Oswaldo Alanis scored an early penalty-kick opener, but Ricardo Pepi found a second-half equalizer that ensured FC Dallas would split the points with the San Jose Earthquakes in an entertaining 1-1 draw at Toyota Stadium on Saturday.

It was an end-to-end contest with plenty of chances for both sides throughout, but neither club could find a winner in the second half due to a combination of wayward finishing and some stalwart goalkeeping from San Jose's JT Marcinkowski that keeps both sides outside the Western Conference playoff places looking in.

The visitors struck first just six minutes into the contest, via a penalty kick from Alanis, which was awarded by referee Guido Gonzales Jr. after Dallas defender Matt Hedges was whistled for a handball in his own box. The Quakes center back made no mistake with his subsequent finish, ripping his spot-kick right down the middle and into the net for a shock opener for the visitors.

FC Dallas had four good looks at the equalizer before the halftime whistle, but none quite materialized. Jader Obrian had one at the back end of a breakaway opportunity, but the Colombian's stinging shot was denied by Marcinckowski. Paxton Pomykal had another shortly after off a feed from Jesus Ferreira that gave him a clean look on goal, but his laser shot was also dealt with by Marcinkowski.

Ferreira also had a scorching shot of his own six minutes from the break, but Marcincowski stood on his head again, laying out to make a diving save to deny the left-footed effort. Obrian then had another look on the last play of the opening frame but had another breakaway opportunity saved to finish off a clinical stretch of goalkeeping from the Quakes' backstop.

Dallas would find their breakthrough equalizer, however, as Pepi continued his red-hot run of form with his 12th goal of the season. The 18-year-old cashed home a diving header, combining with fellow homegrown Justin Che, who put in a pinpoint cross for the assist.

The Quakes came just inches from jumping back on top on 58 minutes off a corner kick that found Chris Wondolowski entirely unmarked at the far post, but the league's all-time leading goalscorer rang his header off the crossbar. Ferreira then narrowly missed giving FC Dallas the lead on the other end just two minutes later with a close-range shot, but Marcinkowski came through with another huge save.

San Jose had another close look on a bizarre sequence in the 77th minute that saw Jackson Yueill crash in on goal to meet a corner kick that looked like it was bound for goal, only to inadvertently clear the ball off the FC Dallas line. Neither side managed to strike for the winner from there and the match ended in the 1-1 deadlock.

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Goals

  • 6' - SJ - Oswaldo Alanis (PK) | WATCH
  • 50' - DAL - Ricardo Pepi | WATCH

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: This was definitely a game that had more than one goal apiece in it, so both sides will probably be equally frustrated that they couldn't find a winner that would have delivered all three points. In the end, it's a draw that doesn't much suit either club, as both teams really need to start stacking up three-point results during the stretch run to get above the playoff line in the Western Conference.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: What a stretch it's been for Ricardo Pepi, who played the hero role for the US men's national team in his first senior cap and continued his torrid breakout season in MLS play with another goal. His latest strike was a big one, as it ended up saving his team from potentially taking a home defeat.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: JT Marcinkowski was absolutely massive for the Quakes, making an array of highlight-reel saves to deny FC Dallas multiple goals.

Next Up

  • DAL: Tuesday, September 14 at New York City FC | 7:30 pm ET (MLS LIVE on ESPN+)
  • SJ: Wednesday, September 15 vs. Real Salt Lake | 10:30 pm ET (MLS LIVE on ESPN+)

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