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FC Dallas, Earthquakes battle to scoreless draw

FRISCO, Texas — The San Jose Earthquakes continued a strong streak of results with a scoreless draw on the road against FC Dallas Saturday.

After a positive showing in Atlanta last week, FC Dallas could not add its fifth win in six matches. San Jose coach Matias Almeyda’s man-marking system, which has begun to show signs of success with two solid showings against Kansas City and Seattle, caused trouble for Dallas, even at Toyota Stadium.

“Clearly it gave us difficulty,” right back Reggie Cannon said. “San Jose, obviously, with their form, they’re definitely getting more comfortable with that system. I was talking to Nick Lima and it’s honestly one of the most uncomfortable things that they’ve asked them to do, but it’s that South American culture. I have the utmost respect for [Almeyda]. He pushes his players to the max. Although maybe tiring and energy consuming, it’s effective. That’s the important thing.”

Dallas conceded 59 percent possession at home, the most all season, and struggled to break out of its own half. San Jose sensed the momentum flipping, and went on the attack, bringing Chris Wondolowski and Valeri ‘Vako’ Qazaishvili on late to try and grab a goal. Vako had a chance to make it 1-0 at the top of the box in stoppage time but it was saved by Gonzalez once again.

“We were fortunate,” FCD coach Luchi Gonzalez said. “We were fortunate to get the draw considering how the momentum at the end of the game was. Important point, considering how the game was at the end. We’ll take that. We’re critical with ourselves. We’re honest. We just had a really good talk after the game about being honest with the things we want to improve.”

Along with training for the new system, Dallas also deployed a new lineup, keeping midfielder Edwin Cerrillo in the lineup and pushing Paxton Pomykal to the wing. The change was new for Cerrillo, who had been playing with Pomykal in the middle for most of the season.

“It was different,” Cerrillo said. “Obviously not having Paxton in the midfield, creating and being that more versatile player that we need just to create out of the back instead of just playing out of the back to start up opportunities. We had him on the wing, which was kinda different. He wasn’t as involved and wasn’t playing his best position, but it shows that on this team a lot of players can play different positions wherever we need them.”

Apr 27, 2019; Frisco, TX, USA; FC Dallas midfielder Michael Barrios (21) hits San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Magnus Eriksson (7) during the first half at Toyota Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The chances were at a premium in the match, but each team had chances late in the first half. After combination with Pomykal, Reggie Cannon found space at the top of the box and hit a shot that went just wide of the post in the 39th minute.

San Jose almost had one just a minute later as Danny Hoesen sprung free on the counter. Hoesen connected with Christian Espinoza, who had a shot in space. A paw from Jesse Gonzalez kept the ball out of the net as the game neared half-time.

FCD felt concern at halftime when Pomykal was forced off with an injury, clutching his hamstring. Gonzalez confirmed the injury postmatch with reporters.

“Paxton tweaked his hammy,” Gonzalez said. “It doesn’t look too serious. It was a precaution; it wasn’t worth pushing it. Hopefully, it’s nothing too serious.”

Dominique Badji almost connected with Michael Barrios in the 71st minute after Badji picked the pocket of defender Harold Cummings. Barrios could not get a touch on the ball and it went just wide.

Dallas is looking forward to moving on from the tough result with next week’s Texan Derby against the Houston Dynamo. Hoping to get back to the philosophies Gonzalez preaches, including lots of possession, Dallas will have a chance to do that against rivals in enemy territory.

“We’re looking forward to Houston already,” Cannon said. “It’s going to be a tough trip against an in-form team and we’re looking to bounce over them on the table, but it’s all a matter of bouncing back and a matter of getting back to the drawing board and fixing some things. Whether that be our pressure, our second-half start or putting the ball in the back of the net, we got to figure it out. And I’m sure Luchi, with his tactical mind and his very interesting form of approaching a game, will definitely get it done.”

Dallas will take on the Houston Dynamo May 4th, while San Jose will travel home to play FC Cincinnati the same day.

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