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Cunningham stars, Yeisley did dirty work

For the second straight home game, FC Dallas needed a goal in stoppage time to avoid a loss and salvage a point. On Thursday night, the late-game hero was Jeff Cunningham, who converted his second penalty kick of the night in the 94th minute of a 2-2 draw with Seattle Sounders FC at Pizza Hut Park.

However, if Cunningham was the star, then FCD rookie forward Jason Yeisley deserves at least a nod for his supporting role. It was Yeisley who drew a foul from Seattle’s Leo González inside the Sounders area, leading to Dallas’ second penalty in the match.

“I got the ball at my feet,” Yeisley said after the match. “I played it through the two defenders, tried to split them and they just clipped my feet on the way through. By the rules, it’s a PK. It is what it is and the ref called it. So it’s a PK.”

The Seattle side saw things differently, but regardless, FCD eked out the result, and coach Schellas Hyndman still sees plenty of positives from the team’s third draw in four games.

“I think it’s a good tie because you’re losing a game, waiting around for something to happen and you’re hoping to put the ball in the goal,” Hyndman said. “If you look at the positive side, it’s a point. We haven’t been beaten at home for I think the last 11 games and it shows a lot of character and attitude on our team to keep fighting.”

Cunningham converted his first penalty in the 27th minute after Seattle goalkeeper Kasey Keller took him down inside the visitors’ box. He drilled that opportunity to the lower left side.

However, Keller left the field at the half and did not return for the final frame due to vision problems. On the second PK, Cunningham beat Sounders backup keeper Terry Boss in similar fashion.

“The first one, I drew and I felt like I should take it,” Cunningham said. “The second one, it took a lot of courage to step up and take it. I was happy we gained a point from the game. Kasey came close on the first one. On the second one, honestly I didn’t know where I was going to go. I kind of waited last second to make a decision and am just happy [Boss] dove the other way.”           

FCD remain one of only two winless teams in the league. But there are plenty of bright spots, with the positive contribution of Yeisley being one of the brightest in the attack. Dallas outshot the visitors 14-6 on the night, but Hyndman knows his club must do better with the final touch in order to get their first win of 2010.

“I think we’re creating a lot of opportunities—we’ve just got to put some of those opportunities away,” he said. “The thing that’s probably going to be something we concern ourselves with is how to protect a lead. We’re still very offensive-minded.”