So much was going so well for so long in Wednesday's match against the Portland Timbers that FC Dallas looked like they were going to finish the first half of their season on a two-game winning streak.
But in a span of 15 minutes, all of that went out the window and the team was left staring at another set of ejections and a 2-2 draw that felt like a loss.
“We played a great half, the first one,” head coach Oscar Pareja told reporters. “In the second one, we tried to control the game. That was what the game came up with. A team in the second half trying to push, trying to send some numbers up. We were leading the game and the plan was working.”
Continuing his success from the game against Colorado, Fabián Castillo was brilliant for long stretches of the first half, leading to the game’s first goal, and a brilliant dummy from the Colombian winger allowed Blas Pérez to score the second of the match, giving Dallas a 2-0 lead going into halftime.
The second half was back and forth, with a few close moments, but until 77th minute, it still looked like Portland were not going to be able to overcome the two-goal deficit. But then there was contact between Je-Vaughn Watson and Fanendo Adi in the Dallas penalty area and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Will Johnson converted the penalty in the 79th to make it 2-1.
“I think we maybe stopped playing from our point of view," midfielder Adam Moffat told reporters. "The score line always plays a factor. We’re up 2-0. We’re maybe a little bit tired, we’re sitting a little bit deeper. We invited them to play a little bit more. But again, we felt like we had it under control."
After that, the wheels came off. A straight red card to Moises Hernandez in the 87th minute was followed by a red card to Pérez in the second minute of stoppage time. After a flurry of chances, Portland finally got the equalizer in the fourth minute of added time.
“We are disappointed," Pareja said. "We [had] the three points and coming out with a point doesn’t make us happy. At the same time, we have to have pride in the players, they gave it all today and had great opportunities going forward.
"People enjoy how our team played tonight and that’s important. We [will focus] on that. We take the point because we have to, but everybody saw that it was not fair.”