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Injuries, suspensions finally take toll as FC Dallas youngsters struggle to find breakthrough

FRISCO, Texas – For a team that has overcome so much, FC Dallas and their young crop of talented players could not find the necessary resolve to grab a result against the Chicago Fire on Saturday in a hard-fought match at Toyota Park.

Missing key veterans due to injury and suspensions, head coach Oscar Pareja leaned heavily on a number of younger players who have regularly made a difference for the club this season. But they were unable to make the key plays this time, forcing FC Dallas to leave Chicago with a 1-0 defeat.

“We couldn’t find the net today,” said FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja. “That’s part of the game.”

Dallas were without a bevy of veteran options for this one. Midfield maestro Mauro Diaz is still nursing an injury, holding midfielder Adam Moffat also missed out because of a knock, and proven international forward Blas Perez and free kick specialist Michel were serving suspensions, leaving Pareja to have to once again turn to several youngsters who struggled to create many quality scoring chances.

Players like Kellyn Acosta, Ryan Hollingshead, as well as regular starters Fabian Castillo and Rookie of the Year candidate Tesho Akindele all had to carry the offensive burden, but they were not capable of beating the Fire's backline despite putting the pressure on the Fire at various points in the match.

“It has been a challenge during the season,” Pareja said of dealing with so many injuries and suspensions before trying to focus on the positive. “I was delighted to see the young players on the field. It looks bright the future for this club. That will pay off in the future.”

Instead, it was the Fire who finally found a way past goalkeeper Raul Fernandez, who had been doing yeoman’s work to keep Dallas in the match before Robert Earnshaw scored the decisive header in the 83rd minute.

“We did not concentrate enough late and we gave up a goal there,” Pareja said.

The loss is the first for FC Dallas in 10 games, and it, combined with other results from around the league, drops the club into fourth place in the Western Conference. Still, the club has a game in hand against Real Salt Lake, who they face next weekend.

The defeat is also the third in a row for FC Dallas in the longstanding Brimstone Cup derby, which was started by the supporters groups of both teams to commemorate the rivalry born from games played in the late 1990s. Prior to 2012, Dallas had either won the trophy outright or retained it for a 10-year period. This three-game stretch is the longest streak the Fire have had with the trophy.