The Chicago Fire have yet again busted an FC Dallas streak in the month of August.
Dallas fell to the Fire 2-0 at Toyota Park on Sunday, failing to extend their MLS-best five-game win streak and missing the chance to tie a franchise record for consecutive wins.
The loss comes one year after Chicago thwarted another FCD hot run of form, with the Fire winning 1-0 in Bridgeview on Aug. 30, 2014 to end a Dallas unbeaten run at seven games.
“I think it’s important to understand we weren’t going to win every game for the rest of the year,” goalkeeper Dan Kennedy said after the match. “Today proved that we weren’t going to do that. It’ll ground us.”
The loss is emblematic of one of Dallas’ biggest struggles of 2015 – winning on the road. In Frisco, FCD sports an impressive 8-1-2 mark, scoring at least two goals in seven of their 11 home games.
Away from Toyota Stadium, they are only 3-5-3, including only one win in their last seven tries. In eight of those 11 matches, Dallas has either been shut out or scored just one goal.
The loss could prove costly in the race for the Supporters’ Shield, with FCD dropping points to fall behind both D.C. and Vancouver – both of whom won this weekend – for the top spot in MLS. Dallas now sits in third in the league and second in the West, three points behind D.C. in the Shield standings and one back of Vancouver in the conference table.
“I think it’s just motivation,” center back Zach Loyd told MLSSoccer.com, downplaying the notion that the loss stings more due to others winning. “There’s still a lot of soccer left to be played, and we still play Vancouver three times.”
FCD fought an uphill battle for most of the match, falling behind in the fourth minute after Chicago forward David Accam got past Matt Hedges and slipped the ball between the legs of a charging Kennedy.
Though they outshot the Fire 13-11, Dallas couldn’t carve out any true clear cut opportunities, struggling to find the groove that has fueled their high-octane attack all season. They were given a bit of hope after Matt Watson was ejected for a challenge on Rolando Escobar in the 79th minute, but conceded on a penalty in the 85th to kill any hopes of a comeback.
“It was a difficult match for us. We couldn’t find a rhythm,” said head coach Oscar Pareja. “I thought Chicago did their job in staying back with the counter-attackers, and we really had some problems with the tempo of the game.”
Dallas will have some time to regroup after suffering their fifth road loss of the season, taking next weekend off before returning to action at home against the LA Galaxy on Aug. 15.
“As much as we have enjoyed our July and winning and putting a lot of stuff together, we’re not going to get desperate,” Pareja said. “We value our team. We know the boys are giving great effort. Sometimes we are cleaner than others. Tonight was not our night, and we have to accept that.”