Chris Seitz makes four saves to improve to 3-0-0 with three shutouts in all competitions
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (Tuesday, May 28) – FC Dallas survived a hard challenge from the NASL’s Fort Lauderdale Strikers, coming away from Florida with a 2-0 win in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup third round Tuesday night at Lockhart Stadium.
Second-half goals from Blas Perez and Matt Hedges sealed the win for FC Dallas, its first Open Cup road victory since 2007. FC Dallas will host the winner of tomorrow’s third round match between the Houston Dynamo and USL Premier Development League side, FC Tuscon, on Wednesday, June 12, at FC Dallas Stadium.
The match began with FC Dallas nearly going down a goal in just the second minute. The play began with a long ball played over the top of the Dallas back line and won by Fort Lauderdale winger Darnell King on the right flank. After collecting the pass, King lobbed a cross into the area for Walter Restrepo. The forward looked to be marked by FC Dallas center back George John, but the team captain slipped on the turf, opening the door for Restrepo to win the ball and walk in alone versus goalkeeper Chris Seitz. Yet to be scored on in two MLS starts this season, a confident Seitz charged off his line to cut down Restrepo’s angle and block the forward’s low shot with his right knee.
Dallas countered with a chance created by Fabian Castillo on the left sideline in the 10th minute. The Colombian beat his man to the inside, but was forced to watch his shot to the back post skip off the top of crossbar and out of play.
Fort Lauderdale fired back immediately, once again beating the offside trap in the 11th minute. For the second time, Restrepo was in alone against Seitz, this time opting to try and chip a shot over the goalkeeper. The attempt nearly worked as the shot nicked the bottom of the crossbar before being recovered by Seitz.
Making his second start of the season, Walker Zimmerman was forced to retire due to injury in the 41st minute. Second-year center back, Matt Hedges came on for Zimmerman and almost immediately was shown a yellow card when he stuck a foot in to deny Fort Lauderdale of a breakaway chance just before halftime.
The Strikers’ Carlos Salazar stepped to the kick from 24 yards out, launching a perfectly placed shot around the wall towards the right post but Seitz was there to make a spectacular diving save to preserve the 0-0 deadlock heading into halftime.
FC Dallas collected itself during halftime and needed just nine minutes to find the back of the net in the second half. The play started in the middle of the field, where Bobby Warshaw played a through ball to Je-Vaughn Watson on the right flank. The Jamaican international crossed a ball into the area for Perez, but the pass was too high for the Panamanian. Fortunately for Dallas, Castillo was able to track down the ball before it crossed the end line and knock a simple pass back to Perez, who was able to sneak a shot under the legs of the 6-5 goalkeeper Matt Glaeser to give Dallas the 1-0 lead.
Dallas netted a second goal in the 66th minute on a free kick from midfield served in by Michel. Hedges was the man to get on the end of the pass. He beat his marker and flicked a header past Glaeser and into the back of the net to give Dallas the 2-0 lead.
Seitz continued to excel throughout, making four saves on the night to post his third consecutive clean sheet for FC Dallas in all competitions. Seitz’s best save of the evening was his last, which came in the 90th minute, when Restrepo came open at the top right corner of the penalty area. Catching the ball on the volley, Restrepo hit a dipping shot at the far post only to watch Seitz dive to his right side and push it inches wide of the bar.
FC Dallas – Chris Seitz, Jair Benitez, Walker Zimmerman (Matt Hedges 41), George John, London Woodberry, Fabian Castillo, Bobby Warshaw (Ramon Nunez 85), Michel, Eric Hassli (David Ferreira 73), Blas Perez.
Substitutes Not Used: Kyle Zobeck, Zach Loyd, Stephen Keel, Bradlee Baladez.
Fort Lauderdale Strikers – Matt Glaeser, Shavar Thomas, Toni Stahl (Jemal Johnson 60), Stephane Guillaume, Ivan Guerrero (Daniel Arcila 74), Scott Gordon, Carlos Salazar, Walter Restrepo, Wellington Paeckart (Aly Hassan 81), Darnell King, Manny Gonzalez.
Substitutes Not Used: Hosman Ramos, Rubens Pinheiro Filho, Justin Chavez, Lionel Brown.
FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman
General thoughts on the game…
We talked about coming out here and how this is a great opportunity for the Strikers to show their measuring stick against MLS players and an MLS team. Right now we’re in the fortunate position to be first in MLS so it’s a great opportunity and it’s also an opportunity to be seen by an MLS coach.
If someone comes out here and stands out, killing us in the midfield, why wouldn’t I think about bringing him? So I think it puts people under pressure. This is a very important competition for us because Lamar Hunt’s name is on the trophy. This is very important to us and our owners.
On the play of Fort Lauderdale in the first half…
They did take it to us in the first half. A lot of that was enthusiasm and trying to set the initiative and as the game was going on they were building confidence. We settled things down at halftime and talked about some of the things they were doing. They outnumbered us in the center of the field. We weren’t quick enough to put pressure on the ball. When we started doing that better it made it easier and they weren’t able to serve the ball as well as they wanted to.
On the first goal…
It was one of the few crosses that we made. We don’t normally play in a 4-4-2…and you can kind of see where we are without David Ferreira because we ran out of ideas trying to find someone. It became predictable for the Strikers. Getting that first goal always takes the pressure off. We even started playing better after that.
FC Dallas defender George John
General thoughts on the match…
Fort Lauderdale is a strong side. Anytime in this tournament that you come onto an opposing team’s field, it’s tough to get a victory. They came out with a lot of energy and had a couple of great opportunities, but luckily, we were able to come into halftime with a clean sheet and regroup. We got two goals and were able to come away with the victory to move on to the next round.