■ FC Dal­las ends in a score­less draw with Colum­bus.

Goal­keep­ers are barely tested; vis­i­tors nearly tally goal late in match

The Dallas Morning News - - Sportsday - By JON ARNOLD Spe­cial Con­trib­u­tor

FRISCO — FC Dal­las and the Colum­bus Crew bat­tled to a score­less draw Satur­day night, the first time in 30 matches FCD played a 0-0 con­test and the first home con­test in a year at Toy­ota Sta­dium in which the home side failed to score.

The Crew nearly turned the draw into an FCD de­feat with an 83rd-minute chance that Fran­cisco Higuain blazed across the face of goal, but Crew for­ward Gyasi Zardes wasn’t able to put a touch on it to knock it past FCD goal­keeper Jesse Gonzalez.

The goal­keep­ers will go home feel­ing they didn’t work hard enough for their checks Satur­day. FCD put a pair of shots on goal while Gonzalez had to make only one save. One of FCD’s ef­forts on tar­get came late when Tesho Akindele tried an au­da­cious chip in stop­page time. Crew goal­keeper Zack St­ef­fen leaped to nab the ef­fort and keep the point.

It was the cul­mi­na­tion of a sec­ond half that was stronger for FCD than the open­ing pe­riod. In the 69th minute, mid­fielder Abel Aguilar came into the game with FCD switch­ing into a 4-3-3. The change didn’t yield a no­table uptick in shots, but did re­sult in more en­ergy. FCD coach Os­car Pareja felt it was worth a tweak as his team looked for a win that would’ve kept it atop the Western Con­fer­ence.

“We wanted to have con­trol in the mid­dle. That was ei­ther we gave them the ball and wait for mis­takes and counter, or we can have the ini­tia­tive to have the ball also,” Pareja said. “With Abel, we wanted to clog the mid­dle more and have some­body in that po­si­tion in front of the cen­ter backs who has the per­son­al­ity to ask for the ball and split that zone.

“At times it worked well. I thought we found some chem­istry there and with­out be­ing very ver­ti­cal or a team [that] was creat­ing too many chances, we had more con­trol of the game. I like that.”

The most suc­cess­ful chances dur­ing the first half came from the right side of the FCD at­tack where Michael Bar­rios was able to keep Crew right back Mil­ton Valen­zuela oc­cu­pied. San­ti­ago Mos­quera sent a cross-field pass to Bar­rios that he brought down with an im­pres­sive first touch in the 17th minute. He got past Ar­tur but sent his shot into the side net­ting.

Bar­rios was in sev­eral other times, but the fi­nal el­e­ment wasn’t there. The Colom­bian strug­gled to find his team­mates when he was in a wide po­si­tion and also missed a shot at the end of the first half. Af­ter Maxi Ur­ruti lofted a pass into the area, he had the ball taken away from him in the box by mid­fielder Ri­cardo Clark.

Nev­er­the­less, Bar­rios was named man of the match af­ter caus­ing Colum­bus’ de­fen­sive is­sues in his 100th MLS start. “I think it’s all work. We had chances, but they weren’t su­per clear. We worked for them, were look­ing for them but we had a re­ally good de­fense in front of us,” Bar­rios said.

“They’re solid. The goal­keeper is a national team player. De­spite that, we had some chances we couldn’t fin­ish. The for­wards may have got­ten a lit­tle dis­cour­aged, I in­clude my­self in that, and we didn’t have the pa­tience we’ve had in other games.”

Cen­ter back Matt Hedges left the match at half­time, re­placed by Maynor Figueroa. Pareja said it was a late switch, with mid­fielder Vic­tor Ul­loa say­ing he didn’t re­al­ize Hedges had needed to leave the field un­til the team hud­dled be­fore the sec­ond half.

“It took us by sur­prise. The last min­utes of the break we re­ceived the news that Matt wasn’t feel­ing very good with a hit that he took in the first,” Pareja said. “I’m wait­ing for the med­i­cal re­port. Hope­fully it’s not se­ri­ous, but we’re try­ing to pro­tect the play­ers as much as we can, so we had to do that.”

Bran­don Wade/The As­so­ci­ated Press

FC Dal­las de­fender Mar­quin­hos Pe­droso (left) clears the ball from Colum­bus mid­fielder Pe­dro San­tos dur­ing the first half of a score­less draw in Frisco.

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