Drilling down on: at FC Dallas 1, Seattle 1

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Man of the Match: Mauro Rosales did a lot of great defensive work in the first half on Brek Shea, with significant help from teammate Brad Evans, as both held the Dallas winger mostly in check. Rosales also did great work in getting inside his man to stick away Steve Zakuani’s driven, centering pass. On a night when conditions were ridiculously tough, those extra little efforts made the difference.

Packaged for take-away:

  • The big pre-game talker, of course, was Steve Zakuani’s first start since last year’s terrible injury.
  • From Dallas’ side, the talk was all about a life line being tossed out of the Pacific Northwest, where Vancouver is struggling mightily, beginning the night just five points ahead of FCD for the last playoff spot.
  • By the end of a night where temperature at kickoff was 99 degrees in the shade, players on both sides struggled just to walk off the field.
  • Seattle’s 4-3-3 turned quickly into a 4-5-1, with Fredy Montero stranded by himself as a lone striker, and with a significant amount of hit-and-hope going on. That said, Montero managed to make quite a bit of trouble for Dallas’ center backs.
  • Zakuani had done very, very little along Seattle’s left side until the 21st minute, when he raced past Zach Lloyd – clearly, the speed is still there – to feed Mauro Rosales at the far post.
  • Even past Montero, Seattle did a credible job of finding spaces and creating chances, never mind that the Sounders usually had just four men in the attack, Montero, Zakuani and Rosales, all with Christian Tiffert in support.
  • George John and Montero were having a fabulous time battling it out. With both collecting first-half yellow cards for dishing out a little too much of it, you were left wondering which one would be the first to see red.
  • Dallas’ defensive organization never looks as crisp when Julian de Guzman plays as the screening midfielder rather than Daniel Hernandez. So, Hernandez’s 62nd minute introduction, which pushed de Guzman higher up the field, immediately gave Dallas a better shape on defense and better spacing coming out of the back.
  • The Sounders, who understandably began to fade at about the 60th minute, coming off a mid-week Champions League match, had something to do with Dallas’ being better over the last 30 minutes.
  • Zakuani was off in the 66th. His bright moments weren’t many, but he did have some. None more important than the first-half assist, of course. All in all, a great night for the young winger.
  • Jackson’s 69th minute miss, with only Michael Gspurning to beat could eventually cost the team from Texas. Dearly. FC Dallas’ shooting, Jackson’s in particular was awful all evening. Yes, the versatile Brazilian scored on a far-post put-away, but he blew that one and one other golden chance in the second half.
  • Seattle center backs Jeff Parke and Patrick Ianni both had good nights, which is another reason why Gspurning never really had to stretch himself, despite a second half where the home team had all the possession.
  • For every correct choice on the ball FC Dallas left back Jair Benitez makes, he manages to get about two wrong. Oh, and he’s a defensive liability, too.