There's no denying FC Dallas failed to capitalize on chances on Wednesday night at San Jose, from the first minute through the 95th minute. It’s the last chance, however, that everyone will be talking about.
With Dallas trailing 2-0 to the league-leading Earthquakes late in the match, a team that hasn’t given up in a game yet this year staged another comeback.
Defender Hernán Pertúz headed home a Jackson free kick in the 89th minute and Zach Loyd drew a penalty just seconds later to give FCD a shocking chance at rescuing an unexpected point from Buck Shaw Stadium.
Inexplicably, defender Jair Benítez, without an MLS goal to his name in 83 games for the club, stepped up and set his left-footed effort over the bar, sealing a 2-1 FC Dallas loss in a wild ending coming well after midnight back in Dallas.
“Unfortunately, Brek [Shea] is the one who normally takes our PKs and we subbed him out," FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman explained to reporters. "[David] Ferriera is another one that has taken PKs and [Daniel] Hernandez is another one that has taken PKs. So we were looking at potentially three different players and the question became who can do it.
“In hindsight, we probably should have went with one of the other two.”
It’s typically San Jose who have made the late comeback their trademark this year, having recovered 11 points from games where they were trailing at halftime. But a strong, late push from the visitors nearly saw the leaders succumb to the Dallas pressure.
The dropped point is a bitter disappointment for a Dallas side carrying a four-game unbeaten streak and needing every point they can get to stay alive in the playoff race.
“Unfortunately that final touch, we just couldn’t finish, and I think that was the tale of the night,” defender Zach Loyd said. “They finished the opportunities and we didn’t capitalize on ours. ... When you play the best team and away on the road you’ve got to finish those chances early."