Monday Morning: Draws. And more draws.
In an exciting weekend for FC Dallas and North Texas, Houston escaped both games with a draw despite the home sides going up a goal early. What can we learn from a somewhat disappointing weekend?
When Jader Obrian scored on a deflected shot early in the second half, FC Dallas appeared to have the upper hand in the Texas Derby. They were at home. Despite a feisty Houston side, time should have been on their side. More importantly, the team was buzzing the ball around and generating enough opportunities that another goal lurked around the corner.
If not for a couple of good saves and a shot off the crossbar, that second goal might have sealed it for Dallas.
Instead, Houston grabbed a gutsy equalizer in the 85th minute off of a set piece, clawing back a vital point for them and leading to a stalemate to close out the match.
“This result hurts a lot more because we had the game in our hands. There were moments that Houston did a good job and they have quality players, so we knew that some moments would be difficult for us. We adjusted well at halftime in the way we wanted to press. We had 10 shots, nine inside the box and five shots on target,” FC Dallas Head Coach Nico Estevez said after the match. “I told the guys we’re disappointed because of the result but in a week of nine points we got seven. Of course, we wanted nine points, and to win the derby for our fans and the club, but we have to be objective about the difficulty of the week.”
Indeed, both teams were exhausted after playing mid-week matches.
The more you get used to the rhythms of Major League Soccer, the more you recognize those matches where both teams walk away with a mixture of disappointment, satisfaction, and exhaustion. This one was disappointing, but it’s not like FC Dallas played poorly. Sometimes, your opponent sneaks one in. Sometimes, the chances don’t end up in the back of the net. It’s harsh to be too hard on your performance with the energy and adjustments. So, you walk away with that flurry of emotions and look ahead to some extra rest before the next match.
If there is a unison message from FC Dallas fans and staff and players after this one, Houston is a different beast. They played well on the road in the midst of a season where these matches have been a struggle for them. Credit to them for putting together a strong performance.
For the reserve side, North Texas SC were focused on getting their first win against Dynamo Dos at home, and for a long stretch, they appeared to be in control. Carl Sainte sent in a deadly free kick for his first North Texas goal of the season. Kamungo slotted a nifty little pass to Mulatto for his third goal of the season. But Houston wouldn’t wait long, getting a blistering shot past Eyestone later in the first half and then finding an equalizer about 70 minutes in. North Texas would respond with Diego Hernandez’ first professional goal, but Houston equalized at the death.
The penalty kicks went the way of the visitors as well.
For Julian Eyestone at goalkeeper, who has played so well this season, a couple of these goals he would no doubt love to have had another touch or crack at.
Both teams played with energy, but it highlights how the defense has continued to be a source of concern for North Texas SC, especially if they desire to advance and rise up the table.
The questions will linger.
Who can get healthy next for FC Dallas with Paul Arriola, Geovane Jesus, and Sebastian Lletget all expected to miss time?
How long with Maarten Paes be out? Did the team miss him on Saturday? Probably.
For North Texas, trying to figure out ways to get their defense in rhythm and support the young Julian Eyestone while Antonio Carrera is away at the U20 World Cup remains a focus, but there is also a lot to like about this young squad and the opportunities they are giving to the youngsters out of the academy.
We are looking to get another podcast scheduled here shortly, so stay tuned for another edition of the Afterburn Soccer Show.
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