FRISCO, Texas - A dramatic goal from FC Dallas substitute Aaron Pitchkolan answered some equally late heroics from the Kansas City Wizards and gave the Hoops a stunning 2-1 victory Sunday afternoon at Pizza Hut Park.
Kenny Cooper had given the home side the lead after just four minutes, and even despite being left with 10 men after Chris Gbandi was sent off midway through the second half, it seemed as if that would be enough until Jose Alex Zotinca scored for the visitors two minutes into stoppage time.
But just a couple of minutes later Pitchkolan knocked down an attempted pass, charged down the rebound and knocked it home to keep FC Dallas undefeated on the season and end the perfect start to the season by the Wizards.
The Hoops got on the board early through Cooper and were able to maintain control of the match for much of the first half.
In the fourth minute, Ronnie O'Brien sent in a nice cross from the right side into a crowded penalty area, falling to Mark Wilson on the endline. He hooked a cross back into the goalmouth where Carlos Ruiz challenged K.C. goalkeeper Bo Oshoniyi as he came off the line to try and punch the ball away. It didn't go far however, and Cooper dove head first and sent the ball into the back of the net.
The Wizards didn't get their first shot at goal until the 24th minute by way of Josh Wolff, whose shot was well wide of the net.
Drew Moor made his first start of the season for FCD, coming into central defense alongside Greg Vanney after making nine starts last season in his rookie year. Moor came in for Clarence Goodson, who unfortunately single-handedly conceded two goals in Colorado last week, and didn't look out of place.
In the 10th minute Moor came up against former teammate Eddie Johnson, but the Indiana University product hit Johnson with a firm but legal shoulder charge that gave him the space to clear the danger.
Ruiz made his surprising return to the lineup after missing last week's match with a hamstring injury and the Guatemalan looked bound and determined as usual, making runs back into deep midfield to look for combinations and even challenging for loose balls.
As far as the return of Johnson to Pizza Hut Park, it provided a great pre-game storyline but in the end he was contained well by his former club. The only danger of the first half came in the 44th minute as Johnson found Jack Jewsbury at the back post, but the ball was high and Jewsbury was unable to put his shot on frame.
The Hoops came out with a more defensive look in the second half trying to hold the lead, but it succeeded only in allowing the Kansas City attack to find its rhythm.
In the 58th minute Johnson ran onto a nice long ball and made a run into the penalty area only to have Chris Gbandi come up big with a clean tackle to thwart the chance while Johnson was trying to hold up and wait for more support.
The face of the game changed in the 68th minute when Davy Arnaud had a promising breakaway but was pulled down by Gbandi, who grabbed him by the shoulder just outside the box for a free kick. Referee Elias Bazakos showed no hesitation in pulling out the red card, leaving the Hoops a man down.
The game opened up and was end to end for the last 20 minutes of play with Kansas City pushing numbers forward in search of the tying goal.
The Wizards finally broke through in the second minute of stoppage time. A corner kick was curled in from the right, and bounced off a Kansas City head and the heel of Josh Wolff, only to bounce out to Zotinca. He hammered a low drive through the crowded box to the back of the net to tie the match.
But late substitute Pitchkolan, nominally brought into the game to shore up the Hoops defense, hit the game-winner in the 94th minute. Twice he knocked the ball away from Wizards in the midfield before catching up to it at the top of the penalty area and, as calmly as a seasoned striker, sent a low drive toward the left-hand post that beat Oshoniyi and sent the stadium into wild celebration.
Scott Joiner is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.