FRISCO, Texas (Saturday, April 19) – FC Dallas (5-1-1, 16 points) maintained its position on top of the MLS standings with a come-from-behind, 2-1, victory over Toronto FC (3-3-0, 9 points) in front of 17,406 fans at Toyota Stadium tonight.
FC Dallas had the majority of the chances in the opening 20 minutes of the match. The home side earned six corner kicks by that point, but was unable to create any solid scoring chances.
Toronto FC converted one of its first early chances in the 21st minute to go ahead 1-0. The goal was set up by Jackson, who played Issey Nakajima-Farran the ball on the wide side of the 18-yard box. Nakajima-Farran took a hard shot that was punched away by FC Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz. Unfortunately for Dallas, the rebound went directly back to the feet of Nakajima-Farran. The Canadian midfielder’s second shot was headed towards goal but took a slight deflection off FC Dallas midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson and ended up in the back of the net.
FC Dallas was denied an equalizer in the 24th minute by Toronto FC goalkeeper Julio Cesar. Free kick specialist Michel approached a dead ball that was laying 40 yards from goal and struck a bending left-footed blast that appeared destined for the back of the net. Cesar stood his ground and pushed the ball over the crossbar to give FC Dallas its seventh corner kick of the half.
FC Dallas made it 1-1 in the 37th minute via its eighth corner kick of the half. Michel swerved another left-footed gem to the top corner of the six-yard box. FC Dallas captain Matt Hedges was there to win the header, sending his second goal of the season past Cesar and into the far side netting.
FC Dallas should have scored on its ninth corner kick of the half when Mauro Diaz lobbed a cross to the back post in the 41st minute. David Texeira was there to redirect a snap header on goal but once again Cesar made an outstanding save to preserve the tie.
FC Dallas earned its franchise-record 16th corner kick in the 84th minute but it was a free kick from midfield that gave the team a 2-1 lead in the 88th minute. Once again, the goal began with the left foot of Michel. The Brazilian lobbed a ball into the area and center back Stephen Keel went up and won the initial header. Hedges tracked the ball in the air and won a second header near the left post, sending a loose ball into the six-yard box. Second half substitute Blas Perez was there to clean up. The Panamanian got just enough on a half-volley attempt to push it off the right foot of Cesar and into the net for the win.
Former FC Dallas forward Andrew Wiedeman nearly pulled Toronto FC level with a header in stoppage-time but the chance missed the crossbar by inches.
FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja
General thoughts on the match…
I want to start with this because the players talked about it as soon as they got back to the locker room, and that’s the great job the front office is doing with the fans, and the incredible job the fans are doing with this franchise right now. They help us a lot. I will say that they were pushing (us) all the time and that was great. We felt that energy in the second half when we needed it. Regarding the game, the second half was very good, very well played by us. We were not as flashy, maybe, but we looked more mature. We had very good possession, very good control of the game. We really played against a very good team. (Give) credit to this group of players. They are doing an incredible job, and we’re proud. They (the fans) are playing with us. They’re our number 12. I have been here for many years and this is the time I feel (the fans’ presence) the most. This is a credit for them, really, because this is their team. This is their atmosphere. If we continue with this and them pushing that hard, I don’t have any doubt that a lot of good things are going to happen here.
FC Dallas forward Blas Perez
On returning to the lineup…
I am very happy to get back out there on the pitch after being injured the past few weeks. I am happy we got the win tonight. It makes it even better that I was able to score the winning goal, but I’m just here to help the team. Thank God I was able to get out there and find the back of the net tonight.
Toronto FC head coach Ryan Nelsen?
On the result of the game…
Well I feel really bad for the guys because I thought it was a really solid away performance. We just got really undone by two set pieces. The first was a fantastic delivery. It was very hard to defend and you take your hat off to a delivery like that. The second one’s the most disappointing, I think. It wasn’t a very good ball; It was a scrappy, nothing-really, kind of goal which is really frustrating because — even though we had position and we created much you look down and (see) the set pieces, that was the frustrating thing about conceding that second goal and I feel really bad for the guys.
Toronto FC Midfielder Michael Bradley?
On tonight’s result…
We have to be honest with ourselves tonight and just say we weren’t good enough. Obviously it’s a good team. It’s a difficult place to play. We just didn’t have enough about us, weren’t really able to go after them. We were never able to really go for it. Obviously, we were able to get a goal and go up 1-0. Give away a goal before halftime and a set piece in the second half, a few half chances for us, but for the most part they’re pushing and pushing, and obviously disappointing to concede a late goal, but you certainly hope that now as the season goes on that we are able to have the maturity and come away with a point on these kind of days, but still it doesn’t change the main point which is that we weren’t good enough.
On conceding 16 corner kicks……
It’s no secret they’re good at set pieces. They have guys who serve the ball well. Guys who make good runs, attack the ball well. Again, to win games against good teams you have to go for it. You have to have a mentality that says you’re not afraid to make mistakes, you’re not afraid to play, you’re not afraid to really get after them, and we fell short in those areas tonight.