FRISCO -- Exactly three weeks after a 2-0 win over San Jose at Pizza Hut Park, FC Dallas returned to MLS action on Saturday night at the Home Depot Center against Chivas USA.
WATCH: FULL MATCH HIGHLIGHTS
Clearly the better side in the opening half of play, FCD capitalized off their many set piece opportunities when, right before the break, Chivas USA defender Ante Jazic accidentally knocked a David Ferreira corner kick into the back of his own keeper’s net to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
One had to figure if FCD were going to show any rust or a lack of focus, then those issues would rear their head early in the match. However, after a rock-solid performance in the opening 45 minutes, Schellas Hyndman’s side clearly took a step back to begin the second half.
Despite being down by a goal, it was the Red-and-White who had the better run of play coming out of the locker room and, in the 59th minute, the home side drew things level with a nice goal from Osael Romero after a good cross from Mariano Trujillo.
So, once again, it looked like FCD were about to leave points on the table, something they have done fairly often in their first 11 games of 2010. However, Marvin Chavez, who got his first start of 2010 at right mid with Atiba Harris moving up top to replace Jeff Cunningham, did a great job of drawing a penalty kick after Jazic brought him down inside the right edge of the box.
Ferreira stepped up and drove home the resulting penalty kick, giving FCD a 2-1 lead. But still there was just that feeling that this one was far from over. To their credit, the Dallas back line weathered the storm and came away with a big three points on the road, FCD’s first win at the HDC against Chivas USA since 2008.
The lineup changes made by Hyndman clearly paid off. Harris was pretty active up top in the first half and had a couple of nice chances of scoring against one of his former teams. Chávez was also a big factor on the offensive end and he, too, had a near miss in the opening frame on a shot in the eighth minute that went wide right.
With Cunningham struggling to score and the debut of Colombian forward Milton Rodriguez still a few weeks away, putting Harris up top looks to be a viable option—at least for the time being. The big question with Chávez was his fitness, but the speedy Honduran lasted 70 minutes with no issue before coming off for Eric Avila.
The Chávez/Harris experiment worked out pretty well tonight. Also, Brek Shea, who had two goals in the win over the Earthquakes three weeks ago, was also pretty active on the offensive end. The midfielder had several great chances and delivered another solid performance.
Also worth noting was another solid game between the posts for starting goalkeeper Kevin Hartman. The veteran keeper came up with several big saves and, while there was some question about whether or not he was out of position on the goal by Romero, Hartman continues to play well and show why he remains the top choice in goal for his club.
FCD now return home to host Kansas City next Saturday. If the Chavez/Harris partnership is one that will continue to develop, then this pairing could help alleviate FCD’s scoring struggle that has plagued the team in the early stages of this season.
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