FRISCO, Texas - Big-time players show up for big-time occasions. And on Saturday night, as Pizza Hut Park opened, Youri Djorkaeff made his presence felt just as he had done on the biggest stage in the world, leading the MetroStars back to a 2-2 draw with FC Dallas.
The world champion in 1998 with France, Djorkaeff scored goals in the 47th and 53rd minutes to reply to a pair of goals from Carlos Ruiz and give his team a hard-earned point.
FC Dallas controlled much of the first half, and the Hoops drew first blood in the 31st minute as Ruiz sent a glancing header past Tony Meola from a Ronnie O'Brien cross.
"The first one Ronnie O'Brien played a good ball in there but we were too deep and never gave Tony a chance," said Metros midfielder Michael Bradley.
Three minutes later FCD doubled the score on a second goal from Ruiz through a nifty backheel flick to enter the halftime break with a commanding lead.
"We weren't as concentrated as we should have been and we gave them two goals and found ourselves in a pretty big hole," said Jeff Agoos. "We came in at halftime saying we have to challenge things a little more and become more aggressive."
When the bell rang for the second half, it was the MetroStars who came out fighting. Djorkaeff scored his first goal in the new house in the 47th minute.
"We showed some fighting spirit, and if we are going down, we are going down fighting and put them on their heels early in the second half with an early goal," said Meola. "We did a great job of coming back and showed some good heart."
After the All-Star break, MetroStars coach Bob Bradley said Djorkaeff is getting closer to full fitness. He showed just what he can bring to the club when he caught Cassar cheating up and chipped the ball over his head.
"I closed my eyes and shot," he said jokingly. "No, I looked up and saw [Cassar] up and I knew where my players were and the defense so I put the ball over his head."
The Hoops kept the pressure up as Ruiz made several runs on goal, but none really threatened Meola. Then as the match wound down Djorkaeff did everything he could to drag the rest of his team behind him for the winner.
"Before the goal, we came up short on a few chances," said the Frenchman. "That last goal, we started to have good finishes on the ball and we worked hard to tie the match."
Ron Goode is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.