FC Dallas and Red Bulls Play To A 0-0 Draw


It just seems wholly un-American for a sports game to end in a tie, doesn’t it? Especially a 0-0 tie! Ughh, aren’t those the worst?

Either you play to win, or you lose the game, right? Isn’t that how it’s supposed to work? All my soccer-hating friends would say that’s why Friday night’s FC Dallas game against the New York Red Bulls was, literally, the worst thing ever.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my time as a soccer fan, it’s that the most enthralling and captivating games are often the ones that end in ties. There’s the constant suspense and anticipation of a goal that will break the deadlock. Your heart rate is at a constant high.

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When the final whistle blows, you’re actually left with an appreciation for the other team and a sense of relief. Sometimes you’re bitter that you couldn’t snatch a goal; other times you’re thankful your team held on. Either way, you appreciate the fact that there wasn’t enough to separate the two teams.

Friday night’s game was the perfect example of how a game that looks boring on paper can play out as a captivating tie.

Both teams came out with tons of energy and seemed to have something to prove. When one of the best teams in the Western Conference meets up with one of the best in the Eastern Conference, you expect there to be fireworks.

The early energy quickly turned to tactical shapes and formations as neither team established a firm grip on the attacking phase of the game. It became apparent quickly that both teams were willing to take up a more defensive stance and absorb pressure.

The more defensive mindset soon became of a chess match that neither team wanted to lose. When FCD would break up a play in their own half, they weren’t as quick to break for fear of leaving themselves vulnerable in their own half. And when you’re playing against a player like BWP, that self-control is vital.

Even more fascinating than the tactical decisions by the coaches, the individual matchups in this game didn’t disappoint.

As mentioned above, FC Dallas had to contend with the likes of Bradley Wright-Phillips, arguably the most lethal striker in MLS. Dealing with a player of his quality takes persistent marking and constant attention, both of which Matt Hedges has in abundance. The US international neutralized BWP with both skill and physicality.

Equally impressive for FC Dallas was the performance of Mo Hernandez on the left flank. As if Wright-Phillips isn’t difficult enough, Hernandez had the task of shutting down Lloyd Sam. If this game had taken place two months ago, I don’t think Mo would have had it in him. Friday, he was certainly up to the task.

Unfortunately for FC Dallas, the Red Bulls’ defenders were also up to the task of keeping Castillo, Diaz, and Perez quiet. New York choked Castillo on the wing and crowded the middle of the pitch for Diaz. In turn, neither could provide Blas with decent service into the box.

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  • Both teams’ dependence on their defenses became frustrating, which is what made Michael Barrios’ effort that was cleared off the line that much harder to stomach. In a game of few chances, when one comes your way, you have to take it.

    All this said, the 0-0 draw was a fair reflection of how the game played itself out. Both teams came out and tried to influence the game early. When that didn’t work, they decided to hedge their bets and wait for the other to mess up.

    Both fortunately and unfortunately, neither team cracked on Friday night. Instead, we were left with a tactical encounter that gave us much to analyze. For FC Dallas, the draw marks their fourth clean sheet of the season, a feat they hadn’t accomplished until August of last year.

    With a five game road trip coming up, it was vital for FCD to pick up at least a point against New York. Even if it was at home, coming away with a point against a top tier opponent is always good.

    So let the haters hate and let the players play. This was a 0-0 draw that I will gladly take, both as a fan of FCD and as a fan of good, quality soccer. It’s called the beautiful game for a reason, people.

    Next: Mauro Diaz: The Magician