By: Rees Linn
FC Dallas repeated what has been a familiar feat this season – they earned another point on the road. This time it was a hard fought 0-0 win against San Jose on Saturday night, and it marks Dallas’ twelfth draw of the season.
It’s a point that came against a physical San Jose side who looked to be very much in MLS ascendency going into the match. The California club had won three of their last five matches, including an impressive 2-1 road victory at Houston last Saturday.
The match started brightly for the home side, who enjoyed good attacking play from Bobby Convey and their new designated player, Giovani, in the opening minutes. It was a shaky start for Dallas, which could probably be attributed to the new paring of Zach Loyd and Jackson in the center of defense. Jackson was filling in for George John, who came up with a hamstring strain in last weeks’ 1-0 win over Toronto. [picappgallerysingle id=”9740320″]
Despite a couple of early San Jose chances, it was Dallas who would leave their mark on the opening half of play, as Shellas Hyndman’s conservative tactics began to take hold of the match. It was signature Dallas – stifling pressure in the midfield from a disciplined 4-5-1 formation. Daniel Hernandez and Eric Alexander gradually began cutting off passing lanes, limiting service to Giovani. Convey did well to remain active on San Jose’s left flank, but without the creativity from Giovani the match evolved into a choppy encounter in which neither Cornell Glen, for San Jose, or Jeff Cunningham, for Dallas, was able to find space up front.
Play opened up considerably in the second half. The short passing game of Dallas’ midfield found Ferreira’s feet with more frequency, and the crafty midfielder demonstrated why he’s a viable MVP candidate. His dribbling and passing created a mess of gaps in the San Jose formation, but Dallas always seemed one pass away from scoring and never looked 100 percent committed to pushing for the win.
Another plot twist unfolded in the 68th minute as Jackson limped off the field for FC Dallas. With Ugo Ihemelu and George John already missing the match due to injury, Shellas Hyndman subbed in former US under-20 national team captain, Kyle Davies. The appearance was only the second of the season for Davies, which will leave Hyndman pondering whether he’ll have any other options by Thursday night’s match against New York.
In the final 15 minutes, San Jose finally started finding the space they needed to look like the dangerous side that they’re capable of being. In the 86th minute, Giovani lifted a beautiful ball over and through the Dallas defense and into the path of a streaking Eduardo, but the outstretched striker was only able to steer the ball wide of the net. It was unfortunate for a San Jose club that needed a full three points to help secure their playoff ambitions.
Shellas Hyndman will feel his side can take many positives away from this match, but the biggest should be the contribution from striker Jeff Cunningham. Despite not making the score sheet, it had to been the most impressive outing by a Dallas striker this season. The veteran’s touch looked smooth, and he played with a confidence that he’s been missing this season. If he get’s hot, Dallas might be the team to beat this season.