Everything was going as well as it has all season for FC Dallas on Saturday night against the Seattle Sounders. Unbeaten on the year, Dallas led 2-1 at halftime, scoring on a fortuitous bounce and a penalty kick.
The momentum did not last long in the second half, as Clint Dempsey led Seattle to a come-from-behind 3-2 win. In a match that featured 38 fouls (19 by each team) and eight yellow cards, including six in the first half, Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja admitted his club could not find a rhythm in the second half.
“In the second half, Seattle did a good job of putting us on our heels,” Pareja said. “I thought the game was cut with fouls, and that makes it more difficult for us to get freedom on the ball.”
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For all Seattle’s possession in the second half, the difference-maker was the US national-team captain. Dempsey scored two entertaining goals on the night and helped cause an own goal as well.
“He created all three goals,” FC Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz said. “You have to give him credit; he played a good game last week, and we knew he would come in hot. His free kick was a good one. The second one was unlucky for Stephen [Keel]. And the third one he ran at us and really dictated the goal.”
Dempsey led a Seattle attack that put Dallas on their heels throughout the second half; the Sounders wound up outshooting FC Dallas 11-5 in the second half.
“We have a very strong group but I could have helped them more in the second half,” Pareja said. “We tried a couple of options off the bench. But really it comes down to me; I didn’t play as well as they did.”
The loss was the first of the season for FC Dallas and their first home loss in their fourth match at Toyota Stadium. They will have an immediate chance to atone in front of the home fans, hosting Toronto FC next weekend, and Pareja said he is encouraged by his team’s drive to play well and not dwell on a single result.
“The boys aren’t happy about this one,” said Pareja. “But this group was upset in the locker room when they beat Montreal [on March 8]. That is the mentality that we have right now.”