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Kenny Cooper, George John the difference for FCD

Mar 17, 2013, 3:12 PM EDT

Cooper-Dallas

FRISCO, Texas – Two men made the difference for FC Dallas in Sunday’s Texas Derby – and the men from North Texas will need more of this while they get some other issues sorted out.

Center back George John was huge in Dallas’ defense. Again. And he scored a goal.

And Kenny Cooper (pictured) did exactly what he needed, finding that little something extra to score his first goal in a second run-out in FCD colors. His late game-winner gave the home team a 3-2 win over Houston in the Texas Derby as Major League Soccer’s rivalry weekend continues.

Dallas has some midfield issues to sort out. Well, and some in the back, too, mostly in communication between the back line and new goalkeeper Raul Fernandez, who absolutely must provide better information to his defenders if this MLS things is going to work out for him.

Dallas took a 2-0 halftime lead on two set-piece strikes. One came from John, who continues to be the rock of stability on a back line where more than a few things keep going wrong.

It was like this late in 2012, too, as rookie Matt Hedges was pressed into starter’s duty due to Ugo Ihemelu’s ongoing concussion-related issues.

John’s afternoon battle with young Dynamo striker Will Bruin was among the afternoon highlights at FC Dallas Stadium. John more than held his own in the feisty set of clashes. (Unfortunately, Bruin left with an apparent knee injury in the second half; we’ll hope for the best on that one.)

Cooper was the Bruin of a few years ago. His first two games back in Dallas produced little, and the questions were surely coming about how much of the man’s 18-goal season last year in New York was about playing alongside Thierry Henry.

He needed to make a difference – which he did with Sunday’s late game-winner.

The rest of Dallas on Sunday. Meh?

Blas Perez, debuting for the year after serving a two-game suspension, won a lot of balls as a target striker. And Dallas midfielder Jackson did give the Dynamo back line some trouble.

Otherwise, David Ferreira was disappointing. Michel and Hedges made their share of mistakes. The 4-2-3-1 was OK in defending, but moving the ball from front to back was an absolute adventure.

More on this one later at ProSoccerTalk.

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