Written by Contributor
Blas Perez nets game-winning header in the 87th minute
FOXBORO, Mass. (Saturday, March 30) – FC Dallas improved its record to 4-1-0 (12 points) with a 1-0 victory over the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium today.
The only goal of the game was scored by second-half substitute Blas Perez in the 87th minute. The goal was assisted by David Ferreira, who is now tied with Montreal’s Patrice Bernier for the league lead in assists with three.
FC Dallas nearly took a 1-0 lead in the 14th minute when Ferreira chipped an entry pass into the area for Kenny Cooper. The FC Dallas forward struck a dangerous ball across the face of goal with his first touch, opening the door for Jackson to finish off the chance, but the Brazilian had the ball skip through his legs and out of bounds for a New England goal kick.
Dallas dominated possession throughout the first half, ending the first 45 minutes with a 62/38 advantage but it was New England’s Diego Fagundez who tested FC Dallas goalkeeper Raul Fernandez in the 34th minute. After receiving a pass from Jerry Bengtson on the left flank, Fagundez cut inside his defender and attempted to pick out the left post. Fernandez made an easy save, diving to his right side to preserve the 0-0 draw. The save was the first of five saves Fernandez would make en route to picking up his second clean sheet in four starts this season.
In the 40th minute, FC Dallas had a great chance to take a 1-0 lead into halftime snuffed out by Revolution goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth. The play began with defensive midfielder Andrew Jacobson winning possession back for the visitors near midfield. Michel and Jackson combined in the middle of the field before pushing the ball out to the left flank for Jair Benitez. The defender swung a left-footed pass into space and Ferreira beat New England’s offsides trap, leaving the former MLS MVP alone with Shuttleworth. The 6-2 goalkeeper charged off his line to cut down Ferreira’s angle on goal and managed to catch a piece of Ferreira’s first-touch shot with his left knee to send the game into halftime, 0-0.
New England came out of halftime energized and earned a free kick on the edge of the box in the 58th minute. Former FC Dallas midfielder Juan Toja opted to take the free kick, hammering a shot into the wall. Toja recovered the loose ball after it deflected off the group of players in the wall and chipped a pass to the back post for Bengtson. The Honduran forward rose above a pack of players to redirect a shot on goal, but Fernandez made his best save of the afternoon, leaping backwards to tip the shot over the bar.
The game opened up near the 60th minute, when both sides had multiple opportunities to break the deadlock.
FC Dallas’ chance came first, in the 63rd minute when Cooper chipped a header over Shuttleworth and into the empty net after a perfect cross sent in from the left flank by Benitez. Unfortunately for Dallas, the goal was disallowed by referee David Gantar after his linesman’s flag went up, deeming Cooper offsides.
The Revolution’s chance came in the 69th minute, when an FC Dallas defensive miscue handed New England defender Kevin Alston a one-on-one opportunity against Fernandez. The FC Dallas goalkeeper stood his ground as Alston dribbled the ball towards goal before making a diving save to his left side to knock the ball away from danger.
Perez ended the goal-scoring drought in the 87th minute, after another nice build-up down the left sideline found Ferreira open at the top of the area. The Colombian playmaker lobbed a pass to the back corner of the six-yard box for Perez, who snuck in-behind his marker and headed a shot toward the back post. The bouncing shot evaded Shuttleworth and caught just enough of the inside of the post before it settled into the back of the net to give Dallas the 1-0 victory.
DAL – Blas Perez (David Ferreira) 87
FC Dallas – Raul Fernandez, Jair Benitez (Bobby Warshaw 90), George John, Matt Hedges, Zach Loyd, David Ferreira, Andrew Jacobson, Michel, Jackson, Fabian Castillo (Je-Vaughn Watson 82), Kenny Cooper (Blas Perez 64).
Substitutes Not Used: Chris Seitz, Eric Hassli, London Woodberry, Kellyn Acosta.
