Most road teams that manage to score an equalizing goal with under 20 minutes remaining in a game are content to shut it down defensively, secure the tie and head home with a hard-earned point.
But when you're FC Dallas and desperately need wins to have any chance of reaching the playoffs, going for broke against the 10-man New York Red Bulls -- the team with the lowest point total in MLS -- is a very easy decision.
Unfortunately for FCD and coach Schellas Hyndman, the plan backfired on Sunday. New York's Juan Pablo Angel netted a late winner to send the visitors back to Texas not only empty-handed following a 3-2 loss, but with their postseason hopes hanging by a hair.
"This has set us back tremendously," admitted FCD's Dave van den Bergh, who scored on a wicked left-foot drive in the 72nd minute, 12 minutes after New York's Kevin Goldthwaite was sent off for violent conduct, to level the match at 2-2.
Hyndman was slightly less eloquent than his star midfielder.
"It was good win for Red Bull, and a crap game for FC Dallas," the coach said.
"Having a one-man advantage, we attacked," Hyndman explained. "They sat back and bunkered in. We scored a goal -- Dave scored a great goal -- and then we went with the attitude of winning the game because we were up a man. We just didn't take care of our responsibilities coming back and defending."
On the game-winning play, FC Dallas tried to force the ball down the right touchline. But Red Bulls substitute Macoumba Kandji picked off the pass, brought the ball inside and took a powerful shot that forced 'keeper Dario Sala into a diving stop. Angel, on the doorstep, easily tapped home the rebound and sealed the visitors' defeat.
Hyndman thought that New York might have been helped by Juan Carlos Osorio's resignation as the hosts' head coach on Friday. The win was the Red Bulls' first in 14 league matches and first of any sort since May 8.
"That's always something that's pretty interesting because players who haven't played, they get a breath of fresh air," Hyndman said.
"I kind felt that would be a bit of inspiration for Red Bull."
As for FC Dallas, time is running short to qualify for the second season, something the club hasn't done since 2007.
"We're putting ourselves in a tough hole here, losing the last couple games after we'd won two in a row for the first time all year," defender Drew Moor said. "This is a game we thought we needed to get three points out of."
FC Dallas (6-11-5, 23 points) are idle next weekend. After that, they have eight games remaining in the regular season. Half of them are away from Pizza Hut Park, where the club is now just 1-8-2 this year.
"We need to do better getting points on the road, we have to get maximum points as often as we can," Moor said.
"We're running out of games here."
Doug McIntyre is a contributor to MLSnet.com.