FC Dallas opened the 2013 season Saturday (March 2) with a 1-0 victory against the Colorado Rapids at FC Dallas Stadium in Frisco.

Despite the cold weather, 18,075 fans packed FC Dallas Stadium and saw the home side take a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute on a goal scored by Jackson. The play began with Colombian playmaker David Ferreira, who knocked a long ball forward from behind the midfield line. Colorado goalkeeper Steward Ceus charged off his line to cut out the pass but ran beyond the top of the box. Unable to use his hands outside of the area, Ceus was forced to allow the ball to bounce over his head to Jackson, who calmly knocked the ball into the empty net for a 1-0 lead.

Colorado nearly equalized in the 18th minute when former FC Dallas midfielder Atiba Harris won a ball on the right flank and crossed it to the back post. Near the top of the area, Dillon Powers brought down the pass and attempted to pick out the right post but FC Dallas goalkeeper Raul Fernandez was in perfect position to make a diving save to his left side to keep the score 1-0 in favor of the home side.

Playing in his first game for FC Dallas since June 24, 2009, Dallas native Kenny Cooper earned a free kick in a dangerous position in the 35th minute. Just outside the top left corner of the area, Michel stepped to the kick and bent a left-footed shot around the wall. The shot skipped off the grass just before reaching Ceus but the 6-6 goalkeeper managed to knock the shot down. The rebound was nearly slotted home by a late-arriving Andrew Jacobson, but a Colorado defender stepped in at the last minute to clear the ball out of the six-yard box.

Dallas nearly took a two-goal lead just after halftime when Michel sent a dangerous free kick into the area from roughly 40 yards out. The well-placed ball found center back Matt Hedges at the back post. The defender was able to redirect a header across the goalmouth but Ceus was able to use his height advantage to go up and claim the ball just before it neared the crossbar.

Outshot 8-4 in the first half, Schellas Hyndman’s side made the necessary changes to possess more of the ball in the second half. The halftime alterations resulted in increased goal-scoring opportunities, the best of which nearly led to a goal by Ferreira in the 64th minute.

Je-Vaughn Watson started the play by getting the ball wide to Fabian Castillo. The young Colombian then slipped a pass inside to Ferreira, who feinted left before striking a shot, low to the back post. Ceus needed every inch of his frame to push the shot just wide of the post.

Colorado attacked for the majority of the final 10 minutes, lobbing several balls into the area, but center backs George John, Hedges and Stephen Keel combined to clear away any legitimate scoring opportunities and help Fernandez keep a clean sheet in his first start for FC Dallas.


Scoring Summary:

DAL – Jackson (David Ferreira) 11

FC Dallas – Raul Fernandez, Jair Benitez (Michel 30), George John, Matt Hedges (Stephen Keel 92+), Zach Loyd, David Ferreira, Andrew Jacobson, Je-Vaughn Watson, Jackson Goncalves, Fabian Castillo (Bobby Warshaw 79), Kenny Cooper. Substitutes Not Used: Chris Seitz, Bradlee Baladez, London Woodberry, Eric Hassli. 

TOTAL SHOTS: 8 (Jackson 2, Kenny Cooper 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Fabian Castillo, Jackson, Kenny Cooper, Michel, David Ferreira, Andrew Jacobson 1); FOULS: 10 (Jackson, Fabian Castillo, Kenny Cooper, 2); OFFSIDES: 5 (Kenny Cooper 2, Fabian Castillo 3); CORNER KICKS: 1 (Michel 1); SAVES: 3 (Raul Fernandez 3).

Colorado Rapids – Steward Ceus, Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor, Diego Calderon, Brian Mullan, Pablo Mastroeni, Hendry Thomas (Tony Cascio 62), Dillon Powers, Atiba Harris, Kevin Harbottle, Deshorn Brown (Andre Akpan 83). Substitutes Not Used: Christopher Klute, Matt Pickens, Jamie Smith, Nathan Sturgis.

TOTAL SHOTS: 12 (Paul Mastroeni 3, Atiba Harris 3, Hendry Thomas 2, Deshorn Brown 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Pablo Mastroeni, Dillon Powers, Deshorn Brown 1); FOULS: 15 (Pablo Mastroeni, Dillon Powers 3; Atiba Harris, Deshorn Brown, Tony Cascio 2); OFFSIDES: 3 (Deshorn Brown 3); CORNER KICKS: 6 (Brian Mullan 6); SAVES: 5 (Stewart Ceus 5).

Misconduct Summary: DAL – Je-Vaughn Watson (caution) 80.

Referee: Allen Chapman. Referee’s Assistants: Peter Manikowski, Jeremy Hanson. 4th Official: Ismail Elfath.

