FC Dallas could not hold on to a two-goal lead over in-state rival Austin FC on Saturday as the contest ended in a 2-2 draw. The outcome drops Dallas to fourth place overall in the Western Conference. The team is now one win behind Austin FC and three games behind conference-leading Los Angeles FC, whom Dallas will face this week.
Dallas was looking to rebound from a disappointing loss last week to the Vancouver Whitecaps and showed flashes throughout the early game, but it wasn’t until the 58-minute mark that FC Dallas was able to get on the scoreboard.
The first goal came on a deflected shot by Paxton Pomykal, who had missed wide earlier in the game. The deflection rolled directly to Paul Arriola, who had the empty net shot to go up 1-0. The goal gives Arriola eight scores on the season, putting him second overall behind a three-way tie for first that also features fellow FC Dallas striker Jesus Ferreira at nine goals this season.
“Once we scored the first goal of the match, it felt like we were controlling the game because they were not able to put a shot on target, and we were able to defend well,” said head coach Nico Estevez in post-game comments. “Us scoring first gave them the energy to try and come back, and this was something I had told the team last week when we played Vancouver.”
FC Dallas added to the lead in the 68th minute by capitalizing on porous defensive efforts and missed tackles by Austin. Beginning with a turnover at midfield, FC Dallas moved quickly to just outside the penalty box. Alan Velasco pushed a pass to a streaking Brandon Servania, who had just come off the bench in relief. Servania got a lucky opportunity as Austin FC defender Julio Cascante had the ball go through his legs to set up a chip shot for Servania.
“It’s nice to get back on the score sheet,” Servania said post-game. The score was his second of the season and the first since April 9. “On that play, I just, I came in to bring energy to the team and try to close it out. I got the ball and tried to make a run in behind. I tried to throw in the back line, and, thankfully, the ball came to me, and I just tried to put it away.”
The Dallas defense could not hold the lead for the full 90 minutes against an Austin team that has demonstrated an ability to come from behind and win challenging games throughout the season. Playing in relief, Moussa Djitte went full contact against defenders and managed to push a pass outside to Sebastian Driussi. Driussi caught FC Dallas goalkeeper Maarten Paes out of position and tangled with one of his own players to take the inside line for the 2-1 goal at the 72-minute mark.
Late in the match, a driving change of possession play by Austin FC saw Nick Lima take the ball wide, then pass across the goal box to perfectly set up Danny Hoesen for the diving header to tie the score at 2-2, where it would remain through the end of play.
Under the Major League Soccer competition platform, teams receive three points for a win, one point for a tie, and zero points for a loss. Had FC Dallas held on to win, they would have passed Austin FC for possession of third place in the conference, but the tie gives the in-state rival a 28-26 points lead as teams head to the mid-point of the season.
FC Dallas will travel to Southern California to face the LAFC, who currently leads the conference with a 10-3-3 record and a total of 33 points, on Wednesday. Dallas is presently holding 26 points and a 7-4-5 win-loss-tie record.