Dallas Soccer DFW

FC Dallas defeats Tigres 3-2

Published 10/15/2008 7:12:09 PM by staff from dallas

It was just a friendly match between two teams in a friendly partnership, contested almost entirely by reserves by the time it ended.   In fact, it didn't end until FC Dallas' Aaron Pitchkolan scored in the 89th minute to win the game 3-2, although Tigres UANL of Mexico won the aggregate-goals series on penalty kicks.   The teams played as if far more was at stake than the Rio Grande Plate, a silver trophy the size of a small manhole cover.   Tigres came into the second match with a 2-1 lead gained in a friendly Feb. 20 in Monterrey, Mexico.   By applying pressure through much of the first half, FC Dallas turned that around by taking a 2-0 lead in the game and a 3-2 advantage in the series.

Two players with a combined total of 15 minutes in MLS matches this season played a big role in an attack that had advantages of 10-4 in shots and 8-0 in corner kicks over the opening 45 minutes.  Those corner kicks were especially important. Rookie Chase Wileman set up both goals with corners, from either side of the goal. The first came in the fifth minute, when Pitchkolan headed Wileman's kick from the right corner into the lower left of the goal.   In the 34th minute, Wileman's kick from the left corner found Jamie Watson in front of the goal, and he headed a ball on one bounce into the right side of the net. Watson, who spent parts of the last three seasons with Real Salt Lake, has not played in a league game since signing with FC Dallas before this season.

Wileman said, "I've been in charge of set pieces with a lot of teams I've been on, including the reserve team. With corner kicks, you don't always know where they're going.  Preferably, I'll kick from (the right corner), because of the in-swing," the left-footed kicker added. "You're just trying to hit it in an area. Luckily, Pitch and Jamie were there."

The home team's starting lineup was barely recognizable even to its most hardcore fans, with FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman choosing to rest all of his regulars in advance of this weekend's important league game against Real Salt Lake, but the Tigres lineup included seven starters.  The Mexican starters also left at halftime or during the second half, when Tigres took control of the game. Second-half goals by Guillermo Marino (off a corner kick) and Lucas Ayala tied it 2-2 and restored Tigres' one-goal lead on aggregate.

"Chase had a lot of good service from the flanks in the first half. They switched to a 3-5-2 in the second half, and that took a little out of his game," Hyndman said of Wileman. The 22 year old from Grand Prairie, Texas, had starred for Hyndman when he coached at Southern Methodist.

Just when it appeared the Rio Grande Plate would be going back to Mexico for the second consecutive year, Bobby Rhine headed the ball across the goalmouth to Pitchkolan, FC Dallas' most recognizable face in the game. His shot from the left side gave the Hoops a 3-2 lead and a 4-4 aggregate tie.  When neither team scored during the final minute or in extra time, the game went to penalty kicks to decide. But even that didn't happen immediately. Tigres players raised a fuss because they felt their Mexican ball should be used for the penalty kicks because it was the ball in play during the second half. After ruling that each team would use its own ball, referee Edvin Jurisevic ejected Tigres' Antonio Sancho with a second yellow card and gave backup 'keeper Enrique Palos a yellow for unsporting behavior.

Then Andre Rocha put FC Dallas ahead on the first penalty kick, but the three teammates who followed missed. Tigres' three successful kicks against Hoops backup 'keeper Ray Burse gave the Mexican team the decision 3-1 in the shootout.

"I don't know if the balls made a difference," Hyndman said, "but that shows how much this meant to (Tigres)."

Said Watson: "I think we deserved to win against a team with seven starters. It's more a point of pride than anything else."

He and Wileman, long-time teammates in Dallas-area age-group soccer and on the U.S. U17 team, were among the FC Dallas players who benefited from the exposure. Another was left-side midfielder Viktor Sikora, who had played just briefly in one game since suffering torn meniscus in a knee.

"Sikora, it was a great time for him to get on the field and play a lot," Hyndman said. "It was his first full game since Columbus (Aug. 16). He gave us good leadership and education in a young lineup."

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