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FC Dallas plays to scoreless draw in San Jose

Published 5/4/2008 2:44:16 AM by staff from mlsnet
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When FC Dallas head coach Steve Morrow was putting together his side for this season, the primary area of improvement he targeted was his team's defense. In 2007, the team ranked in the middle of the pack in goals allowed.  But six games into the 2008 campaign, the defensive emphasis seems to be paying off, as FC Dallas forged a 0-0 tie Saturday with the San Jose Earthquakes, their third clean sheet of the season.

It's a mark that Dallas didn't reach last year until June 30, and they have only conceded one goal in their last four games. While the addition of Duilio Davino appears to be paying dividends, defender Drew Moor insists the team's success isn't solely the work of the backline.

"Defensively, we're very much concentrated on working as a unit of 11 players," said Moor. "Obviously with three in the back, we've just got to be solid and keep the guys in front of us. It's a little easier, with two holding midfielders, to communicate and move guys in the right spots. But it's just about staying solid, staying aggressive, staying physical, and concentrating for 90 minutes in the back."

Given the near constant pressure the Quakes applied, it was a night where defensively the team earned its pay. San Jose started the game pressing high in Dallas' half, and rarely let up. The also launched a barrage of crosses late in the match that did plenty to test the resolve of the Dallas backline, as well as the alertness of goalkeeper Dario Sala.

"I feel like I played 50 percent of the game off my feet and in the air," Moor added. "But that's the way [San Jose] plays. They're big up front and they're physical and you have to be ready for a battle when you play against them."

That normal starter Adrian Serioux sat out the match with a left leg injury, making way for Anthony Wallace to make just his second career start, made the defensive performance even more impressive, a fact that was noted by Morrow.

"I think Wallace did well," said Morrow. "He didn't know he was playing until just before the warmup. I think he's a kid with a very, very bright future, and he stepped into a difficult circumstance tonight and did very well."

But as well as the team played defensively, the rest of FC Dallas' game was lacking as they rarely threatened the San Jose goal. It was a development that left Morrow disappointed, especially given how poorly his team possessed the ball.

"I think [San Jose] pressured us hard," said Morrow. "I don't think we moved the ball quickly enough. A lot of our passes were sloppy; a lot of needless giveaways in possession. But you go through that sometimes, and when you do, it's important that you defend well and keep a clean sheet, which we did."

Dallas did have a couple of glorious chances to steal all three points. One opportunity in particular left the Hoops with their head in their hands, as a two on one break materialized in the 62nd minute, with Arturo Alvarez at the controls. The Dallas forward even did most of the hard work, working the ball onto his favored left foot deep into San Jose's penalty area. Unfortunately for Dallas, Alvarez failed to hit the target, and the chance went begging.  That left it up to the defense to carry the team to the finish line. That they did bodes well for the future, and Moor expects the attack to get back in gear soon.

"I don't think [the offense] is going to be a problem going forward," said Moor. "We have so many threats in attack. We'll work that out."

Label: MLS soccer, FC Dallas, San Jose Earthquakes, Dario Sala
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