Missed chances, misfortune doom FC Dallas in Cup final



TORONTO — George John could only sit at his locker and stare into space, trying to forget every defender's nightmare that he'd just experienced moments earlier.

In a sullen and quiet, almost puzzled FC Dallas locker room, where all players and staff could do was sit or stand and not move, John tried to find the words to explain what happened in the 107th minute of Sunday night's MLS Cup.

Dallas lost 2-1 to the Colorado Rapids after regulation time and two overtime periods at BMO Field, the Rapids getting the game-winning goal on an own goal by John, who deflected Macoumba Kandji's shot past goalkeeper Kevin Hartman as Hartman got in position for a save.

"Just kind of one of those plays," John said. "I don't really know what to say about it. Cost us the season. Cost us the Cup."

Of course, John was just doing his job, trying to clear the ball from the goal area, and Kandji had gotten by two other FCD defenders, Jair Benitez and Ugo Ihemelu. Kandji still had a tough angle shot with the imposing John in his way, but fired away. The ball caromed off John's leg and far out of Hartman's reach.

Immediately after the goal, John buried his face in his hands. On the big screen at the stadium, he had a look of stunned bewilderment, yet the game wasn't yet over. There remained some 12 minutes in the second overtime, plus subsequent injury time.

"I was in shock when it happened. It just seemed unreal to me," John said. "I tried to compose myself as well as I could and get up the field and help my team out."

John, pushed forward to help get an equalizer, took a quality shot on goal that Rapids keeper Matt Pickens saved. He also misfired on a header, two chances in the closing moments to atone for the own goal.

It wasn't to be, nor was it for FC Dallas, who took a 1-0 lead in the first half but couldn't make it stand.

"We didn't sit back by any means," Hartman said. "You saw throughout the game we had eight to nine guys going forward trying to get things for us. They (the Rapids) were able to kind of battle and block some shots and clear some shots off the line… We just weren't able to get the bounces."

Hartman said John was doing his best to prevent a cross from Kandji when the decisive goal happened.

"I feel so bad for him, because I really think he's one of the best center backs in the league and it's unlucky that the bounce occurred the way that it did," Hartman said. "Certainly he has nothing to be ashamed of."

FC Dallas played aggressively, marking the Rapids' big target Conor Casey with all four defenders at different times. Casey, a burly forward who exerts his will often, heard it from Benitez and holding midfielder Daniel Hernandez, as if they were telling him they weren't afraid to be physical. That didn't stop Casey from scoring the tying goal in the 57th minute.

Still, FC Dallas was in control of possession of the ball and attacked Colorado's goal with regularity late in the second half. But Pickens and the right-place, right-time defenders didn't allow another goal after David Ferreira's in the 35th minute.

"I thought we fought and we limited their chances," Ihemelu said. "We gave away a couple of unfortunate opportunities that they capitalized on." 

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39 Responses to Missed chances, misfortune doom FC Dallas in Cup final

  1. Rory says:

    Dallas was unfortunate, maybe that was Karma for McCarty’s playoff antics (play-acting on fouls) and some cheap shots during the game, including pushing the injured Kandji. There for a while it looked like the game was going to get nasty and I thought Dallas were the nastier team, but Colorado showed some real grit.

  2. rory says:

    To be clear, I didn’t mean McCarty had pushed Kandji, I meant Dallas players. It was nice to see the game meant so much to everyone on the field (unlike last year where I thought Edson Buddle looked like he could care less when he took that PK).

  3. DrewROC says:

    Pretty sure Dax McCarty can now be fully recognized as “The Red Headed Stepchild”

  4. bob says:

    To win the MLS cup it is better to be a crappy team that has to advance against weaker teams. RSL and Colorado had the easier paths to glory.

  5. chubbs says:

    and they both came out ahead when it really mattered, Rapids beat a good team that destroyed RSL and LA, I’d say they deserved it

  6. Mike says:

    What a thriller! I can’t believe I missed it

  7. bob says:

    but who did they play to get there??? Columbus and San Jose? They barely beat an out of form Columbus and barely beat San Jose. Now Garber wants to add 2 more teams.

  8. Rory says:

    McCarty’s playoff play showed he can play bigger then his size showed. I like him alot at that U-20 world cup in Canada and he’s still developing.

    Unfortunately Brek Shea has once again done nothing in a big game in which he could make his name. Maybe it was Colorado’s play that took him out of the game.

  9. Rory says:

    What? RSL had a first round matchup with the defending champs and supporter’s shield winners last season. Sure, the coach’s surprise move to drop GBS for that first match was dumb, but when you go toe to toe with the Def. champ/ss winner in a home and away and win you’re class.

