Down 2-0 with just over 20 minutes to play, it appeared as though FC Dallas’ winless drought in league play would stretch to four games — a first in their 2011 campaign.
But then the incredible happened.
After Ugo Ihemelu seemed to redirect a Daniel Hernandez free kick for FCD’s first score in the 70th minute, winger Brek Shea provided two perfectly weighted crosses to goal scorers Maicon Santos and Bobby Warshaw, who gave FC Dallas a memorable victory in front of a sold-out crowd at Livestrong Sporting Park.
WATCH: Full Match Highlights
“I don’t think anybody should ever expect FC Dallas to give up,” manager Schellas Hyndman told reporters after the game, “and I think tonight was an example of great leadership and character.”
Less than 48 hours after leaving Canada, where they defeated Toronto FC 1-0 in CONCACAF Champions League group play, Hyndman’s squad fought for the entire 90 minutes and stoppage time to collect their first league win since July 31.
“We knew we needed to win,” said Warshaw, a rookie, moments after scoring the game-winner and his first career professional goal. “We’re still in this [Supporters' Shield] race and we’re still going to keep fighting.”
Warshaw entered the game right after Omar Bravo put Sporting up 2-0 and with one minute left in stoppage time, the Stanford product headed home the clincher on a lively cross from Shea, crediting the US national-teamer for impeccable service.
“That’s why Brek’s the man, right?” Warshaw said before wishing his father, Allen, a happy birthday. “He can win you a game at any moment. When Brek gets the ball you know he is going to do special things. You work hard and you get in the box and you hope good things happen.”
For Shea, 2011 has been marked by his goal-scoring achievements. The Texas native has 10 goals — third-best in MLS — but it is often forgotten that he tallied six assists in league play just a season ago.
The 21-year-old had only one assist this year entering Saturday night's match in Kansas City and he tripled his season total in the final few moments of the match. He put on a passing clinic from the left side of midfield sending in crosses to both Santos and Warshaw and dismantling SKC in their own stadium.
“At the end, Brek sent in some great quality balls,” Hyndman said. “I think the field itself wasn’t really quality enough for either team, but what it does is it really helps the attacking team and I think Brek got free a couple of times there at the end.”
For Shea, the result was an act of redemption after Sporting KC handed FC Dallas their worst home loss of 2011, a 4-1 defeat in June.
“We really wanted to come in here and get a win,” he said. “Because on a personal level, they came into our house and beat us and we wanted to do the same thing.”
Robert Casner covers FC Dallas for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @FCDallasBeatGuy