Entering FC Dallas’ game with the Seattle Sounders on Thursday, Jeff Cunningham had yet to score from the run of play this year. Two penalties on the night didn’t change that stat, but they did earn FCD a 2-2 draw.
The second spotkick came in the 94th minute, after rookie sub Jason Yeisley was taken down in the Seattle area. The Sounders got goals Steve Zakuani and Fredy Montero, who blasted in a stunning 41-yard freekick.
Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid made three changes to his first 11 from last weekend’s win over Kansas City at Qwest Field. In the midfield, David Estrada and Brad Evans started for Pat Noonan and Peter Vagenas. Up top, Roger Levesque was in for Freddie Ljungberg.
After controlling possession for much of the early stages of the game, the home side broke through 27 minutes in, taking a 1-0 lead off Cunningham’s first penalty kick.
The FCD striker had created the foul himself, chasing down a loose throughball, rounding defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and tumbling over Seattle goalkeeper Kasey Keller. Referee Terry Vaughn quickly pointed to the spot, and Cunningham buried his shot for his second goal of the year.
FCD continued to control the flow until Zakuani drew things level in the 39th minute. The Sounders speedster was sprung down the left by Osvaldo Alonso. Zakuani won the footrace with rookie right back Zach Loyd, and curled his shot into the right side of the net to level the score. It was a nice finish, though Dallas fans will question goalkeeper Dario Sala’s positioning on the shot.
Halftime saw Keller, who had experienced blurred vision after the collision with Cunningham, replaced by backup Terry Boss. Boss, brother of NFL tight end Kevin Boss, was making his league debut.
From the start of the second half, Seattle played inspired football. They exerted considerable pressure that paid off in the 55th. A freekick whistled about 40 yards from goal was whistled in by Montero. The Colombian striker struck the ball perfectly, bending it over the wall and into the upper left corner of the net.
FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman began making changes in the 65th minute, bringing on Eric Avila, followed by Brek Shea and rookie forward Jason Yeisley. The last insertion paid dividends in stoppage time when Yeisley tried splitting two Seattle’s center backs in the box. The two defenders collapsed on the young striker and he tumbled over, eliciting another point to the spot from Vaughan. For the second time, Cunningham converted, again to the lower left side, saving a point and keeping FCD undefeated at home. Seattle, meanwhile, remain winless on the road.
DAL - Jeff Cunningham 2 (penalty kick) 27’
SEA - Steve Zakuani 2 (Osvaldo Alonso) 39’
SEA - Fredy Montero 2 (unassisted) 55’
DAL - Jeff Cunningham 3 (penalty kick) 94’
DAL -- George John (caution; Reckless Tackle) 7’
SEA -- Tyrone Marshall (caution; Reckless Tackle) 21’
SEA -- Fredy Montero (caution; Reckless Foul) 44’
DAL -- David Ferreira (caution; Reckless Tackle) 85’
SEA : Keller (Boss), Riley, Hurtado, Marshall, Gonzalez,
Estrada (Noonan 69), Evans, Alonso, Zakuani, Levesque, Montero (Ljungberg 78)
FCD: Sala, Loyd (Yeisley 81),
Ihemelu, John, Benitez (Shea 73),
Harris, Ferreira, Hernandez, McCarty (Avila 65), Pearce, Cunningham
Referee: Terry Vaughn
Referee's Assistants: Sean Hurd; Jason Cullum
4th Official: Alejandro Mariscal