FC Dallas and the Seattle Sounders faced off this past Sunday in Texas. Texan native Clint Dempsey is always someone to watch anytime he returns to the Lone Star State. But his time on the field Saturday was cut short, and his team could be in some trouble.
Deuces Wild – FC Dallas Victory, Clint Dempsey Blunder
Saturday afternoon was a humid one in Frisco, TX. Storms were on the horizon, but the only thing that mattered was soccer. FC Dallas and Seattle were both looking for strong starts to 2018 after CCL hiccups. Fans rushed into the stadium (mostly late, including myself) predicting a heated affair. But I don’t think anyone predicted what was to come.
First Half Fireworks (Good and Bad)
FC Dallas really came out strong and were on the front foot early. 20 minutes in, Michael Barrios was fed down the right side and attacked into the box. Seattle’s Roman Torres was caught ball-watching as he tracked back, and Roland Lamah slid in behind him. Barrios drove a ball across the box past Torres, and Lamah had a simple tap-in.
It was only 17 minutes later that the game would change drastically.
Seattle would have a spell of possession in the Dallas half and a chance at goal. The shot was blocked, and the ball was cleared out for a throw-in. As both teams got their shape, Dallas’ Jacori Hayes was down on the ground in pain. Play stopped while he was tended to.
VAR to the Rescue
As this happened, the referee received communication from the fourth official that something had happened on the previous play. He blew the whistle for a VAR review, and ran to the touchline to review the play. Most Dallas fans would agree when I say that VAR has not been our best friend, so most of us were a little concerned. As Hayes was helped to his feet, the head official didn’t take long to review and came right back to where he was earlier. He approached Clint Dempsey and calmly flashed the red card for the Seattle attacker. A roar came over the stadium as confusion set in. It was one of those moments of joy where you aren’t sure what happened, but it benefited the team so, hooray! Dempsey sarcastically applauded the referee, and slowly made his way off the field. Everyone rushed to Twitter to try and catch a replay of what just happened.
As Seattle took that shot in the Dallas half, Jacori Hayes tried to get goal-side of Clint Dempsey. Hayes appeared to put his arm around Dempsey to get in front of him, and he was swiftly met with an elbow to the mid-section.
Man Down and Man-Handled
Seattle was never the same after the sending off. Dallas ended up with 10 shots on goal and won 3-0. Stefan Frei made some fantastic saves throughout the match to keep his side alive, but his offense was missing Dempsey.
FC Dallas would continue their attack down the wings, and substitutions later would increase that dangerous attack. Seattle really had no outlet going forward, as Dallas controlled the tempo and the match.
Dempsey will have to miss the next match for Seattle. His side will go into their bye week this week, as they will prepare to host the Montreal Impact on the 31st. Dempsey will have to wait and see how the review committee handles his actions from Saturday. I’m guessing this could be a 2-3 game suspension and a decent fine. The biggest problem will be his absence, as Seattle already has a long list of injured players working to get back into the 18.
FC Dallas looks ahead to Saturday’s midday match-up with the Portland Timbers. New head coach Giovanni Savarese will look to his core strengths in Diego Valeri and Fanendo Adi as they seek their first win in 2018.
Last Word – Respect
It’s always a little bittersweet seeing Dempsey back in Texas. Most fans heckle him, as they should with an opposing player. But a part of me always wishes Dallas would have picked him up at some point. Still, the Hunt family would have never shelled out the money for him post-EPL. His time in England was well-deserved and his talent will never be doubted. As a born and bred Texan, I’m proud and honored to have witnessed one of the greatest talents our state has produced. He has created some of the greatest moments for our country on the biggest stage. Nothing but respect for the man from Nacogdoches. God bless Texas, and God bless Clint Dempsey.