TOTAL SHOTS: 10 (David Ferreira, Blas Perez 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Blas Perez 2); FOULS: 9 (Fabian Castillo 2); OFFSIDES: 3 (Blas Perez, Kenny Cooper, Fabian Castillo 1); CORNER KICKS: 6 (Michel 4); SAVES: 5 (Raul Fernandez 5).
New England Revolution – Bobby Shuttleworth, Andrew Farrell, A.J. Soares, Jose Goncalves, Kevin Alston (Chris Tierney 88), Lee Nguyen, Clyde Simms, Juan Toja, Ryan Guy (Kelyn Rowe 60), Jerry Bengtson, Diego Fagundez (Andy Dorman 85).
Substitutes Not Used: Luis Soffner, Chad Barrett, Kalifa Cisse, Stephen McCarthy.
TOTAL SHOTS: 9 (Lee Nguyen 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (five players with 1); FOULS: 14 (Jerry Bengtson 4); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 1 (Lee Nguyen 1); SAVES: 3 (Bobby Shuttleworth 3).
DAL – David Ferreira (caution) 51
NE – Kelyn Rowe (caution) 64
Referee: David Gantar
Referee’s Assistants: Craig Lowry, Kevin Klinger
4th Official: Mathieu Bourdeau
Time of Game: 1:51
Weather: Sunny, 56 degrees
FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman
On controlling the first half but not getting a goal…
There is always the frustration when you are controlling a game, and I thought the first half we did a very good job controlling it. Second half, we were just a little bit anxious to try to get that killer ball. That is probably what you mean by the frustrations. When we were doing that and [the goals] weren’t happening and then they starting finding much more space and we started getting stretched out a little bit. But I thought we created enough chances to score a goal.
In the second half, they started creating some good chances for themselves. Frustration is something we’ll have to continue to look at videos and see what we can improve on.
A big part is that the team really enjoys each other. You never know how important team chemistry is until you lose it. We struggled with that the last year and a half. This year, the guys are really playing for each other. They’re working for each other. They are following directions. They are having great training sessions.
On his second half substitutions…
For us it was obviously Blas [Perez] scoring the game winner, a very good player. He played two games last week with Panama and he came back a little bit banged up. We wanted to rest him the best we could. But what a great substitute to be making, a player of that quality. Then Je-Vaughn [Watson] came in and it helped us a little bit on the flank because Fabian [Castillo] was getting a little tired. Bobby [Warshaw] came in and just kind of anchored things down for us. Jair [Benitez] got a little bit of a hamstring strain. You saw Michel, a very good central midfielder, but he is really a left full back. Very happy to come here, a difficult place to play and come out with the result.
On the play of New England’s Lee Nguyen…
I have such a great respect for Lee [Nguyen]. He came out of Dallas, is a very good player. We’ve have known him since he was 12 years of age. Very technical, good vision, probably one of the better passers in the league. But we also know that he likes to come into the middle. He goes out wide then looks to come into the middle. Today his passes were good, but our defense was shutting down the targets. He is a dangerous player.
On Kevin Alston’s chance for New England in the 69th minute…
That was kind of a goofy sequence there, where our two defenders, both going for the same ball and the it slips through and all of a sudden there goes [Kevin Alston], one on one with the keeper. What a great save from our goalkeeper Raul [Fernandez]. That could have been the game right there …
On his starting lineup this week compared to last week…
It was really the same. Blas [Perez] was gone and Raul [Fernandez] was gone. The only change was we made was Chris Seitz started for us in goal. Chris Seitz’s partner just had a baby the other day at 3 o’clock in the morning, so he missed the next day of training, as you would think. We gave him another day off. So for Raul [Fernandez] to step in was good. Probably the only change. I think the substitutes were a little bit different.
