Editor's note: Observer.com contributor Justin Bitner got drunk and admitted to being a soccer fan, so we made him attend Wednesday's FC Dallas match against Tauro FC of Panama, FCD's fifth game of CONCACAF Champions League play.
Yes, soccer still has ties. After a battle that sportscasters would definitely call "chippy," FC Dallas hung on to a 1-1 tie after scoring its lone goal in the 27th second -- second! -- of the game. Too bad, too, because they had more chances to score than a moderately famous athlete in a room full of drunk Kardashians. ZING.
Cruz finally settling in. Recently acquired midfielder Daniel Cruz seems to have found his pace, Wednesday's night's game is any indication. After spending his first handful of matches perfecting the art of dribbling into a tackler, Cruz put his well-coiffed stamp on this match with precise passing and quality shots. His whirling roundhouse goal in the 27th second made a ninja faint in a nearby tree,
Key guys need to hurry and get healthy. With talented attackers Marvin Chavez, Brek Shea and Fabian Castillo sidelined with injuries, FC Dallas's shorthandedness is rivaling the Cowboys' secondary, a clause that guarantees more comments on this post about football than futbol. Their absence was sorely felt in the waning moments Wednesday, as Dallas couldn't quite connect on several close chances.
Kevin Hartman seems to be on another planet. In 5.5 games of CCL play (one match rained out at half), the Human Highlighter has allowed one goal. On a penalty kick. (Editor's note: We think Hartman is the goalie?)
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Small Panamanian army brought in. Considering the precisely 2,000 mile span between Frisco and Panama City, Panama, the thirty or so Tauro supporters who turned out Wednesday were a robust crew. Armed with several drums and what was possibly a lute, the small pocket of fans unleashed a symphony unfettered by the restraints of rhythm for the duration of the match.
These guys are gassed. After playing matches in four different countries over the last month and a half, the Hoops have passports that make Carmen Sandiego look like the ladies from Grey Gardens. (I mean, what the hell, right? We're already talking soccer. Why not drop a Grey Gardens reference?)
Their thinness of tread was evident in the final minutes of the match, and even in the postgame presser, where Coach Schellas Hyndman quipped, "I think it was a lot easier for you (reporters) than it was for them out there." Maybe, coach, although you try eating hot dogs, typing, and googling "Where is Panama again?" Shit ain't easy.
There are even more soccer games. This Saturday night, FC Dallas faces New York Red Bulls in match that will feature a tribute to tragically departed former player and broadcaster Bobby Rhine. Kickoff will be at 7:30 p.m., with Brek Shea, MLS Commissioner Don Garber and members of the Rhine family leading the March to the Match from the Londoner at 7.