FC Dallas registered their first road victory since 2007 in the US Open Cup Tuesday night in the Third Round, downing the NASL Fort Lauderdale Strikers 2-0 on second half goals from Blas Perez and defender Matt Hedges.
However, don’t let the score fool you, it was a very hard-fought and chippy game by both sides.
Strikers’ midfielder Walter Restrepo threatened the Dallas goal twice in the early moments of the match. His first shot from point-blank range was saved by Chris Seitz in the second minute and his second attempt in the 11th minute, a chip shot over Seitz, hit the crossbar before rolling uncontested back into the Dallas keepers hands.
“The Strikers took it to us in the first half,” said FC Dallas’ head coach Schellas Hyndman. “A lot of that was enthusiasm, and they tried to set the tone early in the match.”
“He was an aggravation for us up front,” said Hyndman of Restrepo’s presence throughout the game.
“We knew Walter and Darnell had some speed that would give them trouble,” said Fort Lauderdale Strikers’ head coach Daryl Shore. “You have to give credit to the guys behind them that were able to put them in good situations. I thought for the first 54 minutes we were the better team. We’re very disappointed because we thought we deserved better given how we played.”
“We dominated the game for most part,” Restrepo said. “We had the better chances, but they were able to finalize on their two chances.”
FC Dallas finally broke through in the second half to take the lead.
Midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson found some space on the right side, curling in a ball that flashed across the box to Castillo at the far post. The Colombian tapped a ball to Blas Perez who was unmarked in front of goal and slid it under Strikers goalkeeper Matt Glaeser to put Dallas on top in the 54th minute.
“That was one of the few crosses that we’ve made,” said coach Hyndman. “Getting that first goal always puts the pressure off and then I thought we even started playing better.”
Defender Matt Hedges added the insurance goal in the 66th minute on a header. Midfielder Michel recorded the assist.
“Fort Lauderdale is a strong side,” said FC Dallas captain George John. “Any time in this tournament that you come into an opposing team’s field, it’s tough to get a victory. They came out with a lot of energy and had a couple of great opportunities, but luckily we were able to come into halftime with a clean sheet and regroup. We got two goals and were able to come away with the victory to move on to the next round.”
Dallas moves on to the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup for the first time since 2011 and will host the winner of the match between the Houston Dynamo and FC Tuscon at FC Dallas Stadium on Wednesday, June 12.