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

FC Dallas close out win for first time in 2009
Cooper scores third and fourth goals of season for Dallas
04/19/2009 11:49 PM
By Steve Hunt / MLSnet.com Staff

FRISCO, Texas -- In each of their last two games, FC Dallas had been close to getting their first win of the 2009 season. The difference between that pair of near-misses and Sunday night's match with Toronto FC was that their latest affair ended with a 3-2 win at Pizza Hut Park.

FCD got two goals from Kenny Cooper, who now has four on the year, including a game-winning penalty kick in the 84th minute. The other goal for the home side came in the 25th minute when Drew Moor headed home a Dax McCarty free kick for an early lead.

"I thought our players played well today to pick up three goals," FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman said. "Defensively, we're still victims of little mistakes, which I think will just take time to get better. But I think all in all, the players were very inspired to get a win. We felt that we should have more than one point in these last games. The players were very focused this week in training and I think it was very upbeat. I thought they did a good job on the field and (I am) very pleased with the outcome obviously."

Cooper agreed. "It does feel great," he said. "It feels great to win. We've been working really hard and have just kept plugging away. It's nice to walk off the field with a win."

With about a minute left until the half, FCD was riding high with a 2-0 lead. Cooper had just scored to give his side a two-goal cushion when disaster struck and TFC drew one back just before the break when Adrian Serioux scored in stoppage time.

Despite that catastrophic moment, there was never an ounce of panic in the FCD locker room at halftime.

"Coming into the locker room at halftime, there weren't very high spirits," Hyndman said. "Everybody was pointing fingers and we had the game tapes, so we were able to identify what went wrong. My main thing at halftime was to keep the players' spirits up. We're still winning. Let's not get down on ourselves and not give up a silly goal."

His players were impressed by Hyndman's calm demeanor between halves.

"He didn't say much," Moor said. "When you give up a call on the last kick of the first half, that's all you really think about at halftime. He said 'Forget about it, it is what it is' and we've got to go back out there and take it to them."

Fellow defender George John offered equal sentiment.

"He told us to not let that affect us as we go out for the second half," he said. "He told us to stay positive because we were still up 2-1 and to not really let it affect our game too much. It was unfortunate that it happened, but at the same time, you can't change it. You can only control the second half."

The win was especially sweet considering that it came at Pizza Hut Park, a place where FCD won't play again until May 16 against Seattle Sounders FC.

"Home is a place where you've got to count on getting points," Moor said. "Obviously it's tough to go on the road in some of these places, so we've got to make this place a fortress. To lose our first two games was a wake up call. We've got to be stronger at home and not allow teams to come in here and get points. This has to be a place where teams don't have an easy time of it."

Cooper's final goal came courtesy of a penalty kick about six minutes from full time, after Chad Barrett had pulled TFC level at the hour mark. The call was almost identical to one that went against FCD in their season-opening loss to Chicago on March 21. FCD was also called for a PK two weeks later in New England.

So forgive Hyndman if he feels like getting a call in his favor is a nice example of karma.

"I guess what you can say is that the referees are calling them," he said. "It was nice to have one go our way absolutely. As it turns out, it's the game difference. We've given up two in the first three games. If you want to use the word karma, it was good."

His top scorer agrees that a little luck is never a bad thing.

"I think maybe you always need a little bit of luck," Cooper said. "Fortunately, we got that call. I thought we did a lot of good things today. Coach was talking about the harder we work, the luckier we will get. I think we've definitely been working hard. I know that Schellas and the coaching staff have been working very hard and it's nice to have a win to show for that."

Steve Hunt is a contributor to MLSnet.com.

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