Frisco, TX – FC Dallas entered their Independence Day game against Toronto FC in the midst of the longest winless streak in their history. Twelve matches have come and gone since their last victory six weeks ago, against the Montreal Impact. Dallas hoped to improve upon their 5-4-2 all-time record on July 4, but unfortunately for the home side their Canadian opponents sparkled in defense while FCD’s was a dud when it counted.
There was very good news before kickoff for the home side as David Ferreira was on the lineup sheet for the first time since suffering his devastating ankle injury last April 23 against the Vancouver Whitecaps. It got even better in the fifth minute when the Toros scored their earliest goal of the season to take a 1-0 lead.
The goal was set up by a great connection between midfielders Jackson and Andrew Jacobson along with perfectly timed runs by Brek Shea and right back Zach Loyd. Jackson sent a ball over the top from about forty yards away that Jacobson headed down into the middle of the penalty area. While the pass was still in the air, Shea darted through six-yard box from right-to-left and the Toronto defense collapsed on him. This left a wide open space that Loyd filled and he fearlessly dived at Jacobson’s pass to head home his second goal of the season while Jacobson earned his first assist of the season.
The Toros continued to create chances throughout the half, narrowly missing goals in the ’18 and ’33 minutes. First, Jacobson hit a long ball from midfield that sent Shea, playing as the lone striker, in on Toronto keeper Milos Kocic 1-on-1. Shea’s low, hard shot from the right side of the six yard box was at a very tight angle and went just wide of the left post. Then fifteen minutes later, it was Fabian Castillo’s turn. He cut across the middle of the penalty area after beating TFC right back Jeremy Hall (Castillo owned him all night) and curled a right-footed shot that Kocic tipped just enough to send the ball off of the crossbar.
Toronto, on the other hand, did not miss when they were gifted a chance in the ’31 by a bumbling Dallas defense. Reds midfielder Terry Dunfield looped in what should have been a fairly routine cross for the defense to handle, but center back Hernan Pertuz headed his clearance attempt high and it barely made it to the edge of the 18-yard box. Fortunately for FCD, the ball fell right to midfielder James Marcelin. Unfortunately, Marcelin displayed the brick-like touch he’s becoming known for and he chested the ball right to TFC midfielder Terry Lambe. Lambe sent in a soft shot that Dallas’ other center back, Matt Hedges, tipped just wide of Hartman, but still in play. Pertuz then had another shot at clearing the ball, but he sent it right to former FC Dallas and current Toronto midfielder Eric Evila. Avila chipped the ball right back in and the lethal Danny Koevermans flicked the ball into the net with a nifty right-footed, backheel volley.
The moment FC Dallas fans have been waiting fourteen months and eleven days for finally happened in the ’57 minute: David Ferreira stepped back onto the field. The 2010 MLS Most Valuable Player had missed forty-six games since being carted off of Empire Field in Vancouver on April 23, 2011. Ferreira immediately moved into his familiar creative midfield role and he quickly began spreading around the kind of killer through-balls that the Dallas attack has sorely been missing. Ferreira also looked (understandably) reluctant going into any challenges and was visibly frustrated by the amount of contact the referee was allowing. FC Dallas Coach Schellas Hyndman confirmed this after the game when asked about Ferreira’s reaction to the numerous fouls, “I think he was pissed. He’s been out for fifteen months. He’s had three surgeries. I think he’s hoping that the referees will protect him.”
Dallas looked dangerous for the remainder of the half, but the Toronto defense held firm even through six added minutes of injury time. The 1-1 draw marks FC Dallas’ thirteenth straight game without a win in all competitions. They’ll get their next chance at shaking free of the streak this Saturday when the league-leading San Jose Earthquakes visit FC Dallas Stadium.
- The match marked Dallas keeper Kevin Hartman’s 400th career game in MLS. His first match was in May of 1997
- Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant will be scarfing the Lamar Hunt statue this Saturday
- Toronto has never won an MLS game in Dallas, though they did win at (then) Pizza Hut Park in last year’s CONCACAF Champion’s League group stage
- FC Dallas has not won in twelve straight games in MLS play, which is the longest such streak in franchise history and it is tied for the fifth longest in MLS history
- FCD wore blue and white hoops at home for the first time. Referee Jose Carlos Rivero dictated the change from Dallas’ usual red and white hoops as he said they did not contrast enough with Toronto’s change kit (mostly white with red accents)