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FC Dallas Blow Another Lead, Lose 2-1 To Columbus

On a night when FC Dallas needed a full three points to keep pace with the Western Conference, the Hoops dropped an important matchup against the Columbus Crew.

With a starting lineup more closely resembling the opening day roster, Dallas walked out onto the pitch at Crew Stadium and started tentatively through the first ten minutes. After Fabian Castillo missed a chance to score on a completely wide open net courtesy of a well-placed cross, he asked to be substituted. Schellas Hyndman ignored his pleas and thankfully his decision paid off.

In the 22nd minute, Fabian Castillo took the ball down the sideline with Tony Tchani, the Crew midfielder, marking him. The ball appeared to run out of play and Tchani complained to the linesman and stopped running with Castillo. Fabian continued his run and ran clean through to goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum and, despite being closed down by the Crew centerbacks, finally scored his first goal of the season by slotting a shot past Gruenebaum. FC Dallas had finally ended its 231 minute goal drought. The replay shows that the ball clearly had stayed in bounds, making Tchani's complaints unfounded and very costly.

Dallas continued to play a physical and fast game through the first half, with temporary captain Daniel Hernandez breaking up plays with good positioning and stopping counterattacks with timely and careful fouls, none of them severe enough to draw a yellow card. Andrew Jacobson was equally important in disrupting plays in the midfield and drawing fouls in the offensive half.

The second half started with a bit of a scare, with defender Hernan Pertuz receiving a kick in the throat as the result of a very late attempted bicycle kick from Justin Mearam. Though initially in a great deal of pain, Pertuz walked off the field on his own and after a quick rest he returned to the field of play.

The wheels would soon fall off the Dallas buggy as in the 63rd minute, Zach Loyd, already carrying a yellow card, decided to pull down a Crew player and earned a second yellow card. The second yellow would turn into the first red card of his career. It was an entirely unnecessary foul and it would prove costly for Dallas in the end.

In the 66th minute Justin Mearam found himself outside the 18 yard box with tons of space in front and rocketed a well placed shot against which goalkeeper Chris Seitz had no hope of stopping, and within another five minutes, Sebastian Miranda scored on a header to put the Crew up 2-1.

Despite many attempts on net Dallas was not able to score again, though the referee at one point missed a blatant handball in the box that should have led to a Dallas penalty. The referee, Baldomero Toledo, and his linesman did not seem concerned and the play was waved on.

Despite a valiant effort by George John to head in a goal at the death of the game, an effort which was saved, the whistle blew and now the Hoops have to pick up the pieces of their season. They have gone 0-3 in May and are in serious danger of dropping to last in the Western Conference.

FC Dallas' disciplinary problems have reached an unacceptable level and while it is true some calls could have gone their way, the Toros had full control of their destiny in this game and through a combination of recklessness and poor finishing find themselves in a three game losing streak and winless in six games.

Dallas is now tied with Montreal in a dubious category. The two teams are tied for most points dropped from a winning position, with 12.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.