Mar 2, 2019; Frisco, TX, USA; FC Dallas head coach Luchi Gonzalez on the sidelines before the match against the New England Revolution at Toyota Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
In the first competitive match under coach Luchi Gonzalez, Dallas opened up bright. The team dictated possession and attempted to enforce its will on the Revolution, creating opportunities on the flanks.
“We connected a lot of passes,” Gonzalez said. “We showed confidence and courage to play, to combine, under pressure, different kinds of pressing. We wanted to have more of the ball in their half. It was a lot of possession in our own half or in the midfield and I feel our next step is to do it closer to their goal.”
The chances started early for Dallas, with much of its attack coming from the right side. Reggie Cannon found space on the right flank and found a trailing Jacori Hayes, whose one-timed effort was just over the bar in the eighth minute.
“Reggie had the ball and cut it back,” Hayes said. “I was just trying to hit that upper near. From my angle, I don’t think I was far off. I just saw a window and I just tried to take it. It was early in the game, might as well test the keeper.”
FC Dallas opened the scoring in the 13th minute through winger Michael Barrios. Forward Dominique Badji won a header in the middle of the pitch, finding Barrios. Barrios took on Revolution defender Antonio Delamea into the box from midfield. As he got into the box, Barrios lined up a shot and slotted it past goalkeeper Brad Knighton.
The Revs almost equalized late into first-half stoppage time. Off a free kick, Carles Gil played a ball into the box. The ball was headed by Dallas defender Ryan Hollingshead, but towards the middle of the box, allowing Delamea a chance to head toward the net. The ball went just wide, and Dallas took a 1-0 lead into halftime.
The beginning of the second half was difficult for Dallas, as the team struggled to get momentum and put on an attack. This allowed New England time to pile on the pressure and attempt to chase the tying goal.
“I think first half, we were dangerous,” Cannon said. “We were really playing our style and we weren’t abandoning our concepts. We were all over them and dominated. They had maybe one or two chances, but one shot on goal. It’s just unfortunate because in the second half, we came out flat. We gave away a lot of silly fouls, free kicks, and they started getting possession higher up the field until they eventually score a goal.
“Once you get that pressure and you start off flat, obviously an MLS team is gonna take advantage of that. That’s the hard part. We have to come out in the second half like we did in the end of the second half. Pushing the game and going for that extra goal and putting the team away.”
It wouldn’t take long for the Revolution to equalize after halftime. A lobbed cross from Jalil Anibaba was headed down by Delamea and it ended up on Gil’s foot. The Revs new Designated Player took a touch and smashed it past Jesse Gonzalez to tie the match up in the 57th minute.
Midfielder Paxton Pomykal entered as a 73rd minute sub for Hayes and connected well with teammates, but ultimately could not be the spark that provided a goal.
“I think it was okay, good,” Pomykal said. “At the end of the day, we didn’t win the game so my individual performance is hand-in-hand with the team’s so I thought it was a good performance, but at the end of the day, I came on, and I didn’t get an assist or a goal and we didn’t win the game.”
FC Dallas was upset with the result, but reflected on some positives in the season opener, including the 638 passes completed and the possession held.
“That’s a good number for us,” Gonzalez said. “We want to be there by 700, but we want to do it higher up the field. That’s the next step for us in training. But the idea is there, we need to keep polishing so that it will show with a final result in terms of points. The point is positive, knowing that we had moments to make it a win. I have to be proud of the boys for having an identity and know that identity with good work and commitment will improve with time.”
Both teams return to play next Saturday with FC Dallas hosting Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the LA Galaxy, while the Revolution take on the Columbus Crew in their home opener.