Case in point: midfielder Andre Rocha, who led the team in assists last year with eight in a promising debut season, yet so far in 2009 has been a disappointment. He reported to camp in very poor shape, which has limited his playing time, and he received a red card after just 11 minutes of action during a 4-3 loss to Parana in Curitiba, Brazil, on Monday.
Jeff Cunningham, Kenny Cooper and Steve Purdy scored for FCD, which squandered leads of 2-0 and 3-2 to the second division team. Another goal by Cunningham from a Dave van den Bergh cross was waived off for offside in the 16th minute, and trialist Gaspar Peaz bundled the ball into the net in a scramble with the Parana goalkeeper just before halftime but the referee whistled for a foul that wiped out the score.
After Cunningham and Cooper scored in the first half, with Cunningham assisting on Cooper's goal after polishing off a feed from newcomer David Ferreira, Parana tied the match on goals a minute apart by Gedeon (55th minute) and Wando (56th).
Rocha went off a minute later, and was replaced by Eric Avila to keep the teams at even strength. Parana had been allowed to replace Maicon after his red card in the 40th minute. Both players were dismissed for dissent. Rocha had come into the match for the second half in place of Dax McCarty, who eventually returned during the late stages under the liberalized substitution rules in effect for this game.
Purdy got his head to a van den Bergh corner kick to restore FCD's lead in the 67th minute, and again Parana responded. Wando raced up the right flank and delivered a cross into the box that Clenio finished to tie the match again at 3-3.
Eugeton scored the winner in the 74th minute, squeezing home a shot from near the right sideline that dipped just under the crossbar over keeper Ray Burse, who conceded all four goals after replacing Dario Sala at halftime.
A last-minute flurry of corner kicks yielded a shot on goal by trialist Jamie Watson that was deflected to safety and Parana held out for the win.
The preseason schedule, during which Dallas is 3-2-2, continues Wednesday with the first of two annual matches against Brazilian partner and preseason host Clube Atletico Paranaense in the USA-Brazil Challenge at Arena da Baixada.
Parana 4, FC Dallas 3
March 2 in Curitiba, Brazil
Goals: Cunningham (Ferreira) 9, Cooper (Cunningham, van den Bergh) 27, Purdy (van den Bergh) 67; Gedeon 55, Wando 56, Clenio (Wando) 68, Eugeton 74.
FC Dallas 1st Half - Sala, Wagner, Purdy, Moor, Saragosa, van den Bergh, Ricchetti, Ferreira, McCarty, Cunningham, Cooper (Paez* 42).
FC Dallas 2nd Half - Burse, Wagner, Purdy, Moor ( Pitchkolan 65), Saragosa (Dello-Russo 67), van den Bergh (Abrao* 77), Ricchetti (McCarty 73), Ferreira (Watson* 73), Rocha (Avila 57), Cunningham (Artura* 55), Paez* (Guarda 77).