[MLS] If the Galaxy-Red Bulls tussle Friday night is to be “The Game of the Season,” as its being ruthlessly promoted by MLS, topping the two games
played Wednesday will take some doing. FC Dallas proved once again it is the toughest team to beat in MLS by rallying from two goals down to tie New England, 2-2, and Kansas City took the comeback
theme one step further by beating Houston, 4-3, after trailing, 3-1.
Jeff Cunningham notched his 130th MLS goal in the 93rd minute to cap a two-goal FCD comeback in the last 13 minutes, and Josh Wolff struck in the 97 th minute to finish off a three-goal salvo that began well after halftime.
Of course, neither game appeared on national TV, nor featured a Designated Player. None of the four teams are as sexy or alluring as Los Angeles and New York. But for entertainment value as well as playoff importance, they earned full marks for home teams that pulled out vital results.
Dallas (10-2-13) ran its unbeaten streak to 16 matches and with the point solidified its hold on third place in the Eastern Conference. No other team has lost fewer than four games in MLS this season and it leads the league in ties by a wide margin.
Missing vital central components Ugo Ihemelu, George John and Daniel Hernandez, FCD conceded goals by Shalrie Joseph and Ilija Stolica.
David Ferreira, who missed from the spot in the first half, started the comeback with a penalty kick in the 80th minute, and FCD equalized when Ferreira pushed an entry pass to Eric Avila and ran onto the chipped return pass to hit a cross that Cunningham banged home from just a few yards out.
Kansas City (9-9-6, 33 points) closed to within three points of the bottom two playoff spots held by Seattle and San Jose, both with 36 points. Houston ran up a 3-1 lead after 37 minutes on goals by Cam Weaver, Dominic Oduro and Adrian Serioux, whose own goal tied the game at 3-3 in the 72nd minute after substitute Teal Bunbury pounced on a poor Pat Onstad goal kick to cut the lead to 3-2.
Three Houston players took cautions in the final minutes while fending off desperate Wizards’ attacks, which finally yielded a winner when Josh Wolff got his head to Michael Harrington’s cross for only his second goal of the season.
The results further dimmed the faint playoff hopes for New England and Houston, which combined have registered 17 straight postseason appearances.
New England (7-14-4, 25 points) is sixth in the Eastern Conference and tied for 12 th in overall points; Houston (6-14-5, 23 points) is last in the West and 15th overall.
Coming off their inspired comebacks, FCD and Kansas City meet at CommunityAmerica Ballpark on Saturday, after which Kansas City has five more games. They have won four and tied one of their last five matches to re-appear on the postseason radar screen.