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FC Dallas at New York Red Bulls: 2-2: Henry’s Strike Keeps Red Bulls from Walking Away Empty-Handed:

New York’s Setup:       Hans Backe employed somewhat of a 4-4-2 but with Henry playing a little deeper than a traditional second striker in a 4-4-2. Henry would drop deeper often to receive the ball and played many threate...

by J

New York’s Setup:

      Hans Backe employed somewhat of a 4-4-2 but with Henry playing a little deeper than a traditional second striker in a 4-4-2. Henry would drop deeper often to receive the ball and played many threatening balls to Agudelo, whom he joined up top, and Dane Richards who patrolled the right flank. Henry displayed an excellent balance between setting up his teammates, while also making sure that he looked to get his own shots off as well. Agudelo looked as on form as at any point this season. He got off quite a few shots, covered a tremendous amount of ground tracking back frequently to assist the defense, and also showed an improved ability to hold up the ball and play it back for his teammates, which is something he needs to continue to improve on.
      Richards, who played wide right, put on quite a performance. He used his blazing speed to continuously test the Dallas back four, and even though he didn’t score; he notched an assist, struck a rocket off of the post in the second half, and had numerous other dangerous balls to Henry and Agudelo. The only negative was his second yellow card in the 80’ minute that led to his sending off. Otherwise it was a wonderful performance from Richards, and New York will need that effort more consistently from him for the remainder of the season to push for the MLS Cup.
      Lindpere and McCarty played in the center of midfield with McCarty playing in the hole and Lindpere playing mostly in left central midfield. Ballouchy played on the left and frequently dropped more central. Ream and Marquez were back together at center back and even though they struggled a bit in the second half, they played some excellent balls out of the back that sprung some of New York’s best attacks. Miller and Solli proved useful in that regard as well, as they both got deep into Dallas territory to help New York keep possession in the final third and set up their teammates.
Dallas Setup:
     Schellas Hyndman set up in his usual 4-5-1. Chavez played alone up top and put in his best performance of the season, netting two goals. He did much better being patient and looking for his teammates instead of attempting to take on multiple defenders like he had been doing previously. He also made many dangerous runs behind the defense, and was unusually patient to keep from being called offside. Brek Shea, who played mostly wide left, as usual drifted into the middle frequently, and showed glimpses of his form this season. I’m sure Dallas fans would have liked to see more from him. New York did a commendable job preventing him from dribbling through their back four, and much of that credit has to go to Solli, who troubled Shea all night. Even when Shea switched to the right at times, he was unable to get off any of his accustomed thunderbolt shots.
      Dallas played Villar just behind Chavez, and Hernandez and Alexander behind him in the center of midfield with Hernandez playing a little deeper than Alexander. Avila played wide right and put on a particularly unimpressive performance and was promptly substituted at half time for Guarda (more on his effort later). The Dallas back four played very well, especially John, who may be expecting a call up for the US Men’s National Team soon.
A Tale of Two Halves:
     The first half was entirely dominated by New York. They were aggressive early, particularly Henry, Agudelo, and Richards. They linked up well and were in dangerous positions but often times seemed to over pass and not get off a shot. Dallas was much too passive, never putting adequate pressure on New York when they had the ball, and failed to maintain possession themselves. Avila on the right particularly struggled to make an impact, and their central midfielders far too often made poor passes that gave away possession. They attempted to get Shea into the game but with their poor distribution were unable to.
     New York finally made a break through in the 39’ minute when Henry made a phenomenal effort two times to keep possession, played a ball to Agudelo who flicked on Richards. Richards played a low cross into the box back for Agudelo whose effort was deflected in past Hartman. It was a deserved goal for the Red Bulls as they had been the far better team in the first half.
     To start the second half, Schellas Hyndman brought on Guarda for Avila. Guarda sat behind Chavez and Hernandez moved out wide right. He was the difference in the match for Dallas, as he showed a lot of off the ball movement that troubled New York, and this led to him playing an integral role in both of their goals. In the 51’ minute he made a nice run past Lindpere down the left channel, received a pass from Villar, and then he laid it off back to Villar who had made a run into the box. When Villar received the pass Marquez stepped up to him, which left Chavez unmarked, and he nicely stayed onside, received the pass from Villar, and netted the game-tying goal for Dallas. It was Guarda that sparked that attack with his initial run past Lindpere that left the New York defense scrambling to rotate unsuccessfully.
     After the goal Dallas mounted dangerous attack after dangerous attack and looked certain to score at least one more goal. Their second goal came in the 78’ minute off of a set piece. Hernandez played a side ways pass to Benitez just across midfield who then blasted a ball into the box. John flicked the ball across the box to Chavez, who was unmarked because Solli was caught ball watching, and he netted his second goal of the match.
     After taking the lead Dallas looked to be in control, especially after Richards was sent off in the 80’ minute. But Dallas became much too defensive after they went a man up and let New York dominate the possession. Henry netted the game tying goal, and his MLS leading 11th, when he controlled a pass from McCarty in the 85’ minute at the top of the box on the left, faked a right footed shot, turned back to his left foot and hammered the equalizer. It was a sweet finish for the New York captain, MLS All-Star, and potential league MVP.
Conclusion:
     The key for Dallas was the substitution of Guarda into the match to start the second half. They also applied much more ball pressure in the second half, which faltered New York’s attacks and let them dominate the second half. New York needed a better performance from Lindpere, who did not play up to his usual standards. It was also highly questionable that Backe did not use any subs even though it was an extremely hot evening. After the match he said he didn’t feel his substitutes were good enough. If that is really the case New York better hope they stay injury free for the remainder of the season. It was a deserved point for each side, as New York outplayed Dallas in the first half and Dallas outplayed New York more the majority of the second half. With that being said, Dallas probably felt like they let two points slip away, especially after going a man up with the lead.

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