The Colorado Rapids came to the Cotton Bowl on Wednesday with a single purpose in mind: keeping their modest winning streak alive against a hobbled FC Dallas, still riding high after last weekend's late victory against Chivas USA.
The first half was all Rapids, as the visitors passed at will and possessed the ball. But then when Pablo Mastroeni went down with an injury, the Rapids were unable to fill his shoes and so went the possession.
"Until Pablo Mastroeni came out with an injury we had control of the game and we were doing well," said Rapids coach Fernando Clavijo. "When he came out we lost our composure, we lost possession."
FC Dallas suffered an injury of their own early on, as Carey Talley came off after just nine minutes with a rib injury. Aaron Pitchkolan made his professional debut, coming on for Talley.
The Rapids immediately took control and kept the momentum, scoring a goal in the 12th minute as Chris Henderson took a corner and found the head of Jean Philippe Peguero, who ran up the middle of the box unmarked to score his second goal of the season.
"That is something we work on in practice," said Peguero. "I'm always working on my shuffling and managed to get my head on the ball."
But Mastroeni was forced off just three minutes later, and by the second half, the momentum had changed as FCD came out looking to put pressure on the visitors. Finding a sense of urgency the Hoops put the Rapids on their heels, and fresh substitute Ramon Nunez hit the pitch on all cylinders with a crossing ball to Ronnie O'Brien that he struck nicely to even the score in the 61st minute.
"The first one went through someone's legs which is unlucky," said Rapids 'keeper Joe Cannon. "We just didn't do a good job of matching their effort."
The second goal came in the 77th minute by Carlos Ruiz on a play that started from U.S. international Eddie Johnson. He played the ball to Clarence Goodson who spotted the Guatemalan, and he drilled home a shot with his right foot.
"We need to step it up defensively," said the Colorado 'keeper.
Once again looking to overcome a defeat on the road, the Rapids now move on to Chicago to face the Fire on Saturday. "They are a struggling team as we are," said Cannon.
Ron Goode is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.