FRISCO, Texas — Saturday’s 1-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders left FC Dallas with one point to show for their past three league games. It is their first such streak since beginning the campaign 0-2-1.
The close defeat also marked the second consecutive game they lost a player to a second yellow card in the second half — newcomer Daniel Cruz earned a second caution for diving in front of the Sounders 18-yard box.
It was his Pizza Hut Park debut, and the Colombian was visibly upset after the game, remaining at his locker in uniform while teammates exited the stadium.
“I feel very bad because it’s my error and I’m new here,” he told reporters. “I feel bad for what happened tonight and that we lost 1-0.”
FC Dallas pushed hard for the equalizer as stoppage time approached, but goalkeeper Kasey Keller and the staunch Sounders defense kept the home side at bay.
“You go 36 minutes against that team like that with a man down — it’s not easy,” head coach Schellas Hyndman said about the ejection.
For FCD, a team that likes to catch opponents on the counter attack with numbers, the constant restarts that resulted from frequent foul calls came as an unwelcome development.
“It was going both ways,” Hyndman said. “It was a lot of tactical fouls to stop play and I thought the referee was trying to keep control of it and getting out the cards, and then the cards started disappearing, then it came back, but it was hard for both teams to get into any kind of rhythm.”
Referee David Gantar whistled a total of 40 fouls and eight yellow cards.
“It’s hard to build a rhythm with that happening,” said defender Ugo Ihemelu. “It benefits them definitely because they are on the road. It slows it down a little bit for them just to get back, get in their shape.”
Regardless of what the score line read at the end of the game, Hyndman saw it as a close battle.
“I don’t know if they’re better than us, I just know that we ran out of time,” he added
Ihemelu takes the blame
FC Dallas limited Seattle to only two shots on goal, but that was more than the Sounders needed.
In the 16th minute, Ihemelu took his eye off a bouncing ball in FC Dallas’ half of the field and forward Fredy Montero made him pay by sending a threading ball to Mauro Rosales, who had no trouble lasering a blast from 18-yards past goalkeeper Kevin Hartman.
Ihemelu took the onus on the rare gaffe.
“It was an individual mistake on my part so I take full responsibility for it,” he said. “We just have to pick it up and get ready for the next game. It was early in the game and I think that might have been my first touch of the game so I should have been turned on before it got to that point.”
Robert Casner covers FC Dallas for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached on Twitter: @robertmcasner