FC Dallas defeated Red Bull New York 2-1 today in front of a sold out crowd of 20,906 at FC Dallas Stadium. The fourth largest crowd in FC Dallas history watched newly-acquired Panamanian striker Blas Perez assist on goals by Zach Loyd and Ricardo Villar to lead Dallas to victory in its first match of the 2012 season.
FC Dallas jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute when Andrew Jacobson sent a cross into the area from the left flank. A Red Bull defender won the initial header, but FC Dallas captain Ugo Ihemelu managed to get a challenge in and send the clearance attempt off course. Perez was in prime position to intercept the ball out of the back. He knocked a lateral pass across the top of the area to Loyd, who struck a low hard shot to the back post past goalkeeper Ryan Meara.
Dallas controlled the pace of the game through the 33rd minute, when Perez nearly put the home side up two goals with a first-touch strike from close range. The play began with another blocked clearance attempt. This time is was Villar, who stuck a foot in and deflected the ball back into the area. Perez timed his run well and volleyed a hard shot directly at Meara, who staggered from the force of the shot, but did not give up any rebound.
Following halftime, FC Dallas continued to press its attack. Midfielder Brek Shea took a pass on the right flank and played Villar into space at the top of the area. With two defenders on his back, Villar managed to get off a shot towards the back post, but Meara charged off his line to deny the chance with a right-handed save.
Perez picked up his second assist of the match in the 61st minute when he stole a pass near midfield, dribbled towards goal and dished a pass into space for Villar. Villar did not disappoint with his second opportunity. The Brazilian touched the ball wide with the outside of his foot, ran at Meara and chipped a shot over the sliding goalkeeper to give Dallas a 2-0 advantage.
Red Bull New York pulled within a goal in the 78th minute when Thierry Henry played a perfectly weighted ball over the top of the FC Dallas backline. Former FC Dallas forward Kenny Cooper brought down the pass with his first touch before chipping a shot over goalkeeper Kevin Hartman, who was charging off his line to cut down on his angle.
New York pressed in search of an equalizer in the final 10 minutes of the match, but FC Dallas’ defense held on for the 2-1 season-opening victory. FC Dallas is back in action this Saturday against Portland at FC Dallas Stadium. That match is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. CT.