FRISCO, Texas – Schellas Hyndman places a special focus on defending set pieces any time FC Dallas face the Houston Dynamo, but on Sunday afternoo, his squad flipped the script on their rivals, scoring twice in a three-minute span in the first half from dead balls.
“It’s one of [Houston’s] strengths when we talk about team strengths,” Hyndman said following his side's 3-2 victory. “This is one of their strengths. To get two goals off of a team that is strong in the air and a good goalkeeper who has been to two straight MLS Cups, it’s great.”
George John opened the scoring for FC Dallas in the 34th minute as midfielder Michel whipped a ball into the box that Dynamo defender Bobby Boswell nodded into the back of John’s head, which provided the touch that eventually took the ball past Tally Hall for the center back’s fifth career goal.
It wasn’t the prettiest of strikes, but they all count.
“Obviously, on set pieces, you’re always trying to fight and get to the ball,” John told reporters after the game. “Whether it goes off of your face, your head, shoulder, if it gets in the goal, it’s a goal, so I’m happy about that and happy with three points.”
The Dynamo allowed just four goals off corner kicks in 2012, but FC Dallas exploited them again just two minutes after John's goal as Andrew Jacobson shook off Ricardo Clark before thumping David Ferreira’s corner into the upper 90 to double the advantage.
“We’ve got a lot of big bodies on free kicks and usually their biggest guy doesn’t mark me, so I just tried to get as free as possible and find some space,” said Jacobson. “I kind of just followed George in so I wouldn’t get shoved and got a foot on it.”
Houston’s tendency for physical play is something that generally gives FC Dallas fits, but it may have actually worked to their advantage on Jacobson’s goal.
“I thought George was going to head it then he got shoved at the last second and it kind of threw me off guard,” Jacobson continued. “I just tried to get a foot on it and got a clean finish on it.”
With six of Sunday’s starting 11 checking in at 6-foot-1 or taller, Jacobson hopes Sunday’s set-piece goals serve as notice to the rest of the league that fouling FC Dallas is a risky proposition.
“Especially with all the talent we have in the attack," he said, "if you have to start thinking that you can’t foul these guys either, because we can be dangerous on set pieces, that will really propel us through the season.”