FRISCO, Texas – Under certain circumstances, even a road draw against the hottest team in Major League Soccer can feel like a loss.
That was certainly the case on Wednesday night at Pizza Hut Park, where David Ferreira and Jeff Cunningham scored a pair of goals in the final 10 minutes – including Cunningham’s equalizer in the third minute of stoppage time – to erase the New England Revolution’s two-goal lead and remarkably help FC Dallas extend its unbeaten run to 16 games (8-0-8) in league play with a 2-2 draw.
The dramatic late goals prevented Dallas from losing for the first time since May 20 and pulled FCD to within three games of the longest unbeaten run in league history of 19 games, set by the Columbus Crew in 2004-05.
Considering Dallas’ recent run of form and the Revolution’s dismal record away from home this season (1-10-2 including Wednesday night’s result), a 2-2 draw with FCD would’ve been considered a decent outcome prior to kickoff. But taking into account the heartbreaking nature of the result, the Revs were anything but satisfied after the final whistle.
“We started the game well,” said Chris Tierney, who played left back and earned his third assist of the season on Shalrie Joseph’s opener in the fifth minute. “(We were) two goals up with 10 minutes to go. The effort was awesome tonight. I think had we put that effort forth in other games this year, we would’ve had more wins.”
After conceding early goals in their last two games – a pair of shutout losses to Chivas USA and the Colorado Rapids – the Revs got off to the perfect start on Wednesday night when Joseph scored his first goal of the season to give the visitors a fifth-minute lead.
Tierney was the provider, settling a half-clearance from the FCD backline and lobbing a perfectly-weighted pass over the top to a wide-open Joseph, who was kept onside by Dallas defender Heath Pearce. Joseph steadied himself and fired a low shot inside the right post, displaying the goal-scoring touch which saw him tie Kheli Dube for the team lead in goals with eight last season.
“The ball just came out off the corner and I saw [Shalrie] kind of calling for it at the back post,” said Tierney. “So I figured, lob it up to the big guy and he took a great touch and put it away. It was a good start. It’s just unfortunate we couldn’t finish out the game.”
The Revs escaped harm in the first half when Ferreira missed a 34th-minute penalty kick, and they actually increased their lead to 2-0 in the 66th minute when Ilija Stolica grabbed his third goal of the season at the end of a deadly counterattack.
But Ferreira made up for his earlier miss by converting his second attempt from the spot in the 80th minute, setting the stage for Cunningham to plunge a dagger into Revolution hearts with his 130th career goal with the last kick of the game.
There was a hint of offside on the game-tying goal – which was beautifully worked in the buildup from Eric Avila and Ferreira – but replays showed the decision was tight after Cunningham’s finish was allowed to stand.
“On the last goal, we’ve just got to try to stick with runners,” said Tierney. “We’re tired at that point in the game, but it’s no excuse. You’ve got to buckle down and finish out the game.”
Whether it’s viewed as one point gained or two points lost, the method in which the Revs found themselves locked in a 2-2 draw with Dallas is tough to swallow. Just as they’ve had to do time and again in recent weeks, the Revs must dust themselves off and prepare for another quick turnaround and a Saturday night meeting with the Eastern Conference-leading Columbus Crew.
According to defender Kevin Alston, the approach is simple.
“You’ve got to put it behind you,” he said. “Short memory.”