FC Dallas got a pair of goals from Jeff Cunningham two minutes apart, and while Juan Pablo Angel was able to find the back of the net late in the first half, FCD held on for a 2-1 victory Saturday at Pizza Hut Park.
In the first game for FC Dallas without leading scorer Kenny Cooper, who is with the U.S. national team for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, Cunningham delivered his first two-goal game since Sept. 21, 2008 at Chicago.
For the Red Bulls, it extended their winless streak to the last 22 league matches away from home. Their last road win in a regular-season game came more than one year ago, a 2-1 victory against the Los Angeles Galaxy at The Home Depot Center on May 10, 2008.
Cunningham's opener came in the 15th minute. Red Bulls midfielder Luke Sassano was attempting to pass the ball back to teammate Mike Petke. However, the tenacious Cunningham alertly noticed that Sassano's pass was lazy and intercepted it. After a quick cut to the inside, he buried a left-footed shot inside the left post.
Two minutes later, Cunningham struck gold yet again. Former Red Bulls winger Dave van den Bergh, who was traded to FCD in the offseason, sent in a great ball from the right flank that Cunningham quickly volleyed into the net to make it 2-0. It was van den Bergh's team-leading fifth assist and came in his first game against his former club.
New York had just 15 players available for the match and head coach Juan Carlos Osorio made several changes from his team that fell 1-0 at Columbus one week ago. Up top, Angel returned to the lineup. In the midfield, Matthew Mbuta replaced Khano Smith and in the back, Osorio inserted Danleigh Borman and Petke into the first 11.
Angel wasted little time getting involved in his side's attack with a shot in the third minute that was stopped by FCD goalkeeper Ray Burse. New York's other most notable chance of the opening half came in the 29th when Jorge Rojas took a shot from long range that forced Burse into full extension to send it over the goal and set up a corner kick for the visitors.
FCD also had their share of chances early. A fifth minute cross from David Ferreira to Cunningham was saved by New York 'keeper Danny Cepero. A similar result came on a Brek Shea effort in the eighth minute.
In the 11th minute, a nice feed from FCD defender Drew Moor to Ferreira was headed nicely by the Colombian international, but once again, Cepero was on point to make his third save of the evening.
Two minutes before halftime, Angel scored for the sixth time this season. The sequence started when Rojas held the ball nicely on the left side. He then slotted a great pass to an overlapping Borman, who quickly crossed the ball into the heart of the goalmouth. Angel had gotten behind FCD left back Anthony Wallace and tapped it into the net to make it 2-1.
Burse made a valiant effort to stop Angel's shot, getting his right hand on the ball. However, his chance was all for naught as the Colombian international's effort fluttered into the net.
FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman made one change to his team to start the second half, replacing Wallace with Blake Wagner. It was Wagner's first action since a 1-0 loss at Houston back on May 9. In the 65th minute, Eric Avila came on for Andre Rocha.
Osorio went to his bench about three minutes later when Borman came off for Smith. Borman left the pitch with a left ankle sprain. Osorio's second change came in the 79th when veteran John Wolyniec came on for Nick Zimmerman.
About four minutes into the second half, Angel looked to have tied the score when he knocked home a cross. But the flag was up for offside and the tally disallowed.
In the 50th minute, Cunningham looked to make things happen for the home side by sending a cross into the heart of the New York area. The Red Bulls narrowly averted an own goal when Sassano's attempted clearance sailed just over the bar.
Beginning in the 68th, FCD made a serious push to put the game out of reach with a third goal. A Cunningham blast from the right flank was corralled nicely by Cepero at the right post and a long range shot from Ferreira one minute later went wide right.
Cunningham almost nailed the trifecta in the 80th. His goal was nullified as the linesman's flag was up, signaling him offside. Less than a minute earlier, Cepero denied Avila for his sixth save of the evening.
Wolyniec made a nice dash up the left side in the 83rd and got a shot off that was stopped by Burse. Cepero made a nice stop of his own in the 85th, denying Ferreira up close.
New York will have next weekend off before returning to action on July 16 against the Galaxy at Giants Stadium. FCD will face Colorado at Dick's Sporting Goods Park next Saturday, the second time they have faced the Rapids in three weeks.
Steve Hunt is a contributor to MLSnet.com