FRISCO, Texas (Saturday, April 2) – FC Dallas got a late goal from forward Tesho Akindele to finish even, 1-1, against Columbus Crew SC tonight at Toyota Stadium.
Before the match even began, FC Dallas took a hit when the league-leader in assists, Mauro Diaz was ruled out for the match with an injury he suffered in training on Friday.
FC Dallas gave up its first goal of the 2016 season at Toyota Stadium to Columbus’ Justin Meram in the ninth minute. The goal came via corner kick, curled in to the top left corner of the six-yard box by Federico Higuaín. Meram won the header cleanly, beating his marker to the predetermined spot and redirecting a header into the far side netting.
Dallas’ responded with a series of quick passes between Carlos Gruezo, Michael Barrios and Maxi Urruti in the 26th minute. The play ended with a give-and-go between Barrios and Urruti. After receiving the return pass, Barrios whistled a hard shot within inches of the back post.
Two minutes later, FC Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz was called upon to keep the deficit at a single goal. Ethan Finlay broke free down the right flank and delivered a centering pass to Meram. The midfielder had a great opportunity to make it 2-0, but Seitz stood his ground and punched away the hard shot from 17 yards away.
Ryan Hollingshead got on the end of a cross from Barrios and turned a header in off the near post in the 30th minute. Four minutes later, Fabian Castillo turned one defender inside out before firing a bending shot towards the far post. The Colombian looked to have picked out the back post but Crew SC goalkeeper Steve Clark made a diving save to his left side to push the chance out for a corner kick.
Finlay snuck in behind the FC Dallas defense and chested down a long pass played over the top of the defense in the 43rd minute. The winger looked certain to score but Seitz charged off his line to snuff out the attempted chip and once again, keep the home side within striking distance.
FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja opted to add more offense by bringing on Tesho Akindele for Victor Ulloa at the start of the second half.
Seitz made his third save of the match on forward Kei Kamara in the 51st minute. Three passes opened up space for the striker, who tried to beat the goalkeeper with a hard shot over Seitz’s left shoulder. Fortunately for Dallas, Seitz was in good position and punched away the shot.
Urruti dipped back into his defensive third of the pitch to steal the ball, ran the length of the field and split a pair of Columbus defenders with a pass to set up a chance for Barrios in the 58th minute. The result of the play was a contested shot inside the area for the Colombian winger. His rising, right-footed try beat his defender but the spot was covered by Clark, who punched away one of Dallas’ best chances.
Akindele leveled the match in the 77th minute after Gruezo intercepted a pass in the middle of the field and got the ball to Urruti. The Argentine stepped towards goal and ripped a shot that caught the inside of the post, rebounded back into play and struck the back of Clark, who dove in an attempt to stop the initial shot. The ball stopped a few feet from the goal line and Akindele was the first to react, scoring his first goal of the 2016 season in the simplest of fashions.
CLB – Justin Meram (Federico Higuaín) 9
DAL – Tesho Akindele 77
FC Dallas – Chris Seitz, Maynor Figueroa, Zach Loyd, Matt Hedges, Ryan Hollingshead, Fabian Castillo (Mauro Rosales 78), Victor Ulloa (Tesho Akindele 46), Carlos Gruezo, Michael Barrios (Carlos Lizarazo 88), Kellyn Acosta, Maxi Urruti.
Substitutes Not Used: Jesse Gonzalez, Walker Zimmerman, Atiba Harris, Juan Esteban Ortiz.
Columbus Crew SC – Steve Clark, Waylon Francis, Michael Parkhurst, Gaston Sauro, Harrison Afful, Wil Trapp, Mohammed Saeid (Hector Jimenez 87), Federico Higuain, Ethan Finlay (Cedrick Mabwati 79), Justin Meram (Tony Tchani 68), Kei Kamara
Substitutes Not Used: Brad Stover, Tyson Hall, Amro Tarek, Emil Larsen, Hector Jimenez.
DAL: Carlos Gruezo (caution) 78
DAL: Zach Loyd (caution) 80
Referee: Edvin Jurisevic
Referee Assistants: Frank Anderson, Jeffery Greeson
Fourth Official: Juan Guzman
Weather: Clear, 61
Attendance: 13, 174