a ball right to the chest of Kwadwo Opoku, who then played a ball to Timothy Tillman. Tillman scored the opening goal in the 3rd minute.
After a shot from Jesus Ferreira was blocked, Edwin Cerrillo fired a shot through traffic from well outside of the box to seemingly level the match at 1-1 in the 17th minute. However, VAR reviewed the play and removed the goal.
In the 35th minute, Ema Twumasi was sent off with a red card after a hard challenge.
Down a goal and a man, FC Dallas scratched and clawed for nearly 40 minutes before leveling the match. Cerrillo won a free kick and Marco Farfan kicked an out-swinging ball which deflected into the air and was finished by center back Nkosi Tafari.
Denis Bouanga came off the bench and gave LAFC the lead again in the 83rd minute after finishing a right-footed shot on a very tight angle.
The fight from the Toros was valiant, but playing a majority of the match down a man against a talented team in LAFC was just too tall of a mountain to climb. FC Dallas was out-gunned and out-manned in basically every way:
- Shots: 20-7
- Shots on goal: 6-3
- Possession: 57.7%-42.3%
- Corners: 7-0
- Percentage duels won: 51.5%-48.5%
But granted, the had one less player for nearly two-thirds of the match. At any rate ... with the loss, FC Dallas moves to 2-2-1. The club sits fifth in the Western Conference standings.
FC fit check
Comfy and cool on the road trip. Alan Velasco with the #DTID flavor in his fit. Simple, yet stylish. I dig it.
Frisco Foodie Fun
Rain check on this one. Last away game, I did some experimenting with McDonald's secret menu. It's been a long week at WFAA covering severe weather Friday morning. We'll return to the Toyota Stadium concessions next week.
#DTID Man of the Match
He scored the long range goal that ended up not counting because VAR took it away and also drew the foul on the free kick that led to Tafari's goal.
What they said
POSTGAME QUOTES FC DALLAS
Head Coach Nico Estévez
On the postgame message to the team…
“I will say we didn’t play good the first 15 minutes of the match and that goal [LAFC] scored is what resulted because of it. We have to be critical and take a look at ourselves first. When we scored the goal that was disallowed, I immediately started to get doubts because Jáder (Obrian) is a small guy, but then Acosta was making an effort to block the shot, but unfortunately Jáder was in the keeper's way.
We kept responding and then the red card deflated us a little bit. It was difficult to accept because the referee did not bother looking at Tillman’s pull on Alan Velasco early in the game. Ema was trying to avoid a head-to-head collision and he unfortunately makes a connection between his bicep and the player's head.
At halftime, we talked about having a special group of players with special characteristics. We had to go out there and recognize that those first 15 minutes of the half were poor. We had to believe that even with 10-men we can still attack, connect, counter and even score. We did a good job on that, but unfortunately they were able to come away with the win late in the match. I am proud of my players and it’s not easy to start sloppily and respond the way we did with 10-men and calls not going our way.”
On the yellow card he received in the match…
“I wanted to show my players that I’m fighting for them. I told them in the half, if I have to get a red card, I will get it. We are all fighting together today and they have to see that I have the energy to fight with them. They saw that and that also helped them understand that we were fighting from the bench with them and helping them achieve their objective today, which was coming here and winning against the champions.”
On the momentum shift after the first 15 minutes of the game…
“We came in sloppy, afraid and slow in the beginning of the match. They were onto us mentally, physically and intensity wise. Our backline, movement and actions were not ideal at first. From the seventh to the 10th minute, I was a bit more proactive on the bench and I was yelling more than I usually do. I was telling them to think about what I said to them in the locker room before the match, but I don't think it worked as well. I just wanted them to show more energy, the game plan was clear. Once they were on it you could see a different side than to the one in the first 15 minutes. We created spaces and we were able to hurt them a couple of times. At the end of the game the opponents bench was telling us how we deserved more today and to not feel down.”
Defender Nkosi Tafari
On the goal he scored and the chemistry he has with Sebastien Ibeagha…
“It’s coming along pretty well. I’d actually like it if we were on the other end of three points instead of centerbacks scoring goals.”
On the team’s perseverance tonight…
“We have a great group of guys here. I don't know how long we were down. Maybe 70 minutes? Seventy-five? We were fighting and had chances to win the game. In all actuality, if we were even, 11 v 11, they knew that we were dangerous and that the game could turn any way at any moment. So we just have to keep pushing forward, trying to be a little bit more rigorous in the next game around and take our chances.”
Head Coach Steve Cherundolo
"We are very happy with the result. Luck and good fortune was on our side tonight, and we needed it to get the three points. We were not happy with our performance, especially with the ball and without the ball at times. I felt that we were a bit off-rhythm, sloppy with our passing, and impatient. We couldn't find the right windows to break down more frequently than we did."
"There is definitely room for improvement. It's a game we will certainly analyze and take some valuable lessons from both sides of the ball. It wasn't much transition for either team tonight. It wasn't our best performance. What I told the players after the game was that these are the games that are very important to win. When you're not playing at your best and you can still win, it's a great sign for the group. It's an important obstacle or hurdle to get over because Dallas is a very good team. These points are ours and we're happy with that, but we will certainly learn from this performance moving forward."
No injuries to report.
What's next/8 ball prediction
FC Dallas returns for a home match against Portland Timbers on Saturday, April 1. TV information: Apple TV+ – MLS Season Pass – 7:30 p.m. CST.
"8 ball" bold prediction tracker:
FC Dallas will have three players score 12-plus goals this season: Jesus Ferreira, Paul Arriola and Alan Velasco.
- Ferreira: 3/12
- Arriola: 0/12
- Velasco: 2/12
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