Playing a man down for two-thirds of the match, FC Dallas extended its unbeaten streak to 15 games—tied for the second-longest run in MLS history—with a gutty 2-2 draw against New York at Pizza Hut Park last night.
It was a strange and edgy game with a straight red card, two injuries, a bizarre play involving Thierry Henry, and a stellar performance by an unheralded rookie—all in the first half.
The second half did not disappoint, either.
Milton Rodriguez opened the scoring for Dallas 24 minutes in, and after new Red Bull signing Mehdi Ballouchy equalized in first-half stoppage time, Henry attempted to kick the ball in celebration—but there was just one problem: it was at keeper Kevin Hartman’s feet.
Hartman’s right foot was turned open and not prepared for impact, so when Henry laid into the ball, the Dallas backstop went down in a heap with a sprained MCL.
Hartman, who’s been one of the best keepers in the league in recent weeks, was unable to continue in the second half.
It was a freakish play, but at the same time, Henry should have been more aware before unleashing on a dead ball. He was carrying a yellow at the time (his first in MLS) and he could’ve easily drawn another one. Dallas has said it will ask the league to review the incident.
Henry tried to apologize to Hartman as the teams walked off at halftime, but Hartman appeared both uninterested and irritated.
That capped a first half that saw Dallas midfielder Daniel Hernandez limp off with a non-contact hamstring injury (he was replaced by Dax McCarty) and 20-year-old winger Brek Shea sent off—with a straight red—for a heavy, two-footed tackle from behind on New York right back Chris Albright.
Also of note in the first half: Eric Alexander—a rookie out of Indiana—cleared a bouncing Dane Richards shot off the Dallas line, and assisted on Rodriguez’s goal.
The game became increasingly chippy after Shea’s straight red, and verged on getting out of control in the second half, a period in which the Red Bulls failed to exploit their man advantage and put the game away.
Dallas showed excellent discipline and tactics, sitting back and defending well, while at the same time picking their spots to go forward.
One such spot arose in the 68th minute, and Alexander seized it with a great run, blowing past the New York defense and slotting a goal inside Bouna Coundoul’s near post, giving 10-man Dallas the lead with 22 minutes to play.
With a goal, an assist, and a goal-saving clearance, the 22-year-old Alexander was your man of the match.
But the rookie’s goal did not end up being the match-winner, as Lindpere sent in another excellent cross in the 82nd minute, looking for second-half sub Juan Pablo Angel. Dallas defender Jair Benitez headed it into his own goal for the final 2-2 margin.
That highlight below, and click here for full match highlights:
This was a tie but had to feel like a loss for New York.