[CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] What looked perhaps on paper to be the easiest of six group games for FC Dallas turned into a frustrating 1-1 tie with Tauro FC of Panama Wednesday night at Pizza Hut Park. A victory seemed likely after just 23 seconds of play – the fastest goal in CCL history --- when Daniel Cruz turned onto a bouncing ball and blasted it into the net, but after an apparent second FCD goal was disallowed, Luis Moreno converted a penalty kick by which the Panamanian club claimed a point.
FC Dallas (2-0-1, 7 pts.) retained the lead in Group C. Tauro FC (0-1-2, 2 pts.) is last in the four-team group from which the top two advance to the quarterfinals. In the other group game, UNAM (1-1-1, 4 pts.) moved into second place by thumping Toronto FC (1-2-0, 3 pts.), 4-0.
FCD scored from the opening kickoff by pushing the ball into the attacking third, where Jackson Goncalves’ square ball eluded the Tauro FC back line for Cruz to hit first-time, but the home team failed to seize control given the early lead. Tauro FC replied almost immediately, and keeper Kevin Hartman turned away two good shots from Carlos Rodríguez.
An offside call on a header by George John in the 30th minute disallowed what replays indicated was a legitimate goal, and late in the first half a mistimed tackle by defender Ugo Ihemelu tripped Victor Mendieta in the penalty area. Hartman guessed correctly and dived to his left but Moreno’s shot snuck under his body to tie the game in the 41st minute.
Cruz nearly got on the board again early in the second half, only to be foiled on his point-blank attempt by keeper Alvaro Anzola’s reflex save. In the final miinutes, Reinel Herrera reached the rebound of a Rodriguez shot and headed it against the crossbar, and Maykel Galindo broke behind the Tauro defense but lost control of the ball at the vital moment.
In the fourth round of group games next week, Toronto FC hosts Tauro on Tuesday and FC Dallas is at home to face UNAM Wednesday.