    As for Colorado, they had to survive pk’s on the road and then withstand the surge of the hottest teams in the league. They faced down the league MVP Ferrera, and the other great nominee for the MVP Wondolowski.

  10. Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:

    Someone needs to tell George John he did not “Cost us the season. Cost us the Cup.” FC Dallas had a great season, a great playoff run and for the most part, a very good final. One unlucky play does not make a season, a game or a player. I thought Conor Casey was a thug and embellished, quite dramatically, anytime he was touched (or not touched). I haven’t watched him all that much but did watch him play for the US. I don’t recal him playing like that. Have I been missing this the whole time?

  11. Kevin_amold says:

    Destroyed RSL? Try frantically holding on to a one-goal lead.

    Full credit to Dallas for winning that tie, but let’s not get too revisionist here.

  12. chubbs says:

    To say they had easier paths though doesnt matter, if they had the easier paths and lost in the final you could talk, San Jose beat NY, the dream team of the east, but then only managed a single weak shot on goal against the Rapids, this year all 8 teams were legit and deserved to be there

  13. Eugene T says:

    I understand the logic, but having ten teams out of eighteen make the playoffs is far too many in my opinion, especially if you credit only the MLS Cup winner as league champion.

    To make the regular season more valuable, MLS should drop the number of total playoff teams to six, only taking the top three finishers from each conference. Give the top seed a bye into the one-off conference final at their home stadium, and have the other two seeds play a Wednesday-Saturday home-and-home. Simple.

  14. chubbs says:

    ok you’re right they didnt destroy them and withstood a wicked onslaught, but they still beat them and tied them, a really good team that Dallas really outplayed

  15. oscar says:

    I believe the Supporter’s Shield is the better trophy for the team which does the best over 30+ games rather than a 4 game playoff. They should do away with the MLS Cup. Trophies should require more work than what’s needed to win an MLS Cup. In fact, I’m not sure the MLS Cup winner warrants a CCL tournament spot; Certain the Supporter’s Shield Runnerup is far more deserving of a slot in the CCL than the MLS Cup winner and Runnerup.

  16. Erik says:

    Maybe Colorado can get a shirt sponsor now and come into the 21st century of the soccer world.

  17. Kevin_Amold says:

    Galaxy fan?

  18. sarnold says:

    You’re absolutely right. Beating the best teams in do or die situations shouldn’t count for anything.

  19. BenH says:

    Dallas the nastier team? It was Colorado’s intent to be the ugly team and turn what should be a great game into some sort of soccer-rugby hybrid. Dallas would never try to muddy the game up because, quite frankly, they’re a much better team when actually playing the game.

    The fact that Toledo swallowed his whistle for much of the game and allowed it to happen was a shame. But I suppose that’s what happens in finals or big games where refs don’t want to have such an effect on the game. But hey, at the end of it all, it is the players who choose their tactics.

  20. Paula says:

    Supporter’s Shield to the LA Galaxy, league MVP to FC Dallas, Rookie of the Year to DC United, MLS Cup to the Colorado Rapids … yay, parity?

  21. tim says:

    I have a feeling a loss in the MLS Cup is not going to fix the attendance issues in Frisco. Its a shame because thats their largest and most glaring issue atm.

  22. Paul says:

    “Kandji had gotten by two other FCD defenders, Jair Benitez and Ugo Ihemelu.”

    Yes, by throwing one of them to the ground.

  23. Scott A says:

    Yet another reason to let less teams into the playoffs. It must be frustrating to be a fan of a team that wins the title and then listening to people lessen the accomplishment. Why can’t MLS see this? Ugh

  24. Thor says:

    FCD was out played had the ref. called the PK early in the first hald Colorado would have won more decisiviely.

  25. Emerald_City_Jason says:

    Yup. Ci-Ci is a d-bag. May he never get another call-up, and may last night be the last time he has anything to celebrate in life.

    Totally concur about G-John. He didn’t cost them the Cup, because they wouldn’t have been in the Cup without him. Feel bad for the guy.

  26. boosted335 says:

    Deserving or not; you gotta love a player who is willing to shoulder that kind of responsibility/blame.

    He couldve made excuses or blamed his teamates for getting beat but he didnt.

    Throughout the season John has been (other than Hartman) the most consistently good player on the team (Ferrira dissapeared in a few games) And despite winning every challenge vs. Casey and Cummings he will be painted as a bum to every casual fan / observer who picks up a newspaper, watches sportscenter, or logs onto to an internet sports page… It is what it is.

