FRISCO, Texas—Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Columbus Crew SC prompted some bittersweet feelings for FC Dallas.
FCD salvaged a point without its best playmaker, Mauro Diaz, who was a late scratch due to leg tightness. But they failed to pick up a win at Toyota Stadium for the first time since August 15 of last year, snapping a seven-game home winning streak. A win would have tied the franchise record for consecutive home wins.
“We want to win at home, and that’s always our mentality,” said goalkeeper Chris Seitz. “For us, we left some points out there. But at the same time, we understand how good a team Columbus is. Anytime you can grind out points in games is good. One point is a lot better than zero.”
Seitz put in a man-of-the-match-worthy performance in net, and was perhaps the biggest reason Dallas was able to squeak out of its own gates with a point. Columbus kept their foot on the gas after taking the lead in the ninth minute, playing more aggressively than FC Dallas.
Seitz, who started last week’s win at D.C. while regular No. 1 Jesse Gonzalez was away on international duty and remained in net on Saturday night, didn’t shy away from the challenge. The veteran ‘keeper finished the night with five saves, including a couple of excellent stops on point-blank efforts from Crew SC.
“They tested us tonight,” Seitz said. “We always have a bend but don’t break mentality, and we kind of did that. We were a little fortunate on our goal, but hey, we were pressing all night.”
Head coach Oscar Pareja said after the match Seitz earned the start because of his work during training throughout the week, insisting there is still a weekly competition with the 20-year-old Gonzalez.
The insertion of Seitz wasn’t the only lineup change Pareja made. With Diaz out, Pareja moved Kellyn Acosta higher up to assume more of an attacking role in a 4-4-2 formation. He said his goal was to get somebody further up that could win the ball back when Columbus had possession.
“Kellyn played an excellent role there – not being a playmaker, but being a five [or] eight that could give me range and aggressiveness there when Columbus tried to build from the back,” Pareja said. “I enjoyed it a lot.”
The other key switch was the insertion of super-sub Tesho Akindele. Following a stint with Canada in World Cup qualifiers last week, it was Akindele who equalized by cleaning up a Maxi Urruti shot that slammed off the right post in the 77th minute.
Whether it was Akindele’s goal, Seitz’s standout performance in net, or one of Pareja’s two subs that made the difference, the man pulling the strings praised his team’s ability to fight for a result on Saturday.
“It’s great to have players that come to the game with that willingness,” Pareja said. “That’s the key to this group.”