MLS Playoffs: Wild card game (4 vs 5) – Dallas 2-1 Vancouver

FC Dallas Head coach Oscar Pareja

Overall thoughts on the game…

First of all I want to remark on the support of our fans tonight.  In the middle of the week they came to the stadium and put out the same energy we have seen the whole year. Congratulations go to the fans – I know that the players appreciated it a lot.

We found a game against a team that was very demanding with very a high energy level. We knew they would like to pressure us and, at the beginning, we hesitated to stretch the game in the way we wanted. The decision to bring Mauro in today changed the whole thing. I’m very happy to see Mauro back with the team – he’s still getting his rhythm back but the first half we managed the game well. We had some options, but it was very cut with fouls and didn’t flow for an entire 45 minutes.  In a balance, I thought it was a good half for us.  

In the second half it was more level for them, especially in the first 15 minutes. They brought energy and, though we wanted to keep doing the same job, for the first 15 minutes they put us on our heels. We wanted to take advantage and counter but couldn’t and unfortunately their goal came on a play that we had faced before. We couldn’t clear it from the middle, and then they set it up.

The boys reacted well, as they have done many times during the year. After the performance last Saturday that we didn’t like, they came back today playing better soccer on the field, with better energy. We ended up winning a game that was well deserved – we deserve to be in the semifinals.

First Time in Four Years for Sunday Night Soccer in November

It feels pretty good and we’re proud because we have a club that has been building for many years in the community. The effort from the ownership this year has been great and we want to reward them and the club for bringing the playoffs back to Frisco. That feeling is bigger now that we know we will bring Seattle here for the semifinals, which is a bigger reward for our community.

On Vancouver’s Physicality

It was a very physical game. We knew it was a very physical team – we had the same experience when we played in Vancouver and this game had some similarities. There was also the urgency for both teams to avoid making mistakes in trying to make it or impose some presence on the field. That creates a lot of fouls and a lot of contact and we saw it. Sometimes the playoff games are like that, everyone is playing for inches, and tonight was not an exception.

Starting Mauro Diaz

We threw him a hard ball tonight and he showed us that he’s prepared for it. He’s recovering and he’s trying to get his rhythm. In the last game, during the last 10 minutes, when we were starting to look tired and we couldn’t find the ball against Portland, he came and turned the lights on for us. When Mauro is on the field, the lights are on more frequently.  

Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson

On what he saw on the PK call…

I saw the same as you guys. 

Was it a call that should have been made…

I questioned my team at halftime because I thought we played with a little bit of fear. In the second half it was the total opposite, and my team gave me everything I asked and more. The performance they put in in the second half is not worthy of losing this game of football, unfortunately, because of one thing or another.

On the reaction from his players to the loss…

I’ll give you an example, we’ve got Mauro Rosales in there who’s 33 years of age, who’s been successful in Seattle and he’s crying his eyes out because he feels the result wasn’t what we deserved and, rightly, I agree with him. You can’t legislate for certain things and unfortunately today wasn’t our day. He (Rosales) hits the underside of the crossbar. Kekuta (Manneh) nearly sneaks one in on the back post, we have shots cleared off the line. We did everything we could. Unfortunately, we came up short today.

On why he subbed off Pedro Morales in the 58th minute…

He looked a bit tired. Pedro, away from home, has played very well at times, but will also be below his level at times. He wanted to play, and I wanted him to play, but they kicked him from pillar to post. He took it, which is part of the game, but I just think he was not having the influence I wanted. I brought Kekuta (Manneh) in and put Mauro (Rosales) into that 10, and for me, Mauro was the best player in the park today by a country mile.

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