FC Dallas were only four minutes plus stoppage time away from securing three points at Robertson Stadium for just the second time in franchise history.
But a late goal from Houston’s Colin Clark sent a tired and travel-weary FCD away with one lonely point from Saturday’s 2-2 draw, concluding what has been a busy month for Schellas Hyndman’s team.
With the tie, FCD extended their unbeaten streak to eight games and earned 15 of a possible 21 points in seven games during the month. Hyndman admitted it wasn’t an easy game.
“I thought our boys really dug deep and battled and competed in a very, very vicious environment,” Hyndman told MLSsoccer.com over the phone after the game. “We’ll continue to work on getting better, but as a coach I can’t ask for any more from the players.”
After Ugo Ihemelu’s 71st minute goal – his second career goal against the Houston side – Hyndman substituted forward Fabián Castillo with midfielder Ricardo Villar, hoping for better possession and clock management and, more importantly, three points away from home in the Texas Derby.
But a resilient 10-man Houston side drew it even when captain Brad Davis sent his league-leading seventh assist to a streaking Clark, who blasted the ball past Kevin Hartman.
“Give Houston all the credit in the world for never saying die and fighting to the end,” added Hyndman.
The draw signified the end of FC Dallas’ 531-minute shutout streak when Dynamo forward Cameron Weaver notched the equalizer right before halftime. In seven May matches, FCD gave up only three goals in 630 minutes.
But even with the team’s unbeaten ways in May and staunch defending, travel and constant preparation for the next match got the best of them late in Saturday’s game.
“I went individually to players and they said, ‘My legs were gone, I was tired,’” said Hyndman. “When you get tired – it’s hot here and we just traveled 3,000 miles from Seattle – the thing that goes is your concentration and your focus.
“This was a very, very difficult two games – and swing with three games in seven days,” added the coach. “You look at the teams – Real Salt Lake, Seattle on the road, and then coming in and playing Houston on the road – I couldn’t ask anything more from them and I think, in many ways, they have to be very proud of their effort.”
May proved to be a strong month for Dallas, who, despite missing the talents of playmaker David Ferreira, crept up to second place in Western Conference with steady defensive play and on-pitch organization.
After starting the season 0-2-1 through three games, the 2010 Western Conference champions went on a tear in May, winning four of seven games and drawing the others.
“I told them how proud I was of them and I think we set a record for the club for the month of May on points,” said Hyndman. “May has been a good month for us when you look at everything.”