FRISCO, Texas — In 2010, the FC Dallas coaching staff wrote the phrase “Refuse to Lose” on the dry erase board in the club’s locker room.
Based on Milton Rodríguez’s last-minute heroics in Tuesday night's US Open Cup tilt against USL side Orlando City, the team’s mentality has not changed since its run to MLS Cup last year.
“I think that one of the characteristics of FC Dallas is to never give up, to always think you are going to win, and always searching for the result,” said Rodríguez, who headed home the game-winner of a 3-2 victory in the 94th minute. “They tied us in the 90th minute and we won right after, so that shows that we are a team that always fights and fights for the victory.”
Dallas entered the four minutes of stoppage time up 2-1, but a 20-yard volley strike from Orlando City midfielder Yordany Álvarez tied the game at 2-2.
“I’m sure it was one of the better strikes he’s had in a while,” veteran goalkeeper Kevin Hartman said.
Many teams would fold and play to get to extra time but not FC Dallas.
“Initially, I thought profanity in my head,” said center back Ugo Ihemelu. “Then I was like: 'Give them credit — good goal.’ And then honestly I was like: ‘We still got time. Lets try and get one before this goes into extra time.’”
And get one FC Dallas did.
With only moments remaining in stoppage time, Jackson — who earlier scored his third goal in as many games for FC Dallas — sent a perfectly placed cross to Rodríguez, who snapped it past Lions goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo for the game-winner.
“I was really, really impressed with giving up that lead so late we came back and found a way to get a win so quickly,” said Hartman. “When they scored, I didn’t think there was going to be that much more time so for us to get it in before having to go to extra time was huge.”
FC Dallas hadn’t won a Lamar Hunt US Open Cup match July 1, 2008 and now find themselves hosting Real Salt Lake in the quarterfinals on July 12, four days after playing a league game against RSL in Sandy, Utah.
The USOC victory was the second in head coach Schellas Hyndman’s tenure. The 2010 MLS Coach of the Year started the tournament game with seven starters from Saturday’s 4-0 win over the Portland Timbers.
“When you look at the players we had on the field, this is a very serious competition for us,” stated Hyndman. “Anything with our owner’s name on it should be serious. I’m really happy with the boys.”
Added Hartman: “It’s something that we are really excited about — playing in bigger matches. I think that we are really excited to put ourselves into position to host the next round and really try to make a run at this thing.”