Vancouvering: A Dallas tradition since 2011

VANCOUVERING, n. 1 to physically react to a severely disappointed moment. 2 to lay on the ground and bury one's face in one's arms in disappointment. ORIGIN first known usage by FC Dallas' Jackson Goncalves on Sunday, 24 April 2011, 1:10 PM, Empire Field, Vancouver, BC.

Schellas Hyndman may be gone, but his rigid system of Vancouvering is still very much in place, serving as the keystone to FC Dallas' psyche. Not that we're surprised. His successor, Óscar Pareja, spent four years learning at Hyndman's side as an assistant, before taking as Dallas' Fernando Clavijo put it, a "two year vacation in Colorado."

But Pareja's back now, and he's continuing the dubious traditions first set out by the legendary Hyndman. You don't just throw away something that has brought so much success to the club. If not for a 106th minute own goal, they might have gone on to win the 2010 Anschutz Cup. And... that's about it.

Since 2011, when Vancouvering was introduced (although it didn't get a name until 2013), Dallas has "suffered" 1,715 fouls, which is 406 more fouls than the club that suffered the least fouls, Red Bull New York. We'll leave it up to you to decide why New York suffered the least fouls and Montreal was not included as they only played three of those four seasons.

That means on a season average, Dallas suffers more than 100 more fouls than the least fouled club. Sadly, Dallas are currently mired in 5th place in the foul suffering table. Pareja is good, but he's not Hyndman good, and the Hoops are without the services of Designated Player David Ferreira, who signed with Colombian side Santa Fe during the close season.

 Darren Mattocks scored his third goal in three matches. In Chicago on Wednesday, he can try to make it four for four.

Darren Mattocks scored his third goal in three matches. In Chicago on Wednesday, he can try to make it four for four.

In the 11th minute, it was number 11, Darren Mattocks, who opened the scoring. He used his sprinting ability to make the most of a brilliant through ball from Gershon Koffie. The Jamaican international took on three defenders, made room for himself in the middle, and beat Dallas goalkeeper Raul Fernandez with a powerful shot that sailed right under Fernandez's left arm.

While not exactly Vancouvering, Michel acted in the spirit of it when he suffered a foul in the 26th minute. With the ball to his left, and Darren Mattocks approaching from the right, Michel took three steps to the left, moving away from the ball so that he would collide with Mattocks' run.

Another referee would have penalised Michel for "impeding the progress of an opponent." Instead, referee Kevin Stott chose to award Dallas the indirect free kick. These things happen in the MLS, and they seem to happen with greater frequency when Dallas is the opponent.

A minute later, Blas Pérez lost control of the ball in the attacking third. He was in the kneeling position, with his right foot firmly on the ground, and his left knee down against the turf. Matías Laba took the ball and began to move away from Pérez. At this point, the Panamanian striker began to fall, appearing to grab his right knee even before he had hit the ground.

 Matías Laba takes the ball as Blas Pérez takes a knee.

Matías Laba takes the ball as Blas Pérez takes a knee.

At first, we thought that Pérez had suffered a friction burn as he brushed against the turf, but he grabbed the wrong knee. Nor are we certain why he fell in the first place. There didn't appear to be much contact. It'll just have to be a mystery, but a few seconds later he seemed to make a full recovery, running and playing with the other Dallas players. He may want to get himself checked out for an inner ear infection. That could explain his balance issue.

But then, in the 29th minute, he managed to chest a rebound down to his right foot, which he stuck in the back of the net. So whatever his current ailment is, it's far beyond our medical experience. We'll just stick to writing about sports, and leave diagnosis to the professionals. We're just not sure whether he needs to speak to a doctor, or a disciplinary committee.

While many might point to Carlyle Mitchell's mistake causing us the second, we think it a number of mistakes led to Michel's 39th minute penalty. It began with David Ousted, who had control of the ball in the box. He threw it to Pedro Morales, who was being closely marked by Dallas' Walker Zimmerman, and there was another Dallas player fast approaching.

Zimmerman won the ball in the air, sending it back into the box. Johnny Leverón had positioning, Carlyle Mitchell wanted it, and David Ousted called out for it. In the end, Leverón held back, Mitchell arrived first, with Ousted closely behind.

 Michel celebrates after being given an absolute gift to put Dallas in front, 2-1 at BC Place.

Michel celebrates after being given an absolute gift to put Dallas in front, 2-1 at BC Place.

We think that Mitchell went for it, but at the last moment noticed Ousted, tried to pull out of it, but he was already in the air. The ball hit his right arm, and a penalty was duly given. Leverón could have dealt with it. Mitchell shouldn't have changed his mind after committing to the clearance. And Ousted should have taken more care with his throw.

As a result, Vancouver managed to concede a penalty kick without having a single Dallas player in the penalty box. Adam Moffat was closest, but he did not enter the penalty area until after the ball had grazed Mitchell's arm. Michel was chosen to take it, Ousted guessed wrong, and it was an easy goal for the Brazilian.

Eager to pull even, Pedro Morales put the ball just to the left of the penalty spot, which Erik Hurtado got on the end of, but his shot went just wide. Few players on either side caught Hurtado's run, but Morales did and that's one of the many reasons that he wore the armband in Vancouver's first match since Jay DeMerit announced his retirement earlier in the week.