    It takes character and skill to succeed at this level and the next and John has both in spades. Heres to him and FCD comming back stronger than ever.

  27. boosted335 says:

    FCD didnt play their game. Not sure if it was Colorado neutering their game plan(doubt it) or if it was nerves.

    Harris (other than than the first play of the match) stunk up the joint along with Shea.

    SH aka The butta leatha sensei was slow in making adjustment/subs….

    not impressed with either team really. It wasn’t until after the “own goal” that the game finally got exciting. shame FCD didnt put their best foot forward. Instead it just seemed they were waiting to get beat.

  28. Dudeinho says:

    Man that was one of the ugliest finals i’ve ever seen.

    One of the worst i hoping for an exciting game considering these two teams history and having a shot at a championship.

  29. Wayno says:

    One of the worst MLS games that I’ve ever watched. It looked like two high school teams playing boom ball. Not a good showing for the MLS. There was rarely a build up and both teams could not string 3 passes together in the second half. Movement off the ball was poor as well. MLS has a long way to go.

  30. Big Chil says:

    Lot of griping and sour grapes here. It was an exciting back and forth match, especially early, and in the second overtime. Colorado maintained better possession for the most part, in my opinion.

    Playoffs are as American as apple pie and Mexican food. The NFL team with the best record, or the MLB team with the best record are not automatically awarded the championship. They have to play for it, and that’s what playoffs are about.

    Colorado totally deserves its MLS Cup win. Can’t wait to see more of them next year.

  31. RB says:

    “quite frankly, they’re a much better team when actually playing the game.”

    So they just didn’t bother to play either game against the Rapids earlier in the season, either? Because this was actually their 3rd attempt to beat the Rapids this year. You’d think if they were a much better team, they’d win at least 1 game out of 3…

  32. Brad says:

    I was at the main Rapids supporters bar for this game(my ears are still ringing)…and as soon as we won it, I said to my friend that we will continue to be disrespected for this win. Complaining about this win only shows that most americans still dont understand or truly appreciate all aspect of this sport.

    Perhaps we need to have a better system to pick the refs who will help decide the winner by red carding anybody that uses their body to defend or we could make sure that each team gets at least one kick from the spot. Or better yet, maybe its time to change the rules of soccer to ensure higher scoring games like hockey did. Perhaps we should only allow 1 midfielder in the def 18 yard box at a time or it results in a free kick. (sorry about this paragraph Ives)

    The one thought I will leave you with is that after Ferriras goal(which was spectacular) when was the next time you heard from him? I only can think of a few set pieces that didnt amount anything. As far as I am concerned, what Larrentowitz did to the MLS MVP is a work art. And lets not forget that the Rapids held fast during the final 10 mins with 10 men.

    Defense wins championships!!!!!!!!

  33. greenlightwilly says:

    Now there’s an astute observation. In case anyone doesn’t know, wearing advertising makes you a bona fide, super-duper, 21st century stud.

  34. greenlightwilly says:

    Which of course is legal when the other guy has a death grip on you trying to do the same. .The point is… Kandji made the opportunity happen through skill and guts and the PRESSURE he created contributed to the goal. ….Agreed that the OG was more passive than most, but John muffed the clearance that he was out of position to make anyway.

  35. greenlightwilly says:

    FCD didn’t play ‘their game’ because Colorado disrupted it. That’s called great defending and great planning. No slight on FCD, they are a great team when you give them space to work, ala the Galaxy. Take away that space and you get what you saw last night. …Don’t believe me? Go watch the game again and tell me how often passed balls were either intercepted to cleanly tackled away. ….Actually, I was impressed with BOTH teams. Judging by that game, MLS has now gotten one step closer to legitimacy.

  36. greenlightwilly says:

    Without a doubt, the best showing MLS has ever had in a final. And many in the press share this observation. Defending on both sides was as good as it gets. Pressure was overwhelming and maintained practically until the end. Space was quickly closed and tackling was first rate. …Your impression of ‘boom ball’ may come from the Rapids frantic defensive work after their second goal and being down a man. Not pretty but not uncommon tactic and often used by the best clubs in the world under similar conditions to preserve a lead. …’Movement off the ball’ – come on, what game were you watching?

  37. Erik says:

    No, it brings money to your club so when the fans don’t show up, you have a little extra cash.

    Oh wait… that must be 19th century thinking.

  38. PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo says:

    Lest we forget, Toledo likely took his cue from Maruffo in the LAG/Dallas semifinal…he who lives by the sword shall also die from it.

  39. Brent McD says:

    Obviously you haven’t been watching MLS very long. The league continues to improve every year.