With their season hanging in the balance Saturday night at Toyota Stadium, FC Dallas gave themselves a lifeline.
After falling 2-0 in their Round One Best-of-3 series opener at Seattle Sounders FC last Monday, Dallas forced an all-decisive Match 3 back at Lumen Field on Nov. 10, taking a
3-1 victory in Match 2.”We have to have another magical night, go for something epic,” FC Dallas head coach Nico Estévez said afterwards. “We’re probably the lesser of the two teams in this conference and we have to earn respect. And respect is earned with nights like tonight and nights that will come, like Friday in Seattle.
“Hopefully we can have one of those nights that break the norm.”This result came on the heels of a road setback that included FC Dallas losing one of their most important players.
Alan Velasco, the Argentine standout who finished No. 1 on this years 22 Under 22 presented by BODYARMOR
rankings, suffered a torn ACL in the first half at Seattle and will soon undergo surgery.Sans their dynamic playmaker, FCD nonetheless hit the Sounders for a trio of goals. The first two came during an early first-half onslaught that saw
Paul Arriola (6) nod home a flicked header and Jesús Ferreira (18) convert from the penalty spot. Bernard Kamungo
played provider for Arriola and drew the PK, before substitute Jáder Obrian (89) iced the match.“I think it says a lot about the capacity of the team, the depth of the roster that we have,” Estévez said. “We’re in the playoffs thanks to the entire squad. If not, we wouldn’t be playing these games.”
The Sounders, meanwhile, never fully recovered after the pair of early concessions, despite Jordan Morris
(48) halving the deficit after the break.While his team improved as the match wore on, head coach Brian Schmetzer said the rough start was a key culprit in the defeat.
“Flats a generous adjective,” Schmetzer said. “Not good enough. Messaged. Messaged by the staff, messaged by the players themselves. Before the game, coming out,
Stef Frei, captain, saying: Look, if you think this is going to be easy, think twice. And then we came out flat.”
Added Morris: “We didnt come out and match their intensity. Their backs were against the wall, they needed to come out flying. We needed to match that and we didnt. Little moments hurt in a playoff game like this, and so we put ourselves into too big of a deficit and couldnt come out of it. So weve got to right that and, especially at home, come out flying on Friday.”
It sets up a do-or-die Match 3 for both sides at Lumen Field on Friday, with the winner meeting either
LAFC (No. 3) or Vancouver Whitecaps FC (No. 6) in the Western Conference Semifinals come Nov. 25-26.”Weve got to re-group, weve got to re-group quickly,” Frei said. “Obviously next game is Friday already, so quick turnaround. Its maybe good in a way because not everythings going to go smooth. So time to keep your heads held high but put your heads down and go to work in training.
“… [We need] to do at home what they did to us here: Come out right out of the gate and put them under pressure and set the ship right.”