This match was a tale of two elbows. FC Dallas came out the clear losers on both. On the first, Blas Perez earned a straight red card for an elbow in the Rapids box. The second earned Dallas captain Matt Hedges a trip to the bench with a bloody nose with no punishment to the Rapids player that threw the elbow. Two elbows to the head and both called completely differently.
FC Dallas arrived in Colorado with revenge on their minds. Just two weeks ago a reeling Rapids side came into Frisco, broke a goal drought of ten hours and blasted FCD 4-0. A result completely out of the blue as Dallas had been rolling along to start the MLS season. The visitors had clear visions of a payback Friday night.
Blas Perez had a monster opportunity in the 5th minute as he chested down a long ball inside the Rapids penalty area. Rapids keeper Clint Irwin came out and made the save as Perez tried to slip the ball through his legs and into the net. Colorado would get the next chance as Nick Labrocca let fly a rocket from thirty yards that zipped past Dan Kennedy on a rope. The laser rattled the inside of the right post and stayed out of the net. The Rapids were starting to take control as the early Dallas energy was starting to wane.
New Dallas keeper Dan Kennedy had a bit of an adventure in the 22nd minute as he came out to grab a high floating corner kick. A collision went uncalled and Kennedy dropped the ball which FCD had to scramble away to safety. In the scrum Zach Loyd took a shot to the head, but he would return after a short stoppage.
Gabriel Torres forced Kenned into action a few minutes later as he rifled a low strike. Kennedy went down to his right to make the initial save, but he left a massive rebound sitting right in front that again the defense had to scramble away.
The ball went the other way and Fabian Castillo had a golden opportunity to put his team in front after he got onto a ball pulled back from the end line. Castillo touched this right and fired just over the crossbar. Chances at both ends in the opening 30 minutes.
Soon after Fabian Castillo would work his magic dazzling the crowd and setting up the opening goal. In typical Castillo fashion he picked up the ball on the right wing and raced at goal. The Rapids looked in good shape defensively with three players in position to stop the speedy Colombian. So safe in fact that one of the Colorado players dropped off to let the other two deal with Castillo. Fabian cut inside on his left beating both defenders (one of which fell down). Then Castillo cut hard right beating the same defender again before cutting a perfect ball across the six. Mauro Diaz was waiting on the back side to blast home giving FC Dallas the lead.
I have said it several times this season and I will say it again. Fabian Castillo is the most dynamic player in the entire MLS this year.
Dan Kennedy turned away a Dillon Powers shot and FC Dallas would take a slim 1-0 lead to the break.
The game would change in the 59th on an incident during a FC Dallas free kick. As Fabian Castillo chipped at goal Blas Perez dropped Drew Moor with an elbow that the referee immediately showed the red card for. Perez was off to the showers leaving the visitors to try to survive the final 30 minutes with ten men.
Oscar Pareja brought on Tesho Akindele for Mauro Diaz to shore up the tactics. Right after captain Matt Hedges took an elbow that went uncalled. He was dazed and forced to leave the match to be replaced by Walker Zimmerman. Things were not looking good for Dallas. It was going to be a long final stretch. Every call was going against FC Dallas as Colorado coach Pablo Mastroeni whined for every whistle. Vincente Sanchez fell down anytime anyone even breathed on him.
It was all one way traffic as Dallas resorted to just lumping long balls to the speedy Castillo who was up top all alone. The problem was that without an possession Colorado was just picking up the long stuff and coming right back at FCD. Fifteen minutes to play.
Colorado finally broke through in the 79th as a cross to the back post went over Loyd was headed down to the top of the FCD six yard box. Walker Zimmerman was extremely late to react allowing Labrocca to race past him and put the ball low past Kennedy. 1-1 with plenty of time for the Rapids to win it.
Tesho Akindele made a long run soon after trying to get the lead back for the shorthanded visitors. He wound up and fired from 25 but his shot came off the side netting narrowly missing.
Colorado went right back on the attack though as ten man Dallas were holding on for dear life. It became painfully obvious the lack of center back depth for FC Dallas without Matt Hedges. Zach Loyd simply is not enough of a physical presence and Walker Zimmerman just is not quite ready for this level of play. Hopefully, Oscar Pareja can go get another quality center back in the summer transfer window.
It was emergency defending to the max as Dallas were desparate to hold onto the road point while Colorado were pushing hard for their first home win of the 2015 season. Five minutes of stoppage time left. FC Dallas would survive and earn the road point despite all the adversity. A valuable point considering all the calls going against them.