HOUSTON – Frustration is the feeling for FC Dallas after giving up the lead for a third consecutive Texas Derby match, as they conceded a late equalizer to the Houston Dynamo in Thursday night's Heineken Rivalry Week showcase and settled for a draw -- like the teams’ two previous encounters.
Despite staying atop the Western Conference standings with the 1-1 result, FCD’s annoyance stems from dropping two points against a Dynamo side that came into this match on a club-record five-match losing streak.
“It's painful at the end because we had all three points,” said Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja. “We were able to take the lead and had the option to take the three points, but we give credit to the rival. They gave it their all and in one move they opened up a space that we had controlled. Today we leave two points in Houston, but we take this point and leave with our heads held high.”
Michael Barrios scored his fifth goal in as many matches to break the deadlock in the 83rd minute. The Colombian winger took advantage of an inattentive Houston defense after the substitution of Ronaldo Peña, outrunning right back Andrew Wenger and slipping the ball through the legs of goalkeeper Joe Willis.
Unfortunately for FCD, soon it was their turn to take their foot off the gas pedal, allowing Houston newcomer Peña to net his first MLS goal just five minutes later. Team captain Matt Hedges said the team just “turned off” and it’s a problem the team needs to fix if they plan to contend for an MLS Cup.
“We’re disappointed,” said Hedges. “We need to to get better at closing games out. I think this has happened a few times this year where we kind of just switch off as a team. It’s not helping us.”
The positive for the North Texans is that there is plenty of time to fix the issue. Their next match is a visit to the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday (10:30 pm ET | TV and streaming info); they will then have an opportunity to clinch this season’s derby series, and the “El Capitan” cannon that represents, when the Dynamo visit Toyota Stadium on Sept. 1.
“We knew that they were passing up a tough moment and we wanted to come here and try to take advantage of it,” said FCD midfielder Victor Ulloa. “I think we had a great performance, we got our goal and our lead. Unfortunately, we let it go, it slipped away from us and it's a learning experience for us. Better for it to happen now than in the playoffs.”