FRISCO, Texas – FC Dallas staged a gutsy comeback to thwart the San Jose Earthquakes’ playoff chances, pulling off a 2-1 win at Toyota Stadium on Sunday night via goals from Mauro Diaz and Victor Ulloa.
The win for Dallas came with substantial help from a red card, however, after Matias Perez Garcia was sent to the locker room in the 67th minute with the scored tied 1-1 for slapping the back of Diaz’s head as the duo ran up the field in transition.
The victory wasn't enough to earn FCD the Supporters' Shield, thanks to the New York Red Bulls' win at Chicago, but it does send the Texans into the postseason on a high note. Dallas will watch this week's knockout-round playoff matches to learn who they will face in the Western Conference semifinals next weekend.
With their playoff hopes on the line, San Jose struck first, thanks to some strength, balance and fancy footwork from Quincy Amarikwa. Midfielder Fatai Alashe sent a ball from the sideline off the chest of Chris Wondolowski, caroming the ball to the feet of Amarikwa. The 27-year-old shrugged off a challenge from Zach Loyd and cut toward the center of the penalty box, sliding a low shot to the left of a diving Jesse Gonzalez.
But even with the Red Bulls up 2-0 on the Fire at that point, FCD showed edge and determination to find an equalizer in the 38th minute. Fabian Castillo cruised up the left flank and, in his trademark style, turned on the jets to blaze past Marvell Wynne into the penalty box.
The winger fired a cross into a congested group of players, with the ball bouncing and finding the feet of Diaz. The 24-year-old Argentine softly lobbed the ball over the scrum and into the net for the equalizer – his eighth goal of the season.
Though the halftime score was 1-1, both squads had ample chances to add more goals throughout the opening 45. Dallas defender Je-Vaughn Watson fired a rocket from outside the right corner of the penalty box just left of the post in the 16th minute.
Michael Barrios nearly found an equalizer in the 24th minute as well after streaking into the right portion of the penalty box. But after Diaz put the ball at Barrios’ feet, the Colombian winger was met by Clarence Goodson, who made a pinpoint slide tackle to thwart the Dallas chance.
Wondolowski nearly doubled the Quakes’ early 1-0 advantage twice. In the 21st minute, he directed a corner kick right into the breadbasket of Gonzalez. He also received a ball following a pile-up on the FCD side in the 33rd minute, but after working over to the left side of the box, his shot again found the mitts of the young Dallas ‘keeper.
Once Perez Garcia was ejected in the 67th, it only took Dallas 10 minutes to capitalize on the advantage. After Goodson intercepted a long pass from Diaz, Ulloa dislodged the ball from his feet and got it to Castillo at the top of the San Jose box.
Castillo rewarded Ulloa by slipping him the ball, and the Dallas Homegrown fired it past an approaching David Bingham to give Dallas the decisive 2-1 lead.
Barrios later looked to have added a third goal for Dallas, but he was flagged for offsides.
Dallas finish their season with 60 points, only falling short of the Shield due to RBNY's superior goal differential, while the Quakes finish in seventh place in the competitive Western Conference with 47 points, four shy of a postseason berth.