VANCOUVER, B.C. – FC Dallas' six-match unbeaten run came to a shuddering halt at BC Place on Saturday evening with a 3-0 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps.
The Western Conference leaders found Whitecaps goalkeeper David Ousted in top form, but they squandered chance after chance and could easily have been out of sight by halftime.
"Disappointed" was the word head coach Oscar Pareja used to sum up the loss. "It was one of those nights. When we wanted, we created chances. I thought the team looked good, but we were not fine in the last third. We didn't finalize it in the first half.
"It has happened to us before where we don't create as many options and we're sharp and effective. Tonight, Vancouver was very effective and I have to recognize that.”
The normally clinical Fabian Castillo and Tesho Akindele both had several chances to grab goals, but their finishing was lacking. Dallas peppered the Vancouver goal with 18 shots, nine in each half, and were heavily punished for those missed opportunities.
"We had good chances before they got into the game at all," Akindele admitted. "We could have buried them in the first 15 minutes. Missing those chances gave them confidence and they came back and took advantage of it."
Amidst his side's misses, Pareja did take time to praise the performance of Ousted, who produced a number of highlight-reel saves to thwart the Dallas attack.
"He had a couple of saves that I've not seen in a long time," Pareja admitted. "He did a great job, their goalkeeper. I thought he had a tremendous night. You have to accept that the goalkeeper is part of the team and when he's that sharp, like tonight, it was that way and we didn't take it. He had an excellent night."
Dallas still sit atop the MLS standings despite the loss. But with the game in Vancouver marking the start of a tough three-game road swing, Pareja knows his team need to be much better in front of goal to keep their place there.
But with the way his side have started the season, he has no concerns that his team has the character to bounce back very quickly.
"This group has done it and it has been recognized and people have seen it," Pareja said. "This is a team that has a lot of character. I don't doubt that. We have a group of players that will bounce back. We have proved that.
"What we're looking for, for the next game, is just to get points. It's not an easy journey in the league. You see how competitive it is in this league, especially the [intra-]conference games. Today we go with empty pockets. Next week, we prepare to go to New York and try to get points there."