By TATE STEINLAGE
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Chad Barrett spoiled a result for Sporting Kansas City last weekend in the MLS opener against the Seattle Sounders. Saturday it was FC Dallas defender Matt Hedges who played the role of heartbreaker with his late header that helped spur the match to a 1-1 draw.
“It’s unacceptable,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said about the late equalizer.”That’s not who we are. I’m not happy and the guys know it. It’s not who we are. We’ve been very good the first five minutes of every game, the last five minutes of the (first) half, and the first five minutes of the second half — we’ve been very good. It’s not something that’s going to continue, I can tell you that.”
Hedges’ score came in the 90th minute following a questionable foul call just outside the Sporting KC penalty area. FC Dallas midfielder Michel took the free kick and curled it into the area, where Hedges met the ball with his head moments after beating Sporting KC defender Matt Besler to spot.
“We had three guys in the wall, so we had more than enough guys to cover what they had,” Vermes responded with when asked what went wrong on the FC Dallas goal. “We were snoozing.”
The equalizer came just nine minutes after Sporting KC thought they had all but received their three-points. Sporting KC defender Aurelien Collin pulled a card out of his MLS Cup heroics, skying up to meet a corner kick and heading it into the back of the net.
The two late goals came after 50 minutes of quality chances and 30 minutes of one-sided, ugly soccer. The latter was attributed to the bunkered defense FC Dallas opened with. Sporting KC spent the first half hour with the possession, with their best chance coming in the fourth minute when forward Sal Zizzo chipped a ball over the head of FC Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz towards the far post, which would eventually be cleared out of play by Hedges.
However, by the 30th minute, FC Dallas began to find their footing in the match, stringing together several shots off the counterattack and Sporting KC turnovers. In fact, the away side nearly stole a goal in first-half stoppage time thanks to a botched clearance by Sporting KC midfielder Oriol Rosell that FC Dallas forward Blas Perez took and drove just to the left of the post.
That attack continued following the halftime break, as both sides inched closer and closer towards their first goals — goals causing jubilation and heartache.
“We showed heart and that’s what I’m very proud of tonight,” FC Dallas manager Oscar Pareja ending his post-match press conference saying.
The result pushes Sporting KC to 0-1-1 and FC Dallas to 1-0-1 on the season. Sporting KC has a four day turnaround to their next match — the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals in Mexico City against Cruz Azul. FC Dallas return to action next Saturday at home against Chivas USA.
Here are the match highlights: