Shutout streak rolls on for stingy FCD back line
FRISCO, Texas — In a game mired by a 112-minute rain delay, the FC Dallas defense managed to add to its shutout streak in Sunday’s scoreless draw with Real Salt Lake.
Head coach Schellas Hyndman admitted it wasn’t an easy game for either team, the rain delay aside.
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“I thought it was a little bit of a difficult game for both teams,” Hyndman told the media after the game. “Both teams had very few chances. It seemed that the ball wasn’t really bouncing right for either team, but I thought the second half we came out and played much better and created some problems.”
FC Dallas extended their current shutout streak to 399 minutes, the second-longest in MLS in 2011 behind the Columbus Crew, who held a 414-minute streak earlier in the campaign.
“I think it’s been great,” Hyndman sad. “I mentioned that to the players afterwards. I think the team is playing good defense.”
The streak began after LA Galaxy’s Landon Donovan 51st-minute goal on May 1 and has continued through opponents D.C. United, Toronto, Philadelphia and Real Salt Lake.
Center backs George John and Ugo Ihemelu have anchored the defensive line since returning from preseason injuries and stalled opponents from the air and ground.
Ihemelu cited a comfort level with his defensive partners.
“I think we are feeling really comfortable with each other,” Ihemelu said. “I think now we are on the same page and working well with each other and that leads to success. I think we trust each other.”
Also, even with left back Jair Benitez currently sidelined with a knee injury, the outside backs Jackson Gonçalves and Zach Loyd have filled in admirably.
FCD captain Daniel Hernandez, the defensive central midfielder, knows how valuable their presence is behind him.
“The important thing is defensively we are doing a great job,” said Hernandez. “A lot of shutouts the past couple of games and we still have a lot of things to go.”
If the defense continues it play of late, it will break a franchise record set during the 2010 campaign where the team held opponents scoreless for 415 minutes.