Even though FC Dallas left it for late in their fourth round U.S. Open Cup match, they eventually outlasted the Columbus Crew, finally taking advantage of two extra players for a 3-1 extra time victory on Wednesday evening.
"It started off a decent game, but it was a wide field on a hot night," said FC Dallas boss Colin Clarke.
Unlike his counterpart Robert Warzycha, Clarke decided to use all of his substitutions during regulation time despite the strong possibility that the match could go for another half an hour. Clarke used his fourth and final substitution with two minutes left in regulation when Clarence Goodson entered the match.
"We took a gamble," said Clarke. "We have had a lot games on the road in our busy schedule. We would have liked to have it over in 90 minutes."
The changes would greatly influence the course and result of the match.
Clarke's first substitution, Abe Thompson, scored the game-winning goal in the second session of extra time. The goal was aided by a two-man advantage, which directly led to the next replacement.
Arturo Alvarez, the second man off the substitutes' bench, was twice fouled so hard by Crew players that ejections were issued. Danny Szetela and Frankie Hejduk both earned straight reds during the first session of extra time for fouls on Alvarez.
Once FC Dallas took a two-man advantage, Clarke offered advice to his squad.
"Keep the ball and keep it moving. Spread it out and make them chase," said Clarke. "Chances would come."
As the third substitute, Eddie Johnson made his first appearance for FC Dallas since May when he suffered an injury.
"I was very happy. We got him some good minutes on the field," said Clarke. "It is very nice to have him back."
Johnson has missed the MLS All-Star Game and most of the 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup after being called into the U.S. national team. He scored for the final goal from a penalty kick after being taken down by Jamal Sutton on a counterattack.
Over the course of the night, Clarke believed the result was justified by quality of play from each side.
"It could have gone either way, but on the balance of the night, I think we deserved the victory," said Clarke.
FC Dallas now travels to D.C. United for a quarterfinal encounter on Aug. 24. United defeated the USL First Division's Richmond Kickers 2-1 on Wednesday night.
John Kuhn is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.