FRISCO, Texas – MLS-leading FC Dallas extended their home unbeaten streak to eight games on Saturday with a 1-0 victory over the visiting San Jose Earthquakes, who are still winless on the year away from Buck Shaw Stadium.
Heavy rains swept through the Dallas area a couple of hours before kickoff and drenched the field at FC Dallas Stadium, which seemed to slow down each team early in the game. The teams battled in midfield and neither created a meaningful chance through the half-hour mark.
Then in the 33rd minute, FC Dallas rookie center back and 2013 MLS SuperDraft first-round pick Walker Zimmerman, making his first career start, put his mark on the game by starting the sequence that led to the game's decisive goal.
Earthquakes defender Justin Morrow sent in a cross that Zimmerman cleared directly to David Ferreira. The Dallas captain then carried the ball 40 yards upfield before passing to forward Fabian Castillo.
The young Colombian cut around San Jose’s Jason Hernandez, and curled a well-placed left-footed shot around Jon Busch and into the bottom left corner of the net for his second goal of the season. The assist was Ferreira’s fourth of the year and ties him with Michel for the team lead.
Minutes later, the Quakes went just inches away from tying it up. Dallas ‘keeper Raul Fernandez punched a headed attempt from Alan Gordon that went straight to Victor Bernardez. The defender didn’t need an invitation to shoot and ripped a hard right-footed volley from 22 yards out that beat Fernandez, but caromed off the crossbar.
Bernardez ended up being San Jose’s leading shot-taker for the night as usually prolific poacher Chris Wondolowski managed only two shots. But he and his teammates pressed hard for a late equalizer after coach Frank Yallop threw on extra strikers and were only denied by several excellent plays by Fernandez.
The Dallas netminder had a brilliant night, stopping all six shots he faced, including a point-blank stoning of Wondolowski in the 81st minute and again in stoppage time. Fernandez now leads all MLS goalkeepers with 45 saves, pending the rest of the weekend's matches. The shutout is FCD’s sixth of the season and Fernandez’s fifth.
Both teams have long trips ahead for their third round US Open Cup matches on Tuesday. San Jose will be in South Carolina to take on USL PRO side Charleston Battery, while Dallas will travel further south, to Florida to face the NASL’s Ft. Lauderdale Strikers.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Raul Fernandez||FCD have their Peruvian GK to thank for this win. Bailed out his team's off-color conclusion to the game.|
|2||Fabian Castillo||Slick lefty finish from the speedy, shifty Colombian, who remains one of Dallas' most dangerous weapons.|
|3||Walker Zimmerman||The tall rookie was so solid at the heart of the FCD defense, you'd never know it was his first career start.|