FRISCO â" With its playoff chances on the line, FC Dallas needed a win Saturday night â" and midfielder Julian de Guzman provided the heroics.
Through 90 minutes of play, it looked as if FC Dallas would have to settle for a scoreless tie. But in the sixth minute of stoppage time, De Guzman calmly collected the ball and ripped the game-winner from 20 yards out, giving FC Dallas a 1-0 victory over Vancouver at FC Dallas Stadium.
The victory moved Dallas within one point of fifth-place Vancouver for the final Western Conference playoff spot. The Whitecaps have played one fewer game.
âWe went into the game with the mentality that we needed a win and a tie wasnât good enough,â Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman said. âWe needed to get the three points to close the gap to make it a one-point difference.â
As De Guzman ran to midfield to celebrate his first FCD goal, his teammates ran over and piled on top of him. Goalkeeper Kevin Hartman, who recorded his sixth shutout of the season, turned toward his net, pumped his fist and then appeared to say a prayer. The Whitecaps remained standing near their goal, some with their hands on their heads and others starring off in disbelief. They had just lost their fifth consecutive game.
De Guzman was traded to FC Dallas (9-12-9) in July in exchange for midfielder Andrew Weideman. Hyndman spoke highly of that trade Saturday night.
âWe got a great deal from Toronto,â Hyndman said. âI donât want it to be just a goal that we recognize Julian for; heâs really been very good for us since heâs been here. Heâs been a big asset to the team.â
The Whitecaps (10-12-7) produced few quality scoring opportunities. It was evident that they were content with a 0-0 tie in a defensive battle. They managed only one shot on goal and were aggressive defensively the entire night, which led to them being given four yellow cards.
Dallas, who earned its fourth victory in seven matches, finished with three shots on goal. Brek Shea, David Ferreira and Blas Perez each had quality scoring chances. Perez appeared to have the game-winner in 89thÂ minute but was ruled offside as his rebound found the back of the net.
Ferreira was stopped on a penalty kick and Shea sailed a shot just over the crossbar in the first half.
âBoth teams absolutely went for it,â Vancouver coach Martin Rennie said. âThe fans got their moneyâs worth. The guys put a lot in the game. I felt like we deserved a bit more. Everybodyâs very disappointed.
âDallas put a lot in the game tonight and got a goal in the end.â