In the midst of their franchise-best start in 2013, it looked as if FC Dallas had exorcised one of their persistent demons from last season: an inability to close out games late. But on Saturday in Toronto, the old issue raised its head in an ugly way as they blew a two-goal lead and let TFC scored twice in the final six minutes for a 2-2 draw.
“That is something we need to address,” said midfielder Andrew Jacobson, whose rocket gave Dallas a 1-0 lead before halftime. “We put in a fantastic 85 minutes and we need to learn how to deal with it, because there will be more games where we will be up and those will be the kind of games we need to see out.”
Head coach Schellas Hyndman suggested that losing center back George John early in the second half to what he fears is a concussion was the turning point. In John’s place came rookie Homegrown defender London Woodberry, who had previously seen a single minute of time as a late substitute last month at Real Salt Lake.
Regardless of the reason, FCD know this is a problem they can’t let resurface. In 2012, they failed to win 11 of the 17 matches in which they scored the first goal. Saturday marked the second time it’s happened this season – they actually scored first in their 3-1 defeat at Chivas USA, their lone loss so far, and only a stoppage-time winner by Kenny Cooper at Houston last month keeps it from being three.
“Going forward with leads, we need to not take our foot off the pedal and keep possession,” defender Zach Loyd said after Saturday’s draw. "All the pressure we tried to absorb in the final 30 minutes was just too much to handle.”
Despite the disappointing outcome in Toronto, Loyd still feels FC Dallas’ two-week swing through the Northeast still has to be considered a success.
“We came out with four points, [so] it was a great road trip,” he said. “It was frustrating not to get the six points, but we are very happy coming away with the four points. We get two home games where we hope to win both of them and stay at the top of the table.”