Thearon W. Henderson
Letting Two Leads Slip Away
The stage was set for FC Dallas. Coming off the thrilling win over Vancouver, FCD was just two points out of a playoff spot with four matches to play. On this night, Dallas faced the daunting task of traveling to San Jose to face the Earthquakes who were undefeated at Buck Shaw Stadium this season.
The "Goonies" were slam dunk Supporter's Shield favorites, but that didn't matter much to FC Dallas. A very nice early goal from Alan Gordon put San Jose ahead, but a poacher's effort from Blas Perez tied things up at half. That's when the news trickled in that Vancouver had only managed a draw against Seattle, meaning a Dallas win would propel Schellas Hyndman's squad into a playoff spot for the first time since very early in the season.
Dallas went for it, with David Ferreira and Perez combining to give the team a priceless with less than 20 minutes to play. Late game goals allowed was the bugaboo of the Dallas defense all season, and sure enough a Steven Lenhart effort tied things up in the 83rd minute.
But wait! Matt Hedges capped a wonderful rookie year by blasting one home off a scrum in the box to put Dallas ahead again just before stoppage time! If Dallas could just see off the six minutes of stoppage, they'd hold their playoff destiny in their hands for the first time in quite awhile.
David Ferreira sprung Fabian Castillo on a 1v1 with the Colombian unable to finish the chance and sure enough, San Jose found a 95th minute equalizer to break Dallas' hearts. FC Dallas would not win a game the rest of the season, slumping to a pair of draws against Chivas USA and a loss to Seattle. Had Dallas managed to escape Buck Shaw Stadium with a win, I'm convinced the playoff dream would have been realized.
So why did I pick this game out of all the blow leads this season?
I just think it perfectly typifies the FCD season. A rough start, but fantastic fight in the team to claw back into things giving fans hope only to have it snatched away at the end. This game clearly was the straw that broke the camels back as FCD wouldn't win again in 2012 and I'll always look back at this one as the one that got away.