WASHINGTON -- FC Dallas stretched their unbeaten record to ten games with a 3-1 victory over D.C. United. Dallas, who currently occupy third place in the Western Conference, have not lost since May 20, when they fell to Los Angeles. On the other hand, D.C. United have failed to win a match for the eighth consecutive game, continuing their run as the league's worst team.
The game between two teams going in completely opposite directions got off to a sloppy start. Neither team looked comfortable in possession in the opening stages of the match, and each side had a couple of hard tackles to give that would set the mood for the rest of the night. Eventually, it was D.C. who began to look the more dangerous team, as they created a couple of chances to score in the first half.
The chance that should have ended in a goal changed the complexion of the game. In the 34th minute, Australian striker Danny Allsopp had a golden opportunity to give D.C. the lead. All he had to do was beat Dallas 'keeper Kevin Hartman, and United would have the advantage. Instead, Allsopp's effort was too close to Hartman, and the experienced 'keeper was able to make the save.
From there, it only took two minutes for Dallas to take the lead.
"Up until that point, there was some pretty good stuff," said United interim manager Ben Olsen after the match. "But after Danny's [Allsopp] chance, we took it the wrong way."
That much was evident on the pitch. Allsopp's miss, compounded by Ferreira's goal minutes later, followed United's usual script this season. Miss a gilt-edged chance, then concede shortly after. It was clear that after that, the players struggled to respond positively from going down a goal. Even though they were down just a goal at the half, United failed to respond in the second half, conceding an early goal to Eric Alexander that saw United's players hang their heads even more.
"I was hoping for a little more life, right off the bat [in the second half]," said Olsen. "But then the second one [goal] comes, and I saw some heads go down, which is very disappointing."
Despite the disappointing nature of the loss for United, full credit must go to the Dallas players and coaches. Stretching their unbeaten streak to 10 games, Dallas had strong performances all over the field, including from Ferreira, Alexander, and Brek Shea.
Dallas responded well to the early pressure from United and were rewarded with the goal in the 36th minute. It was against the run of play at that time, but from there, the only result that looked plausible was a Dallas victory. The team came out inspired in the second half, and quickly added to their lead to put the game even further away.
And once they had that lead, Dallas was efficient in ensuring that they kept it.
In addition to the strong performance from the starters, Dallas again got another goal from Jeff Cunningham, who came off the bench again. His tally made it three goals in the past two games for the striker, all of which have come as a substitute, something that will be a clear advantage later on in the season.
With the 90th minute goal, Cunningham moved within four goals of the all-time MLS goal scoring leader, Jaime Moreno. With Moreno's tenure with United to end at the conclusion of the season, it looks likely that Cunningham will pass Moreno this season or next.
"He is doing well for us, as far as getting production," Dallas manager Schellas Hyndman said of Cunningham after the match. "And our goal for him is to beat Jaime's record. And he's closer."
Although it may seem strange that last year's league leader in goals is having to come off the bench this year, but so long as Dallas continues to win and Cunningham is producing as a substitute when it matters, Hyndman will gladly leave him on the bench.
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