Daniel Hernandez scored from the spot just before halftime to hand FC Dallas the only goal on the match in a 1-0 win over TFC.A penalty just before the break gave Dallas the only goal it would need to top Toronto FC at Pizza Hut Park on Wednesday night.
FC Dallas entered the match still missing long term casualty David Ferreira and running with Fabian Castillio up top, with Brek Shea, Marvin Chavez and Eric Alexander providing support out of the midfield.
Toronto came out with Alen Stevanovic, Nick Soolsma and Joao Plata spearheading the attack, looking to break down an F.C. Dallas squad which has seemingly found its defensive form in recent weeks.
The match got off to a fairly routine start with both sides looking to find their footing on slick night. Toronto created the better of the early chances with a couple of long strikes testing both Kevin Hartman and the pace of the surface, but the the Dallas 'keeper was up to the task.
Dallas finally made some inroads in the 14th minute with Chavez bursting down the right an whipping in a cross. Richard Eckersley was on hand to knock the ball behind as Shea crashed in late, effectively clearing the danger.
Dallas slowly took some hold on the match but the chances were few and far between for both sides, despite a rash of corners for FCD around he 20 minute mark.
Plata did well to find some space in the 24th, drifting nimbly around George John, but his shot lacked both the power and direction needed to test Hartman.
Jacobson had a half chance for Dallas a few minutes later as Daniel Hernandez sent a nice set piece into the back post, but the midfielder couldn't put his head squarely on the ball and sent it wide of the mark.
Still, no real threat had been posed to either goal and despite some positive play through the middle for both teams, the defenses were clearly getting the better of play.
Dallas finally had a real chance just after the half hour mark via a slip from TFC. Shea's ball in from the left should have been easily dealt with, but as Danleigh Borman came in to clear the danger he lost his footing and nearly sent the ball into his own net.
Stefan Frei was called into action for the first time moments later with Chavez sending in a dangerous ball that required action. Moments later it was Shea sending one in from the left that Alexander should have done better with, but Frei was calm and in control on both occasions.
Toronto seemed to be working back into the match as the half came to a close, but the positive work from the visitors came undone on the stroke of 45 minutes. Another good ball in from Hernandez seemed to drift over the line harmlessly, but to TFC's dismay Yader Reyes pointed to the spot as George John was dragged to the ground while the ball was in the air.
Replays showed a good that there was contact and Hernandez put the penalty away calmly, but it was a tough break on Toronto after holding firm for the majority of the first half.
Toronto started brightly in the second half earning a series of corners within the opening five minutes. The visitors actually started the second half much as they had the first, holding the ball and probing for a way through a compact Dallas defense.
Dallas seemed content to sit back and absorb the pressure, trying to spring forward on the break.
With the onus on TFC to find goals Toronto made a couple of changes, bringing on Javier Martina to replace Plata in the 50th and Maicon Santos to replace the ineffective Soolsma eight minutes later. Dallas answered by bringing on Ruben Luna to replace Castillo up top.
The introductions made little immediate difference as the match was still largely played in the middle of the pitch, though Dallas was slowly taking more of the ball from Toronto as the half moved closer to the 70 minute mark.
Chavez's inability to pick out a pass in the 69th after being set free down the right by Jackson Concalves killed off the best break of the half for either side and the winger pounded the ball into a defender rather than pulling it back across the area.
Mikael Yourassowsky was introduced as Toronto's final throw of the dice on 72 minutes, moments before Chavez had another great chance in the as he smashed a shot on goal after a lofted ball set him in behind TFC's defense, but Frei was well-positioned to deal with the threat.
In the 75th the referee was once again forced to make a big call as Martina raced into Dallas' box and went down. Replays once again showed that Reyes was spot on, but the rather than handing out another penalty he passed Martina a card for diving.
Alexander was brought off in the 79th with Bruno Guarda coming in to help salt away the win for the home side.
Hernandez found Jacobson with another long set piece in the 82nd. The big midfielder tried to force his header back across goal, but Toronto once again cleared its lines and kept from falling even further behind.
TFC just couldn't find a way back into the match as things drew to a close. Dallas' defense was well organized and dealt well with the bits of pressure Toronto managed to mount.
The 1-0 scoreline let Kevin Hartman post the 96th clean sheet of his distinguished career and Dallas earned its fourth win of the season, moving the Hoops to 14 points from 9 matches. Toronto's loss leaves it on 10 points from 10.
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