FC Dallas showed their fast start this season wasn't a fluke, as they scored two goals in the final 14 minutes to overcome a quick two-goal burst from the Kansas City Wizards and earn a 3-3 tie in a wild game at Arrowhead Stadium on Saturday night.
Goals two minutes apart from Josh Wolff and Chris Klein just after halftime had given the Wizards a two-goal lead as they looked for their first victory of the campaign since the season opener. But Ronnie O'Brien and Carlos Ruiz scored six minutes apart to answer as FC Dallas maintained their record of just one loss on the season.
The Wizards took just four minutes to open the scoring, after winning a corner. Captain Chris Klein served a far post in-swinger that back Jimmy Conrad headed back across the goal where right back Sasha Victorine out-leaped two defenders to strike a forceful header from five yards out that 'keeper Scott Garlick could only bat into the right side netting of his goal.
The goal was Victorine's first with a Wizards after coming over in a SuperDraft day trade from the Los Angeles Galaxy, but it only served to heighten the visitors' efforts.
It took FCD until just the 16th minute to pull level. Bobby Rhine loosened himself from Jack Jewsbury deep in the right corner of the Wizards' end and sent in a driven cross, which was met by 21-year old sensation Eddie Johnson who sprang up between the closing Victorine and Jose Burciaga Jr. to even the match with a snapping header into the far right corner of the net.
Both sides persisted in the attack giving nary a rest to either's back line. At the half-hour mark, Josh Wolff cut a rolling pass for Klein at the top of area who stepped over the ball, leaving it for a surging Alex Zotinca. He struck a wicked roller that a sprawling to Garlick just tipped away from goal.
FC Dallas had a huge advantage in goal attempts for the half, but many didn't find the frame. One that did was a 28-yard bolt from O'Brien that Oshoniyi could only punch away for a corner.
After the open play over the opening 45 minutes, the big question was if the pace could be kept up in the second 45. It took only six minutes for the answer to be revealed as the Wizards put two quick blows to FC Dallas in a two-minute span.
In the 51st minute, Wolff won possession and sprang Klein into the Dallas area with a well-weighted pass. Klein cut in front of a retreating Rhine who tried to slow the midfielder with a mild drag on his shoulder. The veteran Klein stumbled and eventually fell, prompting referee Abbey Okulaja to call a penalty.
Taking his second penalty kick of the season, the first saved by Pat Onstad in San Jose on April 23, Wolff sent Garlick the wrong way and stroked the ball easily to his left for his third goal of the season.
A moment of hesitancy then cost Dallas a third goal, as Rhine and Garlick let a Burciaga ball from the right wing fall onto their doorstep to an unmarked Klein, who simply slid the ball under Garlick to double the Wizards lead and to earn his fourth goal in five matches.
Undeterred, Dallas wove in and out of the Kansas City defense only to be stopped -- sometimes acrobatically -- by Oshoniyi. Midfielder Carey Talley drove a bouncing header on goal in the 61st minute that Oshoniyi dove to his right to corral. Three minutes later, O'Brien hit another bomb from just outside the area that Oshoniyi went up to the left to retrieve.
Finally, in the 77th minute, O'Brien was rewarded for his determination with a goal. Receiving the ball at the top of the restraining arc via a Rhine chip and perhaps spotting Oshoniyi cheating off the line, O'Brien flicked a header that dropped into the middle of the goal to pull his side within one and set off a harried ending.
The Wizards were then bitten by an old nemesis, Guatemalan international Ruiz. Receiving with his back to defender Nick Garcia, Ruiz spun and carved out enough space to fire a left-footed shot under Oshoniyi to pull the sides level at 3-3.
Hoping to reclaim the advantage and ward off a bad aftertaste, Wizards coach Bob Gansler inserted two-time MVP Preki into the match in the 84th minute in his first appearance of 2005, but the move was to no avail as the teams left with a share of the points -- Dallas perhaps celebrating like a victory, while Kansas City was left wondering what happened.
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Ronnie O'Brien (FC Dallas)
Robert Rusert is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.
FC Dallas (3-1-2) vs. Kansas City Wizards (1-1-3)
May 07, 2005 -- Arrowhead Stadium
KC -- Sasha Victorine 1 (Jimmy Conrad 1, Chris Klein 1) 4
DAL -- Eddie Johnson 4 (Bobby Rhine 1) 16
KC -- Josh Wolff 2 (penalty kick) 51
KC -- Chris Klein 4 (Jose Burciaga Jr. 1) 53
DAL -- Ronnie O'Brien 2 (Bobby Rhine 2) 77
DAL -- Carlos Ruiz 3 (Ronnie O'Brien 3) 82
FC Dallas -- Scott Garlick, Bobby Rhine, Clarence Goodson, Greg Vanney, David Wagenfuhr, Richard Mulrooney, Ronnie O'Brien, Simo Valakari, Carey Talley (Arturo Alvarez 68), Eddie Johnson, Carlos Ruiz.
Substitutes Not Used: Jeff Cassar, Steve Jolley, Ramon Nunez, Oscar Pareja.
TOTAL SHOTS: 21 (Ronnie O'Brien 7); SHOTS ON GOAL: 11 (Ronnie O'Brien 6); FOULS: 14 (Simo Valakari 3, Greg Vanney 3); OFFSIDES: 1 (Carlos Ruiz 1); CORNER KICKS: 4 (Richard Mulrooney 2, Greg Vanney 2); SAVES: 2 (Scott Garlick 2)
Kansas City Wizards -- Bo Oshoniyi, Sasha Victorine (Preki 84), Jimmy Conrad, Nick Garcia, Jose Burciaga Jr., Chris Klein, Jack Jewsbury (Khari Stephenson 69), Kerry Zavagnin, Alex Zotinca, Josh Wolff, Davy Arnaud.
Substitutes Not Used: Dustin Branan, Justin Detter, Will Hesmer, Ryan Pore, Brian Roberts, Scott Sealy, Shavar Thomas.
TOTAL SHOTS: 10 (Josh Wolff 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Alex Zotinca 2); FOULS: 10 (Davy Arnaud 3); OFFSIDES: 6 (Davy Arnaud 4); CORNER KICKS: 3 (Chris Klein 2); SAVES: 8 (Bo Oshoniyi 8)
DAL -- Ronnie O'Brien (caution; Reckless Foul) 26
KC -- Khari Stephenson (caution; Professional Foul) 75
DAL -- Carlos Ruiz (caution; Dissent) 90
Referee: Abiodun Okulaja
Referee's Assistants: Kermit Quisenberry; Kenneth Kaplan
4th Official: Michael Kennedy
Time of Game: 1:52
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial.