By IVES GALARCEP
When Blas Perez’s shot nestled into the net in the 59th minute at BMO Field on Saturday, the 2-0 lead on the scoreboard seemed an insurmountable hurdle for a Toronto FC team that looked lost for the first 45 minutes of Saturday’s match vs. FC Dallas.
Perez’s goal was one of the few second-half bright spots for Dallas though, as Toronto FC controlled play and applied constant pressure looking to make a game out of what threatened to become a blowout. An FC Dallas mistake gave TFC some life before Darel Russell salvaged an otherwise forgettable performance with one of the best goals you will see in MLS this season.
An 85th-minute goal from Justin Braun cut FC Dallas’ lead in half, then Russell erased the rest of that lead with a 90th-minute blast from 20 yards out to help TFC salvage a 2-2 draw on Saturday afternoon.
Russell collected a pass near the top of the penalty area and blasted a curling shot just inside the far post to earn a point for TFC on a day when they looked like they might be blown out.
FC Dallas controlled play in the first half, and took the lead on an Andrew Jacobson goal, but an injury to defensive leader George John just before halftime set the tone for a change of fortunes for TFC in the second half.
The home team slowly took control of the match after halftime, but Dallas extended their lead to 2-0 when Perez latched onto a long pass from Jackson and rifled home a 60th-minute strike.
Dallas looked like they would hold on to their lead until the 86th minute, when goalkeeper Raul Fernandez came out for a cross from Hogan Ephraim only to have Matt Hedges head it into the air. Braun positioned himself to chest in the loose ball into an open net as Fernandez failed to recover in time.
That goal gave TFC life and they kept on pressing for an equalizer, and nearly had one in the 88th minute when Darren O’Dea forced beautiful one-handed save from Fernandez. Russell came through with a last-minute equalizer, striking a perfect shot that curled away from Fernandez and tucked inside the far post with considerable pace.
What did you think of the match? Impressed with TFC’s comeback? Surprised to see FC Dallas falter late?
Share your thoughts below.