FRISCO, Texas – Never one to pull a punch, FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman called his side’s 1-0 win over Chivas USA on Saturday night at Pizza Hut Park an ugly win. But the FCD boss isn’t about to give the points back.
“It wasn’t one of our better games but it’s still three points,” Hyndman said in his postgame remarks. “It was a very difficult game for both teams.”
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Until Brek Shea’s fifth goal of the season in the 71st minute, it looked like this one might finish in a scoreless draw. Both teams were clearly affected by the heat, which was measured at 102 degrees at first kick.
“It was like putting your head in an oven. It was pretty hot,” Hyndman said. “The heat affected all of us, even the guys on the bench.”
Shea’s header, which came courtesy of a perfect cross from Jair Benitez, epitomized how FCD has found a way to grind out results time and time again this season.
On the goal, Atiba Harris made a run into the box that drew several Chivas USA players away from Shea, which left him open for the eventual game-winner.
“There were two players, Atiba [Harris] and Brek being covered by one,” Hyndman said. “Atiba went for the ball, a little body contact. Brek headed the ball perfectly. He and Atiba are both big, strong, physical players.”
After the win, Shea was quick to credit Harris for the tally.
“Besides the ball, Atiba is the one who gave me the goal. He made that hard run and took everyone away, which left me free,” Shea said.
The 20-year-old phenom also threw some love Benitez’s way for his well-placed cross.
“I think every game this year he’s been serving great balls. Tonight, I just happened to be on the end of one,” Shea said.
Another candidate for man of the match for FCD was goalkeeper Kevin Hartman, who finished the evening with three saves. None were bigger than the two he made in a matter of seconds in the 78th minute to preserve the lead.
Hartman first denied Chivas USA’s Michael Umana’s header off a corner at the far post. Then, just seconds latter, he scurried over to the opposite post and stopped another header, this one by Dario Delgado to keep FCD up front.
Following the win, the veteran keeper was once again impressed with his club’s ability to find a way to win when it looked like things would turn out otherwise.
“I think the most important thing for us is that we now find a way to get that winning goal,” Hartman said. “From the beginning of the season, we showed that we have the character that it’s tough to beat us, and now we’re able to persevere through that and get the winning goal.”