April 18th, 2009 MLS FC Dallas vs Toronto FC (from MLSnet.com)

Late Penalty Kick Sinks Reds on Road
By Doug McIntyre / MLSnet.com Staff

FRISCO, Texas -- After digging themselves out of an early 2-0 hole against FC Dallas, Toronto FC looked like they might just escape Pizza Hut Park with a point. But a late handball call on defender Marvell Wynne changed all that, and Kenny Cooper's clinical penalty kick sent the visitors to their first road loss this season, a 3-2 defeat on Sunday evening.

After falling behind 2-0 in the first half through goals by Cooper and Drew Moor, defender Adrian Serioux pulled one back on the stroke of halftime and forward Chad Barrett leveled the match just before the hour mark to set the stage for the late drama.

The teams met again eight days after playing to a hard-fought 1-1 tie north of the border. But even though the match seemed destined to end in another stalemate until the spot kick was awarded seven minutes from time, this one was a more wide-open affair as the squads traded scoring chances from the outset.

FC Dallas had the game's first opportunity five minutes in off Dave van den Bergh's dangerous free kick from the right side. But the service eluded the jumping FCD players in the box and Toronto's rookie goalkeeper Stefan Frei was able to collect comfortably on the hop.

Moments after that, it was the visitors on the attack. TFC striker Dwayne De Rosario's controlled inside Dallas' 18-yard box and coolly set up Amado Guevara for a clean shot on goal, but the Honduran captain fired his attempt well over the bar.

The teams swapped attempts on goal again in a two-minute span beginning in the 11th. FCD midfielder Andre Rocha hit a 30-yard bomb straight at Frei, this just before Barrett's right-footed shot from inside the area just wide of the near post.

TFC was at it again in the 20th minute when FC Dallas 'keeper Ray Burse fumbled Sam Cronin's tailing cross and dropped it right at the feet of Fuad Ibrahim. The teenage winger played a quick square pass to Barrett, but he couldn't stab it home from the doorstep, hitting defender Moor in the chest with Burse out of position.

The home team struck first blood five minutes later. Midfielder Dax McCarty sent a perfect free kick from the left into the box, and Moor soared above everybody to power his header past Frei, putting FC Dallas ahead 1-0.

FCD doubled its advantage in the 44th minute. Forward David Ferreira picked De Rosario clean in a dangerous spot inside his own half and fed strike partner Cooper. Cooper, who finished second in MLS with 19 goals last season, unleashed a wicked low drive from just outside the box that whizzed past Frei and into the side netting.

But just when it looked like the visitors would head to the dressing room down two goals, Serioux scored from the doorstep.

An unmarked Carl Robinson collected a Guevara corner kick near the corner of the host's area and played a simple ball across the face of goal. Serioux, acquired from Dallas via trade on Feb. 24, outmuscled two defenders to stab the ball across the line.

Not surprisingly, both sides were slightly more cautious after the break.

But perhaps FCD wasn't quite careful enough in protecting its slim lead because just before the hour mark, the home team's rearguard allowed an unmarked Barrett to find an opening behind them.

Guevara's clever header off a long Ibrahim pass found the streaking Barrett, who timed his run expertly, and the striker walked in alone on Burse before firing the equalizer home.

Barrett's tally seemed to suck the life out of the hosts, who didn't recored a shot on goal in the second half until Cooper's winner.

Despite TFC's furious push forward at the end that resulted in multiple blocked and off-target shots for the visitors, Dallas survived the onslaught to pick up its first win this season.

Toronto FC returns home to face unbeaten Chivas USA on Wednesday night before Kansas City visits BMO Field on Sunday. TFC (1-2-2) plays five of its next six league games at home.

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