Youthful defense heartened by rare clean sheet for FCD
FRISCO, Texas – Certainly the biggest bright spot for FC Dallas in Saturday’s scoreless draw with Chivas USA was their first defensive shutout in 11 games, a stretch that dated back to April 5. The clean sheet is even more impressive when you consider the defensive backline was barely old enough to buy a beer.
HIGHLIGHTS: FC Dallas vs. Chivas USA
Missing three of their first-choice defensive players, FCD fielded a back four with an average age just a shade younger than 23 years old, the second-youngest defensive unit in the league last weekend behind only Toronto FC.
“We were happy to get a shutout,” rookie defender Matt Hedges said after Saturday’s game. “We haven’t had one of those in a really long time. I thought we played well for long stretches of the game and should’ve gotten more than a draw … they didn’t really have that many good chances. They had one in the first half, but besides that, not much.”
That one first-half chance from Juan Agudelo truly was all the Chivas USA offense could muster. Second-half defense has been a bugaboo for FC Dallas all season with 21 goals allowed, but on Saturday night, the visitors registered just one shot on goal.
“I felt that they were a little exhausted going into the game having already played two games [last week],” said Zach Loyd, the elder statesman of Saturday’s backline at 24. “I just tried to take advantage of that making runs off Jackson and [Fabián] Castillo. Again, it’s still kind of frustrating that we got the tie.”
One of the main reasons for the shutout was simply playing the same center back combination of Matt Hedges and Hernán Pertúz (pictured above) for the second game in a row, something of a luxury for a team decimated by injuries and suspensions this season.
“It was good getting to play another 90 minutes alongside Hernán,” Hedges said. “We’re starting to pick up each other’s tendencies and what we’re doing on the field. I think it’s really helping.”