Fire frustrated by late Ruiz strike

Up until the final seconds of the match, FC Dallas defender Clarence Goodson had been almost as threatening an attacker as Carlos Ruiz. But in those final seconds, Goodson flicked on a long ball that sent Ruiz free into the penalty area, where he dodged past Chicago keeper Matt Pickens and slammed a shot through two defenders into the net for the tying goal. Chicago, seeking its first win ever in Dallas, instead settled for 1-1 tie that improved its record slightly to 8-10-7 and left it with only two-point lead over Columbus and Colorado in the race for eighth place in the overall standings. All three teams have five games to play.

Goodson played up top in the final minutes as a sputtering Dallas attack, for which Brazilians Ricardinho and Denilson were only occasionally effective, tried to cancel out a long-strange strike from Chris Rolfe in the 56th minute.

Rolfe, who had been sidelined for more than two months with a severe ankle sprain, netted his first goal since May 12. He played on the right side of midfield as the Fire, for which Cuauhtemoc Blanco and Paulo Wanchope contributed only sporadically, held off numerous Dallas attack thanks to some sharp saves by Pickens.

FCD keeper Dario Sala also did his share. He sailed to tip a Bruno Menezes blast wide of the post, but could do nothing when the ensuing corner kick came to Rolfe, who rifled a shot from about 25 yards out.

Goodson forced an excellent reflex save from Pickens with a diving header from an amazing outside-of-the-foot serve by Arturo Alvarez in the 78th minute. Ten minutes later, only a desperate sliding block by C.J. Brown prevented Goodson from equalizing as he pounced on the rebound of a Pickens save on Ruiz.

But on this night El Pescadito wouldn't be denied, and he peeled away from pressure to collect Goodson's flick and drill his seventh goal of the season. The point keeps Dallas (12-9-4) within sight of Western Conference leader Houston and second-place Chivas USA.

Both teams get back to it Sunday. Chicago hosts D.C. United in another must-get-points match after Colorado and Columbus play on Saturday, and Dallas hosts the Galaxy.

Sept. 20 in Frisco, Texas
FC Dallas 1 Chicago 1.
Goals:
Ruiz (Goodson) 93+; Rolfe 56.
FC Dallas - Sala, Moor (Oduro, 81), Goodson, Serioux, Gbandi, Alvarez, Ricchetti (Pitchkolan, 46), Toja, Denilson, Ruiz, Thompson (Ricardinho, 64).
Chicago - Pickens, Brown, Segares, Robinson, Pause, Armas, Blanco (Soumare, 83), Rolfe (Carr, 75), Menezes, Barrett (Gutierrez, 66), Wanchope.
Yellow Cards: FC Dallas - Goodson 53, Serioux 67, Toja 69; Chicago - Segares 31.
Referee: Jair Marrufo.
Att.: 15,059.

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