FRISCO – For a 0-0 match that featured many of FC Dallas’ lesser-seen faces, there was quite a bit of late excitement.
There were flurries in front of the Suchitepequez goal late, one shot that was an inch away from crossing the goalline, another wide open chance that came inches from caroming off the crossbar, and a plethora of opportunities to put one through.
But the chances did not reward FC Dallas, giving them only one point in a match where they could have put a stranglehold on Group H in the 2016-17 CONCACAF Champions League.
“It was one of those nights where we couldn’t score,” FC Dallas coach Oscar Pareja said. “We had great chances during the whole game, but we couldn’t put that final pass, that final touch [through].”
Akindele provided a spark with his fresh legs, but even he failed to put the finishing touch on his opportunities, knowing they left a lot of scoring on the table.
“It wasn’t going our way,” Akindele said. “We hit the post, I definitely should have had a PK. I’m not going to fall down right there, that doesn’t make any sense. I should have had a PK, Carlos [Ruiz] hit the post, Carlos had the one where the goalie dropped it and he just lost his footing. It’s one of those things where nothing really was going our way in the final third.”
The lack of scoring can partially be attributed to the fact that none of the team’s top five goalscorers this season started the match, with Akindele, who is third on the list, being the only one who logged playing time.
Pareja said he was proud of the chances his team – who he refused to call reserves – created and proud that they rose to the occasion to secure one point.
But they still felt like they missed a golden opportunity by not grabbing three at home – a place where FC Dallas is used to winning.
“I think we let it slip away, and obviously playing over there, their fans are going to have a ton of energy,” Akindele said. “I think we still have a very good chance and we’re going to go down there and get it done. But it would have been nicer to do it here.”
The one point in the standings means FCD’s next match with Suchitepequez on October 20th will essentially be for all the marbles, with FC Dallas needing at least a draw to advance to the quarterfinals.
It’ll also be played with similar circumstances as this one, being played just days before a potentially pivotal game with the LA Galaxy that has Supporters’ Shield ramifications.
Pareja would not commit to whether or not he’d go with a more familiar lineup for that game, but he understands what will be at stake.
“The series is open,” Pareja said. “Now we’re going to Guatemala against a team that showed today they’re fighting as well as any team in CONCACAF, and we need to go there and get our result.”