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FC Dallas tops Haitian National Team in Friday scrimmage; raises $3,000 to aid Haitian Federation

April 23, 2010 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
FC Dallas News Release

FRISCO, Texas - FC Dallas supporters and Haitian nationals found themselves on the same side Friday night during a 5-1 FC Dallas win over the Haiti National Team at Pizza Hut Park's Field 4.

Nearly 400 fans gathered among the grassy sideline on blankets and lawn chairs and passed a pair of black cowboy boots around, collecting $3,000 to aid the Fédération Hatienne de Football, which lost both its building and more than 30 people during the country's devastating Jan. 12 earthquake.

"We all want to give our heartfelt sympathy," said FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman following the game. "We can't even imagine what they must be going through with their families; what all they've lost in their country. I know some of the players made donations, but more important we had a purpose out here today in fellowship of soccer players and it was really special for us at FC Dallas."

The San Antonio Sports Foundation teamed with T Bar M Resort and Conference Center in New Braunfels, Texas, last week to bring the Haitian side to Texas where they are training for two and a half weeks in preparation for a May 5 game against the Argentine national team.

"It's totally a fresh perspective of not taking things for granted from the very breath we have to the value of family and the importance of community - that's what we're all experiencing," said Johnny Polk, director of camps at T Bar M. "(The Haitian team has) gone from body language and facial expressions full of total hurt, devastation and loss to now they have eyes of hope and a conviction that they can make a difference, that they are important. So now they feel valued. It's the right thing to do."

Dallas picked up the first tally of the night in the contest's 5th minute after a Haitian defender tried clearing a cross from Brek Shea, eluding his own goalkeeper for an unfortunate own goal. Just three minutes later, Haiti picked up the equalizer on a set play when a free kick found Gemsley Joseph for the header at the near post. Mere seconds later, Dallas rookie Jason Yeisley broke on a one-on-one with his defender, beating the offside trap and slotting the ball past the keeper for a 2-1 Dallas lead.

Yeisley struck again in the 31st minute leaping to direct a sharp header inside the near post off a corner kick from Eric Avila. Dallas picked up a fourth goal in the final minutes of the first half when the Haitian goalkeeper batted a corner kick away, only to have his own defender send the rebound into the back of the net.

The second half became more of a possession game with Dallas maintaining control throughout. Haiti had its best chance of the half in the 60th minute when Belfort Kevins broke through the back line, but his quick shot sailed over the crossbar. Dallas' Peri Marosevic pushed the score to 5-1 with a right-footed strike from about 20 yards out that crossed the front of the goal and slipped inside the far post in the 74th minute.

"I thought it was a great game," said Hyndman. "It was intense from the beginning to the end. We're always looking for a chance to get our younger players the opportunity to play and I thought they really played well today. Not only technically getting some nice goals, working off the ball, but also tactically in things we were asking them to do. I wish we could have a game like this every week."

But at the end of the night, neither final score nor run of play were top of mind.

"It was such an awesome experience," said Yeisley. "You hear about (the earthquake) in the news and feel so far away. Just playing a friendly game against them might feel like such a small thing, but it means so much to them, and it's really special just to take part in it and be a small piece in their rebuilding effort."

Haiti's own Herb Austin, now a Dallas resident, played for the Haitian side in the 1974 World Cup and was in attendance at Friday night's scrimmage. Austin said it was nice to see his national team evolve and was pleased with how well the squad played, all things considered. But the night was more about fun and community than results.

For anyone unable to attend the scrimmage, who would like to contribute to the Haiti National Team's rebuilding effort, the group also is accepting donations online at through the San Antonio Sports Foundation, which is financing the Haitian team's stay in Texas.

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