Despite playing with a man advantage for nearly 60 minutes, FC Dallas saw the San Jose Earthquakes answer goals within two minutes on two separate occasions as the Western Conference rivals played to a 2-2 draw Saturday night in the final MLS game to be played at the Cotton Bowl.
While they controlled long stretches of the match, FC Dallas couldn't hold a lead long. Arturo Alvarez gave the Hoops a fourth-minute lead, but Brian Mullan equalized just two minutes later. Then after Danny Califf was sent off to leave the Quakes a man down, Chris Gbandi gave FCD another lead, but Ricardo Clark leveled the match again after just two minutes.
With both teams riding impressive winning runs heading into the game, it took on a very physical tone from the outset with five yellow cards handed out in the first half and Califf sent off for a second yellow after just 35 minutes.
Both teams had their share of possession, although Dallas created more chances. The Hoops opened the scoring in the fourth minute as Bobby Rhine served a curling cross to the back post for a left-footed volley from Alvarez.
The Quakes struck back quickly as Mullan pounced on a loose ball just outside the box where he beat Scott Garlick to score the tying goal in the sixth minute.
Following the goals both teams settled in and play began to even out, although the punishment continued.
Califf got caught up in his matchup with Ronnie O'Brien, first holding him up in the 13th minute for his first caution. Just more than 20 minutes later he was ejected after a tough slide tackle on Roberto Mina, who was on the verge of a breakaway.
Kelly Gray had San Jose's most promising chance after the goal on a free kick in the 40th minute, when he rose above the crowd in the area, but his header was wide left of the goal.
The second half was more of the same physicality, and with FC Dallas getting a lift with the addition of Oscar Pareja.
Mina's strong play from the first half continued as he brought the ball across the face of the box in the 50th minute, unleashing a tough right-footed shot that just went wide to the left side of the goal.
In the 57th minute the Hoops piled the pressure on as Alvarez made a nice turn off the left sideline to make a smooth pass with the outside of his right foot into the path of Gbandi. The left back took a touch and sent a strong left-footed shot which just clipped the inside the post to again give Dallas a short-lived lead.
But the short-handed Earthquakes showed great toughness as they came right back to tie the match in the 59th minute. Ricardo Clark received the ball at the top of the penalty area, took a simple turn and sent a rocket of a right-footed shot past an outstretched Garlick.
With the tying goal, Quakes coach Dominic Kinnear decided he would take no chances and brought on Wes Hart -- nominally a fullback -- for Mullan wide in the midfield. As San Jose seemed to settle for the tie and bunker down, Dallas increased the pressure, as the last 30 minutes was played primarily in San Jose's half of the field.
FC Dallas coach Colin Clarke -- who with a victory would have clinched the head coaching honors for the MLS team in the Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game against Fulham FC -- countered with two offensive subs, bringing in Abe Thompson and Ramon Nunez for a final push for the three points.
Dallas had several close calls off corners and through open play as the match wound down, but just couldn't convert the final pass or get the final killer touch.
FC Dallas did win a free kick in the 89th minute after Gbandi was brought down just outside the box. But the effort from Nunez was just wide to the right of the goal and with it went the last chance for FC Dallas on the night.
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Arturo Alvarez (FC Dallas)
Scott Joiner is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.
San Jose Earthquakes (6-3-7) vs. FC Dallas (10-2-4)
July 02, 2005 -- Cotton Bowl
DAL -- Arturo Alvarez 1 (Bobby Rhine 4, Ronnie O'Brien 7) 4
SJ -- Brian Mullan 1 (Alejandro Moreno 1) 6
DAL -- Chris Gbandi 1 (Arturo Alvarez 2) 57
SJ -- Ricardo Clark 1 (Kelly Gray 1) 59
San Jose Earthquakes -- Pat Onstad, Kelly Gray, Danny Califf, Eddie Robinson (Ryan Cochrane 20), Wade Barrett, Mark Chung, Ricardo Clark, Danny O'Rourke, Brian Mullan (Wes Hart 62), Ronald Cerritos, Alejandro Moreno (Julian Nash 70).
Substitutes Not Used: Jon Conway, Chris Wondolowski.
TOTAL SHOTS: 5 (Ricardo Clark 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (3 tied with 1); FOULS: 13 (Julian Nash 4); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 2 (Ronald Cerritos 1, Mark Chung 1); SAVES: 2 (Pat Onstad 2)
FC Dallas -- Scott Garlick, Drew Moor (Oscar Pareja 46), Clarence Goodson, Steve Jolley, Chris Gbandi, Ronnie O'Brien, Simo Valakari, Aaron Pitchkolan (Ramon Nunez 84), Bobby Rhine, Roberto Mina, Arturo Alvarez (Abe Thompson 77).
Substitutes Not Used: Jeff Cassar, Ty Maurin, Carey Talley, David Wagenfuhr, Alex Woods, Alex Yi.
TOTAL SHOTS: 14 (Roberto Mina 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (4 tied with 1); FOULS: 22 (Simo Valakari 6); OFFSIDES: 5 (Roberto Mina 3); CORNER KICKS: 6 (Arturo Alvarez 4); SAVES: 1 (Scott Garlick 1)
SJ -- Danny Califf (caution; Pushing, Holding) 13
SJ -- Danny Califf (caution; Reckless Foul) 35
SJ -- Danny Califf (ejection; Second Caution) 35
DAL -- Chris Gbandi (caution; Reckless Foul) 38
DAL -- Ronnie O'Brien (caution; Reckless Foul) 39
DAL -- Bobby Rhine (caution; Reckless Foul) 75
DAL -- Simo Valakari (caution; Reckless Foul) 88
Referee: Alex Prus
Referee's Assistants: Fabio Tovar; Emiliano Monje
4th Official: Kevin Terry
Time of Game: 1:51
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-92-degrees
All Statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial.