Sunday, October 28, 2007

Round 1 to FC Dallas

Incredibly, FC Dallas managed last night to defeat their arch-rivals and last year's MLS Champion the Houston Dynamo in a low scoring affair at Pizza Hut Park. The only goal came after Houston defender Ryan Cochrane poorly handled a throw-in from Dallas defender Adrian Serioux (who threw it from the sideline to right in front of the mouth of the goal, incredibly) putting it right at the feet of Dallas defender Clarence Goodsen, who put it hard into the back of the net in the 24th minute. Houston blew some wide-open chances to score, and left in defeat. However the victory doesn't count for as much as it would seem at first, as the MLS playoffs are structured so that each team plays one game at home, with whoever leads in aggregate goals after the two games being the winner. What this means it that when Dallas plays Houston next weekend in Houston, they need to be winning or tied at the end of regulation to win the series. If they're down by one goal, the game will go into overtime (and then penalty kicks) and if they're down by two or more, they lose the series. But the victory was a much needed morale boost for FC Dallas, which has struggled against Houston this season. They've demonstrated their ability to shut Houston down while still playing decent attacking soccer, and hopefully that will give them the confidence to keep a lid on Houston next Saturday. Of course, FC Dallas is also prone to record-setting meltdowns in the back (giving up four goals in three games this season, and six in one.) Houston will almost certainly press for a quick goal to force FC Dallas into a more defensive posture that they can then spend most of the game trying to penetrate. Still, it's better to win than to lose, and there's still an outside chance that FC Dallas could fight off their recent history to survive into the next round.

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