Morning After: FC Dallas Claims a Point at Minnesota
Was it the greatest soccer match in MLS history? No. Was it particularly beautiful soccer? No. But FC Dallas got a vital away point Sunday night in cold, wet Loon country.
Sometimes, soccer delivers storylines destined for delicious verbiage and daring narratives, and sometimes, well, you get a 0-0 draw in which neither team managed to play their best match.
Against Minnesota United FC in dreary weather up north, FC Dallas certainly departed the happier of the two sides. An away point in the brutally long Major League Soccer season is a precious thing. Sure, there might have been more points available, but after giving up three goals in New York, holding on to a clean sheet is a confidence boost for a rotating defensive effort yet to blossom into its best.
At this point in the season, FC Dallas and its fans don’t seem sure which defensive players are the clear no. 1s. Nkosi was missing in this one. Jose Martinez and Sebastian Ibeagha got the start and served ably despite some nervy moments. Ema Twumasi slotted back in at right back, a position that appeared to be his if not for a few solid performances from Geovane Jesus. Sam Junqua, a depth signing with Isaiah Parker on loan to a USL-C side, got his first start.
Was it the best defensive performance? Probably not. But it was good enough, and with Maarten Paes between the goalposts, good enough was great.
Offensively, there were moments for sure, including nice build-up and twelve pass sequences that reveal the hard work being put in behind the scenes. That final pass was lacking. The wrong choice or wrong foot let more than one player down.
Minnesota United had their chances to grab that vital goal, but FC Dallas will ride whatever luck available to them. Each result solidifies their standings in the table and builds their confidence until the summer transfer window, when new possibilities to bolster this team appear.
Head Coach Nico Estevez commented that the game was really a tale of two halves.
“It’s really important coming off a loss and having two games away in a row like we had and not conceding to get a point and something positive. It’s difficult in this league to play away,” Nico said to Afterburn Soccer after the match. “The two halves were pretty different. In the first half we had good control of buildup, but we didn’t create many chances and we lacked when we were playing deeper. The crosses that we had, some of them should’ve been on the ground and we could’ve executed better. In the second half, the game opened a little bit with more fatigue and the opponent opened more and we found spaces to counterattack. Defensively, we had some moments where we were very compact and solid, and in other moments it was difficult to stop the opponent’s attack and it’s a good learning moment for us in terms of preventing some of the chances Minnesota created today.”
While FC Dallas is not going to apologize to fans who waited up late into the evening on the edge of their seat for a 0-0 performance, there is much heart to be taken from such a result on the road in a difficult league missing at least one of your best players.
It’s a long season, Frisco Fanatics. Buckle up.
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