Vancouver started the second half started with a flurry of chances, with four blocked shots in the 50th minute, culminating in a save by Raul Fernandez. The Peruvian managed to keep the ball in play, while he had two leg, a torso, and two arms behind the line. In fact, when he landed on the ground, it took three steps for him to put a foot back onto the pitch.

But Vancouver didn't spend too much time questioning the linesman. A minute later, Morales spotted a Darren Mattocks run and put the ball just where he wanted it. With the way he passed the ball, there was no legal way for Moises Hernandez to stop it from reaching Mattocks.

So Hernandez tried an illegal way. He batted the ball out of the air with the palm of his hand, showing off his volleyball skills, and then when the referee pointed to the spot, he seemed genuinely perplexed. As Morales prepared to take the spot kick, Blas Pérez came over to shout in his ear, Captain to Captain.

It's the kind of sportsmanship that we've come to expect of Dallas, and it affected Pedro as much as it did the rest of us. Exactly 16 seconds after the last Dallas player stopped talking to Pedro, the ball was side footed into the back of the net. The score was level at two apiece, and despite a number of late chances, it would end that way.

Mitchell came close to compensating for his part in Dallas' go ahead goal in the 69th minute, when he combined with Morales on a set piece. He found space, and Morales found him, but the header bounced off the post, near the crossbar. An inch or two and it would have gone in for the winner.

 Darren Mattocks looks to the linesman after Victor Ulloa puts the ball out for a corner kick.

Darren Mattocks looks to the linesman after Victor Ulloa puts the ball out for a corner kick.

With the clock ticking down, Koffie found Mattocks in the 79th minute. As he ran towards the near side of the post, three Dallas defenders tried to close him down. Victor Ulloa got there first and was able to sacrifice a corner to stop the shot.

As Morales lined up to take the corner, Zach Lloyd pushed against Mattocks. Now, we all know that Mattocks is strong young man, but when Lloyd pushed against the striker, he barely moved, but Lloyd, poor Lloyd, he went tumbling, rolling twice, and appearing to injury his right foot in the process.

As the Curva Collective became incensed at Lloyd's theatrics, Leverón and Fernández held up their hands to them, trying to calm their understandable booing. When the corner was eventually taken, nothing came of it, though the Caps did earn themselves another one. They would repeat this a second time. Two blocked shots, and some fancy footwork by Morales later, and they finally had a shot on target. But alas, Raul Fernandez was able to make the save.

Vancouver had its chances. Oh, how they had their chances. They outshot Dallas by a margin of 30 to 10. Yes, they took 30 shots; 9 of them were on target, while another eight were blocked. Of those 30 shots, only 13 were wide of the mark, some agonisingly close. They controlled the game, having a 15% possession advantage on their Texan counterparts. And they forced the Hoops to make 26 clearances.

 Lloyd of Cascadia doesn't sound right for a football player, but he may find work in Hollywood North.

Lloyd of Cascadia doesn't sound right for a football player, but he may find work in Hollywood North.

In the end, Dallas were the happier side. An away point after going down a goal to an exciting Vancouver side is nothing to be ashamed of. And the equaliser was the result of a penalty. There's nothing wrong with that. But they could have used the three points.

Vancouver still have a game in hand and still two points behind. The Galaxy are only three back, and have three games in hand. Portland got a win later in the evening to close their gap to three as well. And there's the ever improving Chivas to consider.

For Vancouver, the draw felt very much like a loss. At home to a sold out BC Place, and with the chances they're creating, they should have won this match. The win would have taken them to third place in the west, fifth in the league.

Instead, they find themselves fifth in the west, seventh in the league. But the clubs chasing Dallas are also chasing the Caps. There is still a lot of work to do. But they're doing everything right, making runs, creating chances. The only thing they lack is finishing.

And as much as we might want to single out Mattocks for missing a number of chances, it's difficult to complain after he had a hand to play in both goals. He has improved this year with his off the ball play, his passing, his decision making. Once he finds his finishing again, he will again show why he was chosen second overall in 2012. Until then, he's still a better player than he was last year, and in his inaugural campaign.

Morales put in a masterful performance, managing 12 shots of his own, five of them on target, conducting seven corners, scoring a goal, and finding his teammates with a number of quality passes, crosses, and otherwise helping them with some off the ball movements.

 Our all. Our honour. Our Morales.

Our all. Our honour. Our Morales.

He wore the Captain's armband, leading by example, as his predecessor, Jay DeMerit had when he wore the cherished blue and white stripes. Although it's by no means certain that he will carry on wearing the armband, he probably is the right choice.

He makes his teammates better by marshalling the midfield, watching for runs, and timing his crosses to perfect. He is quick to celebrate with his teammates when things are going well, and is always there with a hand on the shoulder when they are not.

Although language may prove an issue in these early days, it will come in time. Pedro Morales is a class above. He is a Designated Player, having played in his native Chile, Croatia, Spain, and now in the MLS. At 29 years of age, he is at the wrong edge of his prime. But he still has many years left in him, and if we're lucky, it's going to be a beautiful sunset.

On Wednesday, the Caps head from the Windy City to meet up with their old friend, Matt Watson, and his Chicago Fire. Their next match at BC Place will be on August 10th when they host the reigning Anschutz Cup holders, Sporting Kansas City.

Click here to open Christopher Vose's fullscreen slideshow.