They botched two breakaways in the second half. Jackson saw red for a wild, unnecessary swing of the arm. And yet FC Dallas had bigger problems on Saturday night in Vancouver.
In fact, according to head coach Schellas Hyndman, neither wastefulness in the attacking third nor a lack of impulse control was to blame for his team blowing a 2-0 lead and settling for a point at BC Place.
Rather, the turning point came when the injury bug bit twice, forcing midfielder Andrew Jacobson and center back George John off the field, with the ensuing absences giving the 'Caps the space they needed.
“George’s injury and Andrew Jacobson’s injury were both right there in the center of the field where they were trying to play. Both of those injuries were key,” Hyndman said. “I think [John’s] with Mattocks, he was just going for the ball and he was physical, but it was like that the whole game. I don’t think there was any intent.
“But with A.J.’s, he got kicked from behind, so it’s no different than what Jackson got from the same player ['Caps midfielder Gershon Koffie] that got him a yellow card.”
Vancouver came into Saturday night’s match, the second of back-to-back matches against FC Dallas, as the team with the least fouls committed in MLS (62), averaging a smidge more than 10 per match. But Martin Rennie’s team has averaged 14 in the two matches against Dallas, signaling a possible change in philosophy.
“That should tell you something about the way the game is going to go if you get a yellow card in the first minute-and-30 seconds,” Hyndman said.
In the locker room, captain David Ferreira told the team that they “showed great character,” according to Hyndman. He also thought this match, during which plenty went wrong, can actually be an important learning experience for his players.
“I give a lot of credit to our guys for fighting through difficult circumstances [with] two key players injured from the physical play and neither of them were called for fouls,” Hyndman said. “And then being down a man. So I think it was a great effort from our players even though you hate to be up 2-0 and walk away with a point.”
FC Dallas now have a 10-day layoff before their next match against the Portland Timbers on May 8 at FC Dallas Stadium.
That suits Hyndman just fine: “If we had to sit down and say, ‘Hey, when do you want your break?’ Then you say, ‘You’re going to have a couple of injuries, you’re going to card a player, so when would you like it?’ I’d like it right now.”