By: Rees Linn
The Columbus Crew handed FC Dallas a 2-0 loss on Friday night in a match that saw Jackson Goncalves sent off in just the 33rd minute. Jackson, who was playing in central midfield rather than his customary right back spot, was sent off after making two rash challenges in quick succession. Columbus was able to utilize their one man advantage by tallying goals through Andres Mendoza and Eddie Gaven en route to their first victory of the season.
Still looking for answers after a loss to San Jose at home last week, Dallas began the match in Columbus with a somewhat surprising starting eleven which included a number of changes. Ruben Luna began the match as the lone striker in place of Milton Rodriguez, Brek Shea slid back into his left center back role having served his suspension for his opening day red card, and Ugo Ihemelu replaced Jackson at right back. With Ihemelu providing cover, Shellas Hyndman was free to move Jackson into the linking midfield role in place of Eric Alexander. Fabian Castillo was also handed his first MLS start on the left side of midfield.
While it wasn’t all negative, a few of these changes seemed to blow up in Hyndman’s face. Ugo Ihemelu managed to keep Robbie Rogers contained on the wing, but he wasn’t able to get involved in the attack with the same type of skill and pace that Jackson or Zach Loyd are capable of showing. It was also painfully obvious within the first fifteen minutes that moving Jackson into the midfield was a mistake. He lacked the touch and vision necessary to play centrally, and he struggled to help Dallas display any cohesion in the middle. His sending off was the culmination of a truly unsuccessful half hour for the Brazilian.
Having gone down a man, the new-look Dallas lineup was exposed in other areas. Around the 54th minute, Brek Shea was pulled out of position by a run from Andres Mendoza. Eddie Gaven then played a ball into the space vacated by Shea for Emmanuel Ekpo to run onto, and the Columbus attacker was brought down inside the area by George John. Andres Mendoza finished the ensuing penalty kick to give the hosts the advantage. Eddie Gaven, who had been the catalyst in midfield for the crew, added a goal in the 91st minute to ensure the win.
Unfortunately for Dallas, there won’t be much of an opportunity to sit and lick their wounds – they host Colorado next Friday in a rematch of the MLS Cup Championship match.