The Toyota Stadium scoreboard shows that FC Dallas beat the Seattle Sounders 2-0 on Saturday.
The statistics show a more even match.
But as the Sounders fell to 4-5-1 on the season, they seemed less interested in chances than in their lack of finishes.
“A whole lot of possession and nothing to show for it,” captain Brad Evans said. “… At the end of the day we have to work on the field and finish our chances.”
Statistics may not tell outright lies, but they’re good at deceiving. That was the case in Frisco, Texas, as the Sounders took as many shots as Dallas and held considerably more possession, yet they walked away without points and without any compelling claim that they deserved any.
Soccer is a game of moments, and on this night, the home team converted in key moments and the Sounders did not.
The first three minutes told the tale.
Just about 30 seconds into the match, Seattle midfielder Erik Friberg sent a pass to Herculez Gomez from near the center circle. Gomez ran behind the Dallas defense and took his first touch at the top of the penalty area. However, by the time he took his second touch – the shot – his angle had become difficult, and he fired wide across the goal mouth.
About two minutes later, Dallas got its chance as referee Ricardo Salazar whistled central defender Chad Marshall for a foul in front of the goal. Mauro Diaz converted the penalty kick decisively. The sequence that so easily could have had Seattle a goal ahead, suddenly found them a goal down.
“If I put that one away … we will be talking about a different game,” Gomez said. “It is difficult because on a personal note you can change the outcome of the game.”
Even with that wild start, things didn’t calm much over the remainder of the half. There was no more first-half scoring, but there was end-to-end action. A shot by Joevin Jones was nudged wide by Dallas keeper Chris Seitz. A header by Jordan Morris went directly to Seitz.
On the other end, Stefan Frei came off his line several times to sweep away Dallas chances before they became shots.
In the second half, things calmed considerably. The Sounders seemed to make halftime adjustments that slowed Dallas’ counters through the midfield. That made Seattle the more dangerous team until about the one-hour mark.
After that, Dallas (7-4-2) seemed to move back in protection of its own goal. The pace of the game calmed. And then in the 80th minute, Dallas goals leader Michael Barrios delivered the dagger, taking a pass from former Sounder Mauro Rosales and finishing.
“We had some chances in the first half to equalize the game,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “… Tough first goal to give up. That’s five PKs (conceded this season) – that’s not good enough. I thought the rest of the half we were all right – had some chance. When you play then, it’s an open game. That’s just the way it is.”
The Sounders’ were without designated player Nelson Valdez, who didn’t travel due to a calf strain suffered late in the week. Otherwise, all key regulars were available.
The schedule gets no easier from here. The Sounders return home Saturday to face the Western Conference-leading Colorado. Then they go on the road – where they remain winless – for three straight games: at New England, at D.C. United and at the New York Red Bulls.
Game in review
FC DALLAS 2, SOUNDERS 0
The bottom line: The Sounders had plenty of chances in a free-flowing game, but couldn’t connect on any. Dallas failed on several chances too, but converted enough.
The goals: Mauro Diaz nailed a penalty kick in the third minute after Seattle defender Chad Marshall was called for a foul in the penalty area; Michael Barrios finished a counter, assisted by former Sounder Mauro Rosales, in the 80th minute.
Key moment: About a half-minute into the match, Seattle’s Erik Friberg got possession near the center circle and sent a pass to Herculez Gomez alone behind the Dallas defense. Gomez’s first touch came at the top of the penalty box, but by the time he fired the angle had tightened and he sent the shot wide across the goal mouth. Instead of leading in the first minute, the Sounders soon found themselves trailing in the third.
Key stat: The Sounders have allowed five penalty kicks in 10 games.
Notes: The Sounders fell again below the .500 mark at 4-5-1. ... Seattle designated player Nelson Valdez did not travel after suffering a calf injury late in the week. ... Jordan Morris had his four-game goal streak came to an end.
Quote: “We have to be a little more decisive. We’re trying to cross balls when we have some pretty good shooting angles. We need to make guys make saves and we need to get into the box and make them take us down on PKs.” — Seattle coach Sigi Schmid.
Next match: Colorado Rapids, 7 p.m. Saturday, May 21, CenturyLink Field.