Top matches played in DFW (Part 2)

Big games played in the Big D, all the way up to the best ever

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European champions Inter Milan's visit to Pizza Hut Park is just the latest big game in Big D. Here’s part two of MLSsoccer.com’s top 10 memorable matches staged in the Dallas-Fort Worth area (click here for part one):

5. October 28, 2006: FC Dallas vs. Colorado (Western Conference Playoffs)

After FCD won 2-1 in the first leg at Colorado one week before, Colin Clarke’s club was feeling pretty confident of their chances to advance with a favorable result against the Rapids in the second and final leg of their opening-round playoff series. After a goal by Carlos Ruiz three minutes after the break, it looked rosy for the home side.

However, the Rapids’ Nicolás Hernández drew things level in the 57th and put his side ahead in the 83rd, a tally that tied the aggregate score at three goals apiece to force two 15-minute overtimes.

Clarence Goodson put FCD ahead in the 92nd, but Colorado’s Clint Mathis scored six minutes from full time to force this one to penalty kicks. The visitors drained all five PKs while FCD nailed just four, and the Rapids eliminated the Hoops from the postseason for the second straight year.

That defeat proved to be the end of the Clarke era at FCD as he was relieved of his coaching duties less than two weeks later. This match had it all: triumph, heartbreak and disbelief. It remains a sticking point for many fans.

4. July 19, 2009: Mexico vs. Haiti (CONCACAF Gold Cup)

More than 85,000 fans packed Cowboys Stadium for a two-game quarterfinal doubleheader, the first event at the sparkling, new sports palace. In the first game, Costa Rica dispatched Guadeloupe with little issue, 5-1. However, most of those in attendance were there for the main event, Mexico against Haiti.

To say the crowd was more than a little slanted towards El Tri is a big understatement. The raucous supporters created an incredible atmosphere at the NFL venue and, when Miguel Sabah scored his first of two goals for Mexico in the 23rd minute, it only got louder.

Giovani dos Santos added a tally in the 42nd to give Mexico a 2-0 lead at the break. A second goal by Sabah in the 63rd minute, along with one by Pablo Barrera in the 83rd, made this one a 4-0 final, sending the overflowing crowd home happy. Mexico went on to win the Gold Cup title just one week later by beating the United States 5-0.

3. September 15, 1971: Dallas Tornado vs. Atlanta Chiefs (NASL Championship, Game 2)

The setting for this match was Franklin Field, a small venue in North Dallas that continues to play host to numerous high school events next to Hillcrest High School on Preston Road.

After losing 2-1 in Atlanta three days prior, the Tornado entered this match facing elimination and clearly responded. With a pair of goals from Luis Juracy plus Tony McLoughlin and Philip Tinney also finding the score sheet, Dallas evened their playoff series at one game apiece with a 4-1 drubbing of the Chiefs.

It was just four days later in Atlanta that the Tornado prevailed 2-0 thanks to goals by Mike Renshaw and Bobby Moffat to bring the NASL title back to Big D. Even though they didn’t get a parade in their honor, they did get a nice shindig at the home of team owner Lamar Hunt.

2. June 18, 1987: Dallas Sidekicks vs. Tacoma Stars (MISL Finals, Game 6)

Nearly 17,000 fans packed Reunion Arena for this epic affair. The Sidekicks took an early lead thanks to a goal by Doc Lawson and led 1-0 after the first quarter. Tacoma then responded with two unanswered in the second, one by Gary Heale and another by MISL legend Steve Zungul to take a 2-1 lead. But Kevin Smith drew things level for the Sidekicks in the second at two goals apiece.

After a scoreless third, Tatu put Dallas up 3-2 in the fourth period but Preki was there to answer for the Stars. Another blast by Tatu put the Sidekicks ahead again but Zungul netted the equalizer to tie things at 4-4 and eventually force overtime. In the second overtime, it was Dallas’ Mark Karpun who ended things after over 80 minutes of play at 5-4. Dallas went on to win Game 7 in Tacoma thanks to a game-winner by Tatu and captured the MISL Championship in true storybook fashion.

1. July 9, 1994: Brazil vs. Netherlands (World Cup quarterfinals)

Nearly 64,000 fans packed the Cotton Bowl for this one. After a scoreless first half, Brazil wasted little time in breaking the deadlock as Romário scored 10 minutes into the final frame. A goal by Bebeto 10 minutes later gave them a 2-0 edge. Holland answered one minute later after Dennis Bergkamp connected, cutting it to 2-1.

In the 76th, Aron Winter netted the equalizer for the Dutch and it looked like this one might head for overtime. However, Branco had other ideas and, in the 81st, he netted the eventual game-winner as Brazil prevailed 3-2.

Branco went on to nail a penalty kick in the Seleção's championship-clinching win over Italy just eight days later at the Rose Bowl. The Cotton Bowl also hosted three matches in the group stage: a Germany win over South Korea, a Nigeria victory over Bulgaria and a surprising 2-0 win by Bulgaria over Argentina.

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