FC Dallas dispatched the visiting New England Revolution by a single goal to keep in touch with the Western Conference heavyweights.With consecutive losses to Sporting Kanas City and D.C. United, FC Dallas was glad to return to the friendly confines of Frisco. After giving up a late goal to KC, then being dismantled in Washington, Dallas switched things up, deploying a two forward formation with Fabian Castillo, who returned from injury, alongside Blas Perez.
The 4-4-2 stretched New England’s backline, with Castillo, returning for the first time since last month's season opener, routinely making his way into the Revolution penalty area. Even though he was unable to capitalize, the Colombian's energy was a welcome sight.
“I don’t quite feel 100 percent yet, but I am working very hard towards that,” said Castillo. “I was trying to create a lot of opportunities tonight. Even though the goals were not going in, I was still working hard, and in the end we were able to get the win.”
That win, courtesy of a header by captain Ugo Ihemelu in the final seconds of stoppage time, almost didn't happen, as the defender struggled with cramps throughout the second half.
“We almost pulled Ugo out,” FC Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman explained. “He was cramping, and he and I had a discussion about pulling him out. He felt unsure about being able to get the cramps out of his leg. But he stayed in there, and wanted to play until the end. What a great example for a captain.”
Another defensive injury alarmed the crowd, as George John went down holding his head and had to be replaced by rookie Matt Hedges. But even with Hedges making his debut, coach Hyndman had confidence in the rookie.
“I'm not really complaining with George picking up the injury since we have Matt back there,” Hyndman said. “We will have to wait and see how long George is out. But Matt showed a lot of composure, and he really reminds me of George in his first year.
“We are going to evaluate George and see how he is. With all the studies on concussions, you always want to favor the protection of the player. I felt like we did everything right, and he will be evaluated by the experts.”
John will have over a week to be evaluated and return to training, as the team doesn't play until next Saturday, when it will welcome the Montreal Impact for the very first time.
That break will not only be good for John, but for other players as well, as Ricardo Villar and Daniel Hernandez are also nursing injuries.
Until then, Hyndman will be satisfied with the win, after falling behind the Western Conference pace-setters in the opening weeks. And with dates against fellow conference teams in Vancouver, Real Salt Lake, and Los Angeles coming up, the win keeps Dallas (seven points in five games) in touching distance.
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