Attendance: 18,075. Weather: Clear, 50 degrees

FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman

General thoughts on the game:

The game started off quite fast and physical with a lot of turnovers. There were a number of missed passes by both teams and of course the goal that decided the game was a mistake on the goalie’s part. It was early in the game, and he was not able to read the bounce on the ball. I thought Colorado controlled the middle of the field. That was the battleground that we felt we had to get and we were unable to get it. The beginning of the first half was very aggressive on both sides as far as counter-attacking. It was a wide-open game. I could see our players were extremely tired just going back and forth. We shifted formation to a four-five-one to give us a little bit of an opportunity to hold the field a little bit better, which I thought worked. Then it just got into one of those crazy, crazy games that you’re just putting yourself into so much pressure, so much pressure on you that you’re anxious to get rid of the ball, and sometimes just kicking it out.

What did you think of Je-Vaughn Watson’s performance?

It was a little bit up-and-down. I thought it was a little-bit erratic in the beginning. I guess we gave away quite a few balls. But those three guys in the center of the field, Thomas, Mastroeni, and Powers, were causing us a lot of problems. We were not able to sort it out. All week at practice we tried to work on it and sort it out and this is the first time Je-Vaughn’s played with us so, it was a little bit weak and erratic at the beginning but I thought it got better as the game went on.

Is this a game where you just kind of take the three points and move on?

Absolutely, as I said to the guys you know we did not have a real good performance. We have had better training sessions than what we showed. At the same time we showed a lot of character, a lot of discipline and commitment to defend, and to come away with the three points. The three points is three points that Colorado does not have. We wish we could have played better. I think sometimes a sign of a good team is a team that can win badly and right now that was a pretty fortunate goal and we will take that luck.

What did you think of Michel’s performance?

He did well. Look at what was going on in the first half, there were a lot of diagonal balls to Atiba (Harris) and most of those balls were coming from (Brian) Mullan and Atiba was winning a lot of the air battle against Jair (Benitez). One is 5’5” and the other 6’1” and there were a really, really difficult couple of balls knocked in that were second balls. I thought when Michel went in he did a much better job at nullifying those diagonal balls and making it a competitive battle.


FC Dallas defender Matt Hedges

General thoughts on the match:

For the first couple of minutes, we took some time to adjust to their system but after that I think we handled the pressure well. Jackson took advantage of an opportunity they gave us and was able to get the game-winning goal.

On getting the first game out of the way:

It’s a good result for us. We needed the three points and our defense got a shutout. Jackson did well to put away the chance he had. I can’t say anything more. It was just a really good result for us tonight.

FC Dallas midfielder Jackson Goncalves

General thoughts on the game:

I thought I did well for a first game but I still have to get better with the team. But for a first game I thought I did well.

Is it better to win ugly than lose pretty?

The important thing is the three points. If we win 1 to nil, it’s still three points and that’s what matters.

What happened on the goal?

I saw the defender and just took off. David (Ferreira) and I have been working on our timing and creating options for him to distribute the ball. I saw the ball bounce and didn’t expect the mistake by the goalkeeper, but I was ready for it. As an attacking player, you always prepare for a goalkeeper to make a mistake so you are in a good position to capitalize, but then sometimes it comes to you too easily and takes you by surprise. I had to focus and simply put the ball into the back of the net.

Colorado Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja

How do you assess tonight’s game?

I thought we were the best team on the field from the first minute to 90 full minutes. But we made a mistake and we paid for it. I don’t really remember another [scoring threat FC Dallas had] after that. I’m very proud of the boys. The goal was a mistake, but I’m very proud of the team and very happy with the performance. The guys played very well today and created options. We dictated tempo. We were all over.

What did you think of the rookies?

You want to have the result, but with this philosophy that we have here we’re not afraid to throw the young guys in there because they deserve it. I thought the performances today by Dillon Powers and Deshorn Brown were great.

On playing in Dallas:

I don’t want to say every game is the same but I’ve settled into a rhythm. Every game has different moments or aspects to it. Having spent a lot of time in Dallas, as both a coach and as a player... I always enjoy coming back here.

Colorado Rapids midfielder Dillon Powers

How did it feel out there?

It was definitely a fun experience for me, especially my first game back home. I’m really enjoying the pace, adjusting and learning every day. Oscar has been great trying to make me a better player. He’s made the adjustment pretty easy for me.

What was it like playing your first MLS game where you grew up?

It was really fun. I couldn’t ask for a better place to make my debut than in front of family and friends.

Colorado Rapids defender Drew Moor

How did the new players do tonight?

Dillon Powers was as solid as he’s been all preseason. Deshorn Brown showed that he’s extremely dangerous, can get in behind and he’s got speed. Kevin Harbottle was fantastic. He has been incredible in preseason. It’s a good squad and a hard working group of guys.

Do you feel like it’s a process for all the new guys?

It’s always a process. It’s early in the season and we can walk out of here with our heads up thinking we could have gotten one. We could have had all three points.

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