On bringing Blas Perez on for Kenny Cooper…
What we felt like, we just needed someone fresh up there that could hold the ball a little bit different [than Kenny Cooper]. When you bring in a Blas Perez, it does affect the opposition quite a bit. Mentally, [they] go, wow, OK good. Kenny’s out now here come Blas. Are you kidding? He adds something a little bit different. We found him a couple times and he could have had another [goal besides the one he did score].
FC Dallas midfielder Andrew Jacobson
General thoughts on the match…
I thought we did a good job. We moved the ball quickly. Tactically, we were very sound. We let our attackers do their thing. It was a very sound game for us. [We] gave ourselves a chance to win.
On FC Dallas 4-1-0 start to the season…
Obviously it is a good start [to the season]. You want to collect as many points as possible. We are doing it in the right manner. It is not just collecting points. We are playing well. We are very organized. We are playing to our strengths and we are really working on progressing every week. Every year is going to be different. Everything is going to be different, whether it is good or bad. It is just different. This is a real group here. We’ve got everyone pulling for each other. Everyone is excited. Everyone is backing each other up. It is a good feeling. Obviously when you are winning, everything seems easy. We believed in ourselves from the beginning. It is starting to show, but we still have a lot of work to do. We feel good going forward.
FC Dallas forward Kenny Cooper
General thoughts on the match…
The team did well to battle. We’ve gotten off to a great start and this just improved our record. It might be the best start in the club’s history. Four and one is great and hopefully we can continue to improve upon it.
On the team…
It’s a great group of guys from back to front. The team is playing really well with a lot of confidence. Our coaches prepare us really well every week. We have great training sessions. So far, it’s been great. Obviously, it’s still early but hopefully we can keep this form going.
On his disallowed goal…
Sometimes calls go for you and sometimes against you. [The called back goal] didn’t go for us, but it’s OK because we got one in the end and the win is the most important thing.
On returning to Dallas…
It’s been great. I’m very appreciative to have the opportunity to play again in front of my family and friends. To feel appreciated by the club, as well, is great and I’m really happy to be back.
New England Revolution head coach Jay Heaps
General thoughts on the match…
It was a tough game for us. Our second half was much better than our first half. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough, as you know. We’ve got to get better in a lot of areas from the coaches to the players and every aspect of the game, from set pieces to offensive set pieces, defensive set pieces, to moving the ball, to attacking, to … just all areas of the game need to get better. I think that the first half, there wasn’t enough movement, there wasn’t enough playing the ball quickly and a lot of what we worked on all week just seemed to go away. And then in the second half, that was more our group but unfortunately you need 90 minutes to unlock a team. You need more than 45 minutes to play and unfortunately we only came for 45 minutes.
(We put in) Diego (Fagundez) for a little more offense. I thought he brought it tonight. I thought Diego did alright, a couple turnovers, but overall it was positive in what he was trying to do. Ryan (Guy) more for penetration to extend the field. We wanted to be aggressive and we saw what we were trying to do in the second half. The first half was really just not good enough, quite frankly, and I think that it exerted a lot of energy from us even to just stay in the game in the first half. The second half when we needed to have a little bit more kick and a little more bite, we didn’t have it.
I want to have a balance attack and looking at the sheet here we had five shots on goal and they had four shots on goal, and we had nine attempts on goal and they had 10. We only had one in the first half; we had eight in the second half. That’s not balanced enough just in terms of the way the game goes. I like it when guys like Diego (Fagundez) and Jerry (Bengtson) and Juan (Toja) and Kelyn (Rowe) are in the box when we go forward but right now our play is a little bit out of synch with what our runs are, and that’s where I think we just have to continue to get better every week.
On working on finishing during training…
Obviously, we practice [finishing] and practice it. I mean, it’s something that we do a lot of. Maybe we do it too much. We work on those things and you want to get yourself in a place to finish. I thought tonight we had chances to score and we didn’t and so, we go back and work harder as a staff, as a team to take care of those chances when we get them. Soccer is a tough game. You can’t design plays when the game is free flowing, but you can put yourself in a lot of those different situations. We feel we need to do that and continue to do it and hopefully, like you say, it works.
