One step forward, two steps back. That old Bruce Springsteen song could be on repeat on FC Dallas’ locker room stereo this week after the side fell, 3-2, away to the Portland Timbers.
WATCH: FULL MATCH HIGHLIGHTS
Despite the close scoreline at JELD-WEN Field, Dallas’ performance was a far cry from the one turned in last week, when they thumped the reigning MLS Cup champions Colorado, 3-0.
“It seemed like we weren’t ready at kickoff time,” head coach Schellas Hyndman told MLSsoccer.com after the match. “Seemed like we were disjointed, out of sync. It was definitely frustrating because we want to be successful every time we play.”
The Timbers took the lead in the 13th minute, when Jack Jewsbury cleaned up after a quickly played set piece. Former Dallas striker Kenny Cooper doubled their advantage, heading in a corner kick in the 35th minute.
“We gave up two goals off set pieces, which is really disappointing because we worked on that in training,” Hyndman said. “Defensively, we didn’t put them under enough pressure.”
But it wasn’t the defense that appeared to sputter most for FCD in the early going. The lone-striker system, with Milton Rodriguez isolated up top and David Ferreira tasked to rush out of the midfield, failed to create any chances. Through the first 83 minutes of the match, Dallas had only one shot on goal, a long-range effort from Daniel Hernandez in the 16th minute.
Hyndman made several changes in the second half in an attempt to jumpstart the offense. He shifted the side into a 4-4-2, a decision made at halftime, and he made several lineup changes. The insertion of Jackson Gonçalvez provided an important thrust down the right side that Zach Loyd failed to give for much of the day, and Jair Benitez’s insertion at left back allowed Brek Shea to move up into the midfield.
“We knew we were a better team than that,” Hyndman explained. “We were breaking down when we got into the attacking third. We weren’t getting into the attack enough from the fullback. [So] we got some fresh legs on. We got Brek out on the left flank to get some penetration there.”
The moves paid dividends as Dallas nearly pulled off a miraculous late comeback. Ferreira notched an 83rd-minute goal when he tucked in a cross to the near post from Shea. Then, three minutes later, Ferreira returned the favor with a ball over the top that Shea tapped in to pull Dallas within one.
But the complete comeback wasn’t to be, as Dallas lost for the third time in the first five games of the season.
“We ran out of time,” Hyndman said. “There was an opportunity there, maybe a handball. And [Timbers goalkeeper Jake] Gleeson made a heck of a save. We could’ve walked away with 3-3 and been happy. But we ran out of time.”