CARSON, Calif. – FC Dallas squandered an opportunity to stay in close contention for an MLS Cup playoff spot by failing to protect a lead and settled for a 1-1 draw with Chivas USA at the Home Depot Center on Sunday.
Jorge Villafaña scored a 69th-minute equalizer and Kevin Hartman was forced into three big saves in the final minutes as Dallas were forced to settle for a point.
FCD are now four points back of Vancouver for the fifth and final Western Conference playoff spot. Each side has two games remaining, which means FC Dallas must have at least one win and one draw over their final two (at Seattle, Chivas) while Vancouver cannot win of their last two (Portland, at Real Salt Lake).
Villafaña ended a near-MLS record 600-minute scoring streak for Chivas – the worst-ever mark for a non-expansion team – with a shade more than 20 minutes remaining.
Nick LaBrocca played the ball out wide right to Miller Bolaños, who had been dangerous throughout the second half. The Ecuadorian midfielder then sent a ball across the goal area that Hartman appeared to get a piece of but not enough to stop its momentum. Unmarked, Villafaña knocked the ball into the back of the net.
The goal canceled out what had been a dominant performance by FC Dallas in the first half. Just eight minutes in, left back Jair Benítez sent a long ball to the top of Chivas’ penalty area. Playmaker David Ferreira controlled it, had space and fired a shot on goal. Dan Kennedy dived and made the save, but left the rebound for Blas Pérez, who easily knocked it into an empty net for the game’s first goal.
Most of the rest of the first half was rather uneventful, but the hosts picked it up after the break. With Juan Pablo Ángel replacing José Correa, the veteran’s presence was an instant pick-me-up for Chivas. In the 66th minute, Angel tested Hartman with a potent shot from 10 yards out but FC Dallas’ Kevin Hartman made a save, diving and knocking the ball over the crossbar.
Juan Agudelo was close to giving the hosts a late game-winner as Chivas pushed hard in the closing minutes. In the 89th minute, the young striker raced down into the penalty area and fired a shot from close range but Hartman dived and made the save.
For Chivas USA, the draw breaks a franchise record seven-game losing streak, but the Goats still haven't won in 11 attempts. They next host Colorado on Oct. 20.
FC Dallas, meanwhile, have a tricky trip to Seattle on Oct. 21.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Kevin Hartman||"El Gato" was electric, especially the down stretch, with seven monstrous saves to rescue FCD's bacon.|
|2||Miller Bolaños||Hard to say if his 17th-minute header was over the line, but Ecuadorian was a sparkplug on Goats attack.|
|3||Jorge Villafaña||There goes "Sueno," living the dream again. Solid back in the lineup once again, and netting the equalizer.|