On Dallas’ goal…
I’ve got to be honest, I have to see [Dallas’ goal] on film. I was trying to get it up when I went back in [the office]. We were making a sub at the time and we were going over assignments. I’ve got to look at it, but my recollection is that Kevin (Alston) was down and then he came out which we would rather him stay off the field or stay down or whatever the scenario may be or we could of stopped the time. Maybe they took advantage of that and scored.
On his substitutions…
We brought in Kelyn (Rowe) for the fresh legs and then we started to click a little bit. It looked like we were doing some pretty good things and I knew Diego (Fagundez) was tired and he hadn’t played 90 yet, so I knew he was tired but he seemed so positive in what he was doing - a lot of what he was trying to do – so I didn’t want to take him out too soon. My thought was I knew Kevin (Alston) was struggling a little bit at half time so I didn’t want to waste, not waste, but I didn’t want to make two subs right away. I wanted to see how it played out and I thought we started to pick up the game a little bit. Even during that stance I sat with my staff and said we’ve got control of this a little bit, let’s keep it what it is because I thought if we scored we were going to make two subs right away. We were going to take Kevin (Alston) off to be a little more solid because I just thought he was starting to waver; it looked like he was hurt a little bit and then maybe bring in another midfielder or switch Jerry (Bengtson) up because it looked like Jerry was getting a little tired. I thought that during that time we didn’t make any subs, that was probably our best run of soccer, so I thought that was the best group to help us win at that time.
New England Revolution goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth
On Dallas’ goal…
It looked like [David] Ferreira just kind of cut it back and there were two guys at the back post. [Blas] Perez got up and headed it across, and to be fair, he put it in a good spot, probably the only spot I couldn’t have saved it.
General thoughts on the match…
We had a lot of pretty good chances in the second half. I thought we had the better of the run of play and they had a couple half chances. It was not a good enough effort from all of us, I think, at home. Especially in the first half. The second half was better, but everyone’s got to be better from start to finish, myself included.
What was the difference from the first half to the second half…
We just came out in the second half and were a bit livelier and got forward a bit more. I don’t know what it was in the first half, but it just didn’t seem like we were into it from the first whistle.
On getting the start…
By this point, I’m pretty much used to it. I’m not first, second year in the league anymore. I’m five years in, so it’s nothing new for me. Whenever I’m called upon I’m more than willing and ready to play. Hopefully we begin to get better results. They told me earlier in the week I was playing today.
New England Revolution forward Diego Fagundez
General thoughts on the match…
It was a tough game. We were all trying to fight for the three points. I don’t think anyone wanted to give it up and we just kept fighting and fighting. We had our chances and, of course, they just had one chance and they finish it off. We got a nice speech at halftime saying that we need to work harder and our possession was slow enough. We came out in the second half trying to get a better possession and try getting the three points.
I’m really comfortable [playing on the left wing]. I like going one on one against defenders or moving around, especially when you have a lot of good players like Juan (Toja) and Lee (Nguyen) and Ryan (Guy) and Jerry (Bengtson) up top. We can move around and get open. I was loving it [the playing time]. I got 80-something minutes and it felt like I had been playing for a while. The training’s been going well for me so once I stepped on the field it was game-on for me.
Really, I think we are all trying so hard to get three points and the goals. The keepers are just making good saves. We are trying everything we can. We’re crossing the ball. We’re trying to get into the box. Someone needs to step up and try scoring that goal and then I think once we get it, I think we’ll be all set.
Do you think you are trying too hard?
No, I don’t think we are trying too hard. Any team that is 0-0 and you want to get the victory, especially at home, you want to go for it. Either you take out a defender and you put another forward, or you do something else to try and get more attackers.
Information Provided by FC Dallas.