FC Dallas’ first road win of the season didn’t come easy, and it didn’t come cheap.
Tough away games are caled character builders, and with substitute Eric Avila’s sizzling low strike from 18 yards, FCD escaped Empire Field with a 2-1 victory for their first road win of the 2011 season.
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However, the win did come at a cost.
Avila entered the game on behalf of David Ferreira, who suffered a right ankle injury five minutes after the second half restart. Dallas’ playmaker was taken to a Vancouver hospital to get X-rays.
The injury occurred when Ferreira made an attacking run down the left side of the Whitecaps’ box before defender Jonathan Leathers slid in to kick the ball away from Ferreira.
Ferreira immediately went to the ground and motioned for the FC Dallas trainers to come on the field.
“It’s always bad when a good player like David goes down because the whole team is wondering and worrying about what is going on,” Avila told MLSsoccer.com over the phone after the game. “But the subs came in and did a great job.”
With Ferreira unable to continue, FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman turned to Avila.
“[Hyndman] came up and grabbed me and he goes, ‘We are trying to go for the win,’” said Avila. “So I was like, ‘Yes, sir,’ and that was all he told me, that he wants to go for the win. So I came in and tried to get the team going.”
After the team conceded a goal in the 25th minute and David Ferreira missed a penalty kick shortly after, Avila and FC Dallas made everyone forget about their first-half mistakes.
George John buried a header in the 53rd minute, and, with seven minutes left to play in regulation, Avila struck for the go-ahead goal.
“The game was all choppy and luckily the ball took a bounce my way and, as soon as I got it, I wanted to go straight to the goal,” Avila said. “I touched [the ball], it felt great, and then I took a touch to the right, then I shot it.”
For the fourth-year player, the tally marked his fourth career goal, and all of them have been far from ordinary.
Each of his tallies have come in the 80th minute and beyond, with the most memorable being a scorcher against Real Salt Lake in the first leg of last year’s Western Conference semifinals to help FCD advance past the powerhouse.
And while Avila is normally used as an offensive, energizing substitute, three of his four career goals have been either game-tying goals or game-winning goals.
For his exploits on Saturday, Avila earned Hyndman’s praise.
“He got a break-out of the right side, went in, struck a hard ball to the far post, and put us up 2-1,” Hyndman said. “We were able to hold on, so a good performance by Avila.”