FRISCO, Texas – For the first two weeks of the 2011 season, George John has had two different center back partners. And in Saturday night’s 2-0 loss at the hands of Chris Wondolowski and the San Jose Earthquakes, the back line was left exposed.
Head coach Schellas Hyndman put the team’s performance in simple terms.
“The game is made with two parts,” he said in the postgame press conference. “Stopping goals and scoring goals; and I don’t think we did either very well today.”
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Wondolowski scored two goals 18 minutes apart; in the fifth and 23rd minutes, and on both sequences the 2010 Golden Boot winner was given space with which to work. It marked the first time in 38 games, dating back to September 2009, that FC Dallas had given up two first-half goals.
John, who had Brek Shea as his center-back partner in the season opener against Chicago, was paired with Zach Loyd (above) on Saturday night while Shea sat out with a red-card suspension. He admitted that the center backs aren’t exactly meshing early this season for FC Dallas.
[inline_node:332179]“Playing center back has a lot to do with partnership with the guy next to you,” said John (at right).
“I played with Brek the first game and Zach this game and we didn’t have a lot of training this week because we were down in Mexico [playing Tigres UANL in a friendly]. It’ll come together, but right now, we are going through some rough patches.”
John and Loyd featured together seven times in 2010 and Ugo Ihemelu, who started 16 games at center back in 2010, is still slowly returning to action after offseason sports hernia surgery.
Both of Wondolowski’s goals came on similar FC Dallas miscues.
“On both goals, both of those defenders were too far away,” said Hyndman of John and Loyd. “Their responsibility is to stop shots, stop penetration, stop runners from running through them, and I thought that those two situations, they left them too free. We have seen them both play better than that.”
Hyndman did say that the two center backs played “alright” outside of the goals, but the FC Dallas coach continued with the theme that the game is “made up of two parts.” In 2010, FCD surrendered two goals in only nine of their 34 total games with three of those games coming in the first month of the season.
John told reporters that the first goal was due to a lack of communication with Loyd.
“I didn’t really give him a heads up and I got flat-footed trying to recover,” said John about the first goal.
The back line for FC Dallas will continue to evolve as Shea returns from his suspension and Ihemelu returns from his surgery. Hyndman sees this an opportunity for more team growth.
“It was a disappointing loss for us at home,” he said, “but at the same time, I think it’s an opportunity for us to continue to grow and develop our character.”
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