By DAN KARELL
FC Dallas aren’t ready to give up on their playoff hopes just yet.
Despite playing without a recognizable striker due to one suspension and a coaches decision, FC Dallas took care of business, defeating the Vancouver Whitecaps, 3-1, on Saturday evening at FC Dallas Stadium. The hosts scored twice in the final four minutes of the match, and now sit two points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The visitors opened the match with a dream start, and took an early lead in the fourth minute. Camilo, Kenny Miller, and Daigo Kobayashi combined on a nice passing sequence before Camilo put Miller into space on the right side of the box, before centering to Kobayashi for an easy finish in front of goal, stunning the home fans.
Only four minutes later, FC Dallas hit right back. Je-Vaughn Watson was given space outside of the box and he decided to unload, striking a blast that beat Whitecaps goalkeeper David Ousted at the near post to tie the match. It was the first of many times that Ousted made questionable decisions in goal for the Whitecaps.
Midway through the first half, Jackson nearly scored a terrific back-heel goal, but his shot from a David Ferreira pass went wide. FC Dallas nearly scored again as well in the 40th minute when homegrown player Kellyn Acosta got past his defender and centered into the box, where it was awkwardly cleared by Whitecaps defender Andy O’Brien.
Throughout most of the second half, the Whitecaps defense bent, but did not break, instead holding off the host’s attacks until the 87th minute. FC Dallas substitute Jair Benitez sent a long ball forward that O’Brien failed to deal with well. From there, Eric Hassli fed forward Fabian Castillo, sent a ball into the box. Making a late run from midfield was another substitute, Mauro Diaz, who unleashed a blast on goal that Ousted had no chance of saving.
Two minutes later, Benitez ended the Whitecaps hopes of stealing a point from Dallas, as the Colombian left back launched a 50-yard strike that went over the head of Ousted and into the net, a definite Goal of the Year candidate to give FC Dallas a 3-1 lead.
Here are the game highlights: