FRISCO, Texas — FC Dallas entered their first match without David Ferreira with just one objective in mind: Find some way to grind out a result against LA.
It took a late moment of magic—or luck—from Brek Shea to separate the sides on a rainswept night in north Texas, but regardless, FCD achieved their objective. They got not only a result. They got a win, against the Western Conference leaders.
“It was big,” FCD midfielder Daniel Hernandez told MLSsoccer.com after the match. “It was one of those games where we just had to dig deep. It was the first game without our MVP. Guys had to step up. We didn't know what kind of performance we'd be able to give, but the most important thing was that we had to figure out a way to win.”
Constructing a path to victory took a bit of imagination on a particularly odd night. FCD planned all week for playing without Ferreira after he broke his right ankle in the 2-1 win at Vancouver last Saturday, but no one could have anticipated the deluge and lightning storm that interrupted the match for one hour and six minutes during the second half.
“I think we dealt with a few adversities today,” FCD coach Schellas Hyndman said. “The first one, obviously, is playing without David Ferreira. The second one was dealing with the weather conditions. The third was the delay of the game. Our players responded quite well to all of those.”
Hyndman praised his players for their first-half performance, in particular, but all three goals occurred after the halftime interval.
Fabian Castillo notched his first MLS goal just two minutes after play resumed. Hyndman said his side pinpointed quick restarts as one of the keys to exploiting the Galaxy and an alert throw-in provided the foundation for the goal. Andrew Jacobson headed Jackson's throw-in on to Castillo, who curled his effort over Donovan Ricketts to break the deadlock and set off a celebration that included holding up Ferreira's number 10 jersey in honorific.
“It was a great goal,” Hyndman said. “It put us in a position to feel that things were going better.”
Landon Donovan interrupted those positive feelings in the 52nd minute by turning home Juninho's service at the far post to level the proceedings.
With eight minutes to play, referee Alex Prus paused the match because of lightning. Just over an hour later, the two sides returned to action, and FCD rewarded the hearty fans who waited out the delay in the 88th minute.
Shea conjured up a winner from nothing, carving out some space on the left flank and floating a ball toward the back post. He seemed to be crossing, but the ball drifted over Donovan Ricketts and into the far side netting.
“I looked up and I didn't see anybody in the box,” Shea said. “I just floated it in there and it went in. We got the three points.”
Hernandez lacked Shea's conviction on the intention of the cross-cum-shot, but he noted that the final outcome mattered far more than the original idea.
“He's been practicing those shots all week,” Hernandez deadpanned. “He's been practicing the crossing drills. It was a great goal, regardless of whether it was a cross or a shot, it was a great goal. These are the games where you just have to dig deep and find ways to win.”
FCD’s second consecutive win could prove vital as the club attempts to find its footing with Ferreira on the sidelines, according to Hyndman.
“It's huge,” Hyndman said. “We're playing a very good team. They're leading the league, they're a well coached team and a very talented group of players. For us to go in with the adversities that I mentioned earlier and come away with three points, I think it's huge. It will continue to build the confidence of our players. It feels really good.”