we lost a lot of games -- but it was a step toward the right direction."
FC Dallas handed the Chicago Fire a rare road loss, making an early goal stand up for a 1-0 win on Sunday afternoon at Pizza Hut Park. FC Dallas now have 16 points from 13 matches, moving into third place in the Western Conference, a point behind the Houston Dynamo and four off the pace of the division-leading Los Angeles Galaxy.
FC Dallas came into the match off back-to-back losses, the first with interim boss Marco Ferruzzi in charge, while the Fire were coming off their second loss in three matches, at home to D.C. United, though they had not lost away from Toyota Park on the season.
On a broiling hot afternoon in north Texas, the home side took the lead after 17 minutes. Kenny Cooper was set free toward goal after Andre Rocha carved open the Fire defense with a through ball from his own half, and Cooper bent a shot inside the right-hand post from outside the box as goalkeeper Jon Busch flew off his line to cut down the angle.
It was Cooper's seventh goal on the season and gave FC Dallas their first victory since May 24, while the Fire went down to defeat on the road for the first time this season.
In what would be his last game in charge, interim head coach Marco Ferruzzi made three changes to the team that lost 2-1 to the New England Revolution the previous Friday. Dario Sala returned to goal in place of Ray Burse, Blake Wagner came into the team in place of Adrian Serioux (on international duty) and Arturo Alvarez came in on the left of midfield instead of Bobby Rhine.
Here's Hyndman's team (3-4-1-2): Dario Sala - Drew Moor, Duilio Davino, Blake Wagner - Andre Rocha, Pablo Ricchetti, Marcelo Saragosa (Dax McCarty 64), Arturo Alvarez (Aaron Pitchkolan 72) - Juan Toja - Kenny Cooper (Abe Thompson 91+), Dominic Oduro. Substitutes Not Used: Eric Avila, Ray Burse, Bobby Rhine, Anthony Wallace
"We're pleased with the result," Ferruzzi said. "It's been a long time coming. The team performed exceptionally today with a great work rate in difficult chances. We had a lot of chances to score and kept on plugging away."
Cooper's goal came as a result of a club season-high eight attempts at goal and four on target. The strike partnership of Cooper and Dominic Oduro combined for 15 of the Hoops' 20 shots on the day.
"They had a lot of great opportunities," Ferruzzi said. "They created them by hard work, some intelligent runs, good timing of runs and some great passes that came out of the midfield and the back line as well." Said Oduro: "We were working on staying close and creating space for ourselves," he said. "I think that really worked well for both of us. It clearly showed on the field. It was just a matter of finishing the work, which we will go back and work on."
In addition, the Hoops did a fine job in limiting the effectiveness of Chicago playmaker Cuauhtémoc Blanco. "I don't think I have ever talked that much during a game to let guys like Marcelo (Saragosa), Pablo (Ricchetti) and Andre (Rocha) know where he was," said Drew Moor. "When he's on the ball, you have to get in his face. You can't give him time to pick out his passes like he wants to do. I think we did a very good job of that today. I think we limited his opportunities and I credit the midfielders and the defense for that."
Ferruzzi pointed to the effort of Pablo Ricchetti, used more as a bolt deep in central midfield. "He (Ricchetti) helped shape the midfield from behind," Ferruzzi said. "In some ways, he a bit of a stopper for us by helping us build out of the back. Mostly, he kept guys organized in the front. I thought he did well today."
On Monday, FCD named Schellas Hyndman as the club's new head coach. Hyndman, 58, had been the head men's soccer coach at nearby Southern Methodist University since 1984. He had a 368-98-38 record leading the Mustangs and led them to the NCAA tournament in 24 of his 25 seasons there, including two trips to the NCAA College Cup.
"I've been a great fan (of this club) for all these years and don't think I have ever missed a game either on TV or in person," Hyndman said. "This team is outstanding with the talent that they have and they play the type of soccer that I believe in, which is more of a possession style and quality control style."
Hyndman has brought on former Real Salt Lake head coach John Ellinger as his chief assistant, while retaining Ferruzzi and and goalkeeping coach Drew Keeshan, and has begun the process of evaluating his squad.
"I think right now there are three roster spots open, so we'll be looking for players to fill those spots," Hyndman said. "I think this is a very good team. There are outstanding players on this team who are capable of continuing to find success like they did on Sunday in ungodly temperatures."
From the start of the season, Steve Morrow played with three in the back. Hyndman expressed the idea he could change to a back four.
"I think, watching this team closely, they may find more success in a 4-4-2," he said. "I'm a strong believer in a 4-4-2 because of the width of the field, 75 yards; you have four people covering the defense instead of three. I think they played well, but sometimes they gave up soft goals, and that could be because they don't have enough people back there."