While still winless away from home in their inaugural campaign, the new-look Chivas USA got their second quality tie in a row on the road, playing to a 2-2 draw with FC Dallas on Saturday night at Pizza Hut Park.
Esteban Arias put Chivas ahead in the first half, before Carlos Ruiz answered for the home side just before halftime. Ezra Hendrickson then again put Chivas out in front, but Ramon Nuñez again provided the response for FC Dallas with his first career MLS goal, though the Hoops have now gone eight league games (since the start of July) without a win.
A crowd featuring plenty of Chivas supporters in the third game at the new stadium had some early moments to cheer for the victory. First, a giveaway in the sixth minute gave Antonio Martinez a chance, but his shot went over the FCD goal. Then in the 10th minute Juan Francisco Palencia intercepted the ball in midfield and dribbled across the face of goal, but his shot also was off target.
Nuñez was given the start on the left of midfield as FCD coach Colin Clarke returned to a 4-4-2 formation, casting aside the three-forward system he's used most of the season. In the 10th minute a foul on Ruiz by Douglas Sequeira won a free kick, but the shot from Nuñez sailed high and over the left corner.
Eddie Johnson returned to the starting lineup, partnering Ruiz in attack, and in the 18th minute a frenzy in front of the Chivas goal resulted in a shot by Johnson that sailed over the goal.
Then in the 21st minute he dribbled past the sliding Sequeira on the left flank to connect with an open Ruiz, but his sidewinding volley bounced off the ground and sailed high and wide of the goal.
Chivas took the lead in the 36th minute thanks to some poor defensive work. Clarence Goodson's sliding clearance went straight to Arias just outside the FCD penalty area, and he sent the return blast past Jeff Cassar to give Chivas the lead. Arias wasn't originally supposed to be in the starting lineup, but gained his place when Francisco Mendoza was laid up at the hotel with a vital illness.
But the Hoops pulled level eight minutes later. Johnson rounded Armando Begines on the dribble to the right of the Chivas goal before pulling back a rolling pass in front of goal to find Ruiz for an easy tap-in for the equalizer.
After the break, FC Dallas had the first clear chance of the second half as Johnson passed to Ruiz who laid a lovely ball down for O'Brien to run on to, but his right-footed hit the outside netting.
But Chivas took the lead in the 59th minute when Ramon Ramirez drove in a corner that was flicked on by Arturo Torres at the near post. Hendrickson steamed in at the back post to push the ball over the line just before Jeff Cassar was able to keep it from crossing the line.
On the play, Cassar was injured and lay in a heap in the back of the goal as Chivas celebrated. After almost a five-minute delay, he was taken out of the game and replaced by Scott Garlick.
FC Dallas again pulled level though. A cross from Johnson on the left flank was headed for Ruiz, but knocked back out by a Chivas defender. But it was brought down by Nuñez in the heart of the penalty area and he calmly buried a right-footed blast to again tie the score.
Still searching for a first win in their new home, FC Dallas had a couple more chances, but Chivas 'keeper Brad Guzan was equal to the task.
Johnson's speed continued to create havoc as he dribbled uncontested 30 yards up the center of the field and passed to Ruiz, but Guzan saved the shot from the Guatemalan international. Then in the 76th minute Nuñez took an angled shot from the right that Guzan calmly dove to clear, but the home side couldn't find the goal they needed to end its long winless run.
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Ramon Nuñez (FC Dallas)
Ron Goode is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.