FC Dallas attacker Daniel Cruz in action against Tauro FC
Phillip Long

CCL: Injuries taking their toll as FCD offense dries up

FRISCO, Texas — In case the 90 frustrating minutes that preceded Schellas Hyndman’s press conference hadn’t made it clear, the coach put a fine point of it when he got behind the microphone: FC Dallas’ offense is sputtering.

After a quick goal from Daniel Cruz 27 seconds into the match – the quickest goal in CONCACAF Champions League history – the home side did much to create but little to finish in their disappointing 1-1 draw with Tauro FC of Panama in their first home CCL game at Pizza Hut Park on Wednesday night.

“We had [Marvin] Chávez that we kept out and Brek Shea was kept out today,” Hyndman said, counting the two injured flank players who have provided much of the FCD offense this season. “[Fabián] Castillo was kept out today with injuries, so we didn’t have a lot of opportunities or choices.”

Usual starting forward Maicon Santos is ineligible after having been on Toronto FC’s CCL roster, forcing Hyndman & Co. – with an already wafer-thin attacking crew – to put “what we thought was our best 11 on the field.”

Right back Jeremy Hall moved into the right-sided midfield position for the injured Chávez, while Ricardo Villar, usually an attacking central midfielder, lined up on the left flank providing service to Jackson Gonçalves, the lone forward on the night.

The result was plenty of through-balls from Villar to Jackson and several chances on goal, but a solid night between the posts for Tauro FC goalkeeper Álvaro Anzola and a lack of natural finishers for FC Dallas meant the home side could not collect the game-winner.

“We put Villar out there and Villar’s not a flank player,” continued Hyndman, “and we put Jeremy Hall out there and Jeremy Hall’s not a flank player.”

Added Villar: “I played so many through balls to Jackson there that I thought were already in. ... Right now, it’s not bouncing in. Some games we don’t create half the chances and we score like two or three goals so we have to keep trying.”

FC Dallas delivered only eight open play crosses on the night compared to Tauro’s 18, and if it were not for the crossbar that saved Rene Mendieta’s header just before stoppage time, FCD may have fallen to their athletic Panamanian opponents.

Villar did his best to put the game in perspective for Dallas in the Group C standings.

“At the end of the day, we’ve got seven points and are leading the group," he said, "and we've got to keep that in mind going forward.”

Robert Casner covers FC Dallas for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached on Twitter: @robertmcasner

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