FRISCO, Texas – Ugo Ihemelu scored a dramatic game-winning goal almost five minutes into second-half stoppage time as the New England Revolution suffered a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to FC Dallas on Thursday night at FC Dallas Stadium.
The Revs (2-3-0, 6 pts.) were just moments away from grinding out a scoreless draw and finishing their two-game road trip with four well-earned points before Ihemelu buried a header from Zach Loyd’s free kick in the 95th minute. The loss snapped New England’s run of two straight wins, while it was the first victory for FC Dallas (2-2-1, 7 pts.) since opening day.
Flo Lechner made his first MLS start at right back in place of the injured Kevin Alston (L hamstring tightness), but the Revolution’s lineup remained otherwise unchanged following last weekend’s 3-1 win over the LA Galaxy.
Rookie Kelyn Rowe opened the scoring for New England in that match and the 20-year-old attempted to do the same in the eighth minute against FC Dallas, but his 25-yard drive was tipped wide by sprawling FCD goalkeeper Kevin Hartman.
Dallas’ early attacking forays came almost exclusively through speedster Fabian Castillo, who set up quality chances for both Blas Perez and Ricardo Villar only for both shots to end up high and wide of the mark. Castillo had a shot of his own in the 30th minute when he slipped into the right side of the box but his low effort bounced wide of the far post.
The hosts finally found the frame in the 34th minute when Brek Shea burst into the left side of the box and drilled a shot toward the far post. Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis was up to the challenge, however, making a fantastic kick save and directing the ball out for a corner kick.
It was the visitors who were on the front foot to start the second half and Saer Sène forced Hartman into a save at the near post with a tight-angle drive in the 57th minute. A pair of attack-minded substitutions followed as Fernando Cardenas replaced Sène in the 64th minute and Jose Moreno made his MLS debut when he came on for Clyde Simms in the 78th minute.
FC Dallas almost found the game winner in the 87th minute when Shea’s deflected drive was labeled for the upper corner, but Reis was at full stretch to make an acrobatic save and tip the ball over the crossbar.
Reis could do nothing to stop Ihemelu’s header deep into second-half stoppage time, however, as the hosts took advantage of a set piece opportunity. From the right of goal, Loyd curled a free kick to the back post, where Ihemelu escaped his marker and scooped a header over Reis to hand FCD the full three points.
After opening the season with four of their first five matches on the road, the Revs return home next weekend for a meeting with Eastern Conference rival D.C. United. Kickoff from Gillette Stadium is set for 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 14.
New England Revolution at FC Dallas
April 5, 2012 – FC Dallas Stadium (Frisco, Texas)
FC Dallas 1, New England Revolution 0
FCD – Ugo Ihemelu (Zach Loyd) 95+
New England Revolution: Matt Reis, Chris Tierney, A.J. Soares, Stephen McCarthy, Flo Lechner, Lee Nguyen, Shalrie Joseph ©, Clyde Simms (Jose Moreno 78), Kelyn Rowe, Ryan Guy (Jeremiah White 88), Saer Sène (Fernando Cardenas 64)
Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Shuttleworth, Diego Fagundez, Darrius Barnes, Alec Purdie
STATS: Shots 12, Shots on Target 5, Corner Kicks 2, Saves 3, Fouls 4, Offsides 2, Passes (percentage) 504 (74.4%), Possession 58.4%
FC Dallas: Kevin Hartman, Hernan Purtuz, George John (Matt Hedges 71), Ugo Ihemelu ©, Zach Loyd, Fabian Castillo, Carlos Rodriguez, Andrew Jacobson, Ricardo Villar (Bobby Warshaw 64), Brek Shea, Blas Perez
Substitutes Not Used: Chris Seitz, Bruno Guarda, Bryan Leyva, Andrew Wiedeman, Ruben Luna
STATS: Shots 13, Shots on Target 4, Corner Kicks 5, Saves 5, Fouls 12, Offsides 0, Passes (percentage) 354 (69.5%), Possession 41.6%
NE – Shalrie Joseph (caution) 64
NE – Chris Tierney (caution) 79
FC Dallas – 2-2-1, 7 pts.
New England Revolution – 2-3-0, 6 pts.
Referee: Juan Guzman
Assistant Referees: Ian Anderson, Adam Garner
Fourth Official: Baldomero Toledo
Weather: Clear and 72 degrees