Dom Dwyer scored a pair of second-half goals to give Sporting Kansas City a valuable 2-2 draw at FC Dallas on Saturday night. Tesho Akindele and Maximiliano Urruti struck on either side of Dwyer’s brace — with all four goals scored over a wild 10-minute span — as the MLS charter members played to an enthralling stalemate at Toyota Stadium.
Saturday’s result snapped a three-game road losing streak for Sporting Kansas City (10-11-5, 35 points), who remain fifth in the Western Conference table and four points clear in the playoff race. FC Dallas (13-6-6, 45 points) extended its home unbeaten run to 18 games, the sixth-longest streak in league history, to stay atop the Supporters’ Shield standings. Dwyer’s late double gives him 12 regular season goals in 2016, tied for fourth in MLS.
PAPA JOHN'S: The day after Sporting KC scores two or more goals, use promo code SPORTINGKC at papajohns.com to get 50% off each regular menu price pizza in an order placed with participating Kansas City area locations.
With Roger Espinoza and Soni Mustivar serving one-game suspensions, the Sporting Kansas City midfield included two notable changes from last weekend's defeat at the Portland Timbers. Nuno Coelho assumed the holding midfield role after recovering from a pulled hamstring, while 22-year-old Emmanuel Appiah made his club and MLS debut. Tim Melia remained sidelined with back spasms, giving goalkeeper Alec Kann his third straight start between the posts, and Graham Zusi overcame a hamstring strain to notch his first start since July 10.
Playing their first of five games in a two-week span, Sporting Kansas City kept FC Dallas off the first-half scoresheet thanks to a pair of superb stops from Kann. The hosts manufactured their first chance in the 18th minute when midfield talisman Mauro Diaz slipped a through ball to Michael Barrios down the left flank. Barrios’ ensuing cross found Maxi Urruti, but his sliding effort from point-blank range was snuffed out by a sprawling Kann. Seven minutes later, he produced another excellent save by diving at full extension to punch Victor Ulloa’s 17-yard piledriver wide of goal.
FC Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz would make a brilliant save of his own in the 24th minute. Graham Zusi’s corner kick was nodded goalward by the leaping Dom Dwyer on the edge of the six-yard box, but Seitz sprung low and stuck out his right hand to prevent the ball from crossing the goal line.
Sporting Kansas City suffered a major injury setback 10 minutes before the break when Ike Opara, making his career-high 19th appearance of the season, was forced off with an apparent ankle injury. Homegrown defender Kevin Ellis was summoned as the replacement.
The second half unfolded in enthralling fashion as both teams traded punches in search of three points. FC Dallas had played 120 minutes just three days earlier in a U.S. Open Cup semifinal win at LA Galaxy but showed no signs of fatigue after the restart. Kann proved heroic again in the 52nd minute, palming a powerful header from Walker Zimmerman away from goal before blocking Atiba Harris’ rebound from a tight angle along the right endline.
Barrios was active and involved the entire evening, and he thought he had opened the scoring in the 56th minute after side-footing low past Kann, but the offside flag had been raised. Seven minutes later, Barrios set up Urruti with a looping ball to the back post, but the forward volleyed high to the chagrin of the Toyota Stadium crowd.
The match burst to life in the 66th minute, providing a thrilling climax that included four goals in the space of 10 minutes. Akindele drew first blood shortly after coming off the substitutes bench, directing a sharp header into the back of the net for six sixth league goal as Harris was given space to cross from the right wing.
Oscar Pareja’s men held their lead for less than two minutes, as Sporting KC substitute Brad Davis made an immediate impact upon entering the contest. The veteran midfielder found a pocket of space on the edge of the box and pulled the trigger, and though the strike was accidentally blocked by Dwyer, the Englishman atoned by firing off the underside of the crossbar from seven yards to level proceedings. Just 71 seconds after his introduction, Davis had tallied his first assist in Sporting KC colors and the 123rd of his heralded MLS regular season career.
Sporting Kansas City surged ahead in the 73rd minute when Dwyer notched his fourth multi-goal game of 2016 and the club-record ninth of his career. Benny Feilhaber, captaining the club in Espinoza’s absence, tried to pick out Dwyer inside the penalty area, and though the pass was initially deflected high into the air by Zimmerman, the defender failed to clear his lines. Dwyer capitalized with lethal precision, ripping a left-footed strike past Seitz and just inside the far right post.
The second-half theatrics continued three minutes after Dwyer’s double when Maynor Figueroa’s cross from the left byline caromed off the crossbar. Urruti was on hand to apply an acrobatic finish from close range, drawing the sides even yet again. Saturday’s outcome would follow a recent pattern in the head-to-head series, as the last seven meetings between the clubs have produced 29 total goals.
The final 10 minutes saw FC Dallas twice come close to grabbing the winner. The visitors breathed a huge sigh of relief in the 82nd minute when Akindele’s chip over the onrushing Kann bounced less than a foot wide of the woodwork. Harris spurned a glorious opportunity in the 93rd minute, heading narrowly above the crossbar after Barrios had sent a high-arching ball into a crowded penalty box.
Sporting Kansas City's arduous road swing continues Tuesday when the team kicks off its 2016-17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League campaign against Central FC. The group stage match is slated for 7 p.m. CT at Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, Trinidad and Tobago, with an English-language live stream on SportingKC.com and a Spanish telecast on Univision Deportes Network. Vermes' men are competing in the continental tournament for the third time in four seasons, having qualified for the 2016-17 edition by virtue of its 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title.
2016 MLS Regular Season
Game 26 of 34
Toyota Stadium | Frisco, Texas
Weather: 91 degrees and clear
|Sporting Kansas City (10-11-5, 35 pts)||0||2||2|
|FC Dallas (13-6-6, 45 pts)||0||2||2|
Sporting Kansas City: Alec Kann; Saad Abdul-Salaam, Ike Opara (Kevin Ellis 35), Lawrence Olum, Jimmy Medranda; Benny Feilhaber (C), Nuno Coelho (Paulo Nagamura 85), Emmanuel Appiah; Jacob Peterson (Brad Davis 66), Dom Dwyer, Graham Zusi
Subs Not Used: Jon Kempin, Seth Sinovic, Connor Hallisey, Diego Rubio
FC Dallas: Chris Seitz; Atiba Harris, Walker Zimmerman, Matt Hedges (C), Maynor Figueroa; Carlos Gruezo (Ryan Hollingshead 75), Victor Ulloa (Kellyn Acosta 56), Mauro Diaz; Getterson (Tesho Akindele 61), Maximiliano Urruti, Michael Barrios
Subs Not Used: Ryan Herman, Aubrey David, Norberto Paparatto, Mauro Rosales
|Shots on Goal||5||6|
FCD -- Matt Hedges (caution; unsporting behavior) 22
FCD -- Atiba Harris (caution; unsporting behavior) 83
SKC -- Saad Abdul-Salaam (caution; unsporting behavior) 86
SKC -- Jimmy Medranda (caution; unsporting behavior) 88
FCD -- Tesho Akindele 6 (Atiba Harris 2, Carlos Gruezo 1) 66
SKC -- Dom Dwyer 11 (Brad Davis 1, Benny Feilhaber 6) 68
SKC -- Dom Dwyer 12 (unassisted) 73
FCD -- Maximiliano Urruti (unassisted) 76