FRISCO, Texas — With the help of their Colombian contingent, FC Dallas produced a thrilling come-from-behind 3-2 victory over a 10-man Colorado Rapids in a thrilling affair at FC Dallas Stadium on Saturday night.
Dallas’ Colombian trio of David Ferreira, Jair Benitez and Fabián Castillo combined for all three of the team's goals, while Colorado found strikes from another Colombian, Jaime Castrillón, and Jeff Larentowicz.
Castrillón also went into the books a second time when he drew a straight red card in the 71st minute for kicking out at FCD defender George John, leaving the Rapids down a man for the final 19 minutes.
FULL BOXSCORE AND LINEUPS
Colorado took the lead in the 12th minute through some usual suspects. Hunter Freeman’s ball in to Brian Mullan looked as if it was headed for a goal kick, but the winger was able to beat Julian de Guzman to the get to the pass just before it crossed the end line. Mullan's first-time cross was smashed home by Castrillón for his team-leading sixth goal of the year and Mullan’s team-leading seventh assist.
The visitors were nearly gifted a goal in the 22nd minute when Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman attempted to challenge for a ball with Rapids forward Omar Cummings some 30 yards from his box. Cummings rounded him and decided to shoot into the empty net from distance but his shot bounced wide and over.
Despite Dallas holding a 62 percent advantage in possession in the first half, Colorado nearly doubled their lead in the 34th minute had it not been for Hartman. The 'keeper came up huge for FCD, making a sprawling double save on Cummings - including a one-v-one from 12 yards out - to keep the game within reach.
Cummings and the Rapids would come to rue those missed chances, as Dallas turned the game on its head with a eight-minute flurry late in the first half and early in the second.
The home side found their equalizer in the 41st minute through Castillo. De Guzman played a ball to Castillo at the top of the box and the 20-year-old attacker did the rest, blasting a low right-footed shot past Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens to level the score. For Castillo, it was his third goal of the season and second straight game scoring against Colorado.
FCD took the lead less than three minutes later from the unlikeliest of sources. Castillo was fouled by Drew Moor 35 yards from goal and Benitez stepped up to the ball. Playing in his 87th MLS game, the FCD left back found the back of the net for the first time, curling the free kick over the wall, past Pickens and inside the near post to give Dallas a sensational 2-1 lead heading into the break.
Dallas' most famous Colombian got in on the act early in the second half. In the 49th minute, Ferreira received a pass from Castillo, turned and slotted the ball past Pickens for an emotional first goal since returning from his long injury layoff.
But Colorado didn’t go down quietly. The Rapids pulled to within a goal in the 55th minute in what quickly became a wild match. The visitors won a free kick about 30 yards from the goal and Larentowicz smashed a low drive that snuck through a crowded box and off the post to score his third goal of 2012 in fantastic fashion.
The Rapids' hopes for a fight back, however, suffered a blow in the 71st minute, when Castrillón earned a red card for lashing out out John. The FCD center back tripped over a felled Castrillón, and the Colombian midfielder took offence to the incident, responding with what looked like a kick to John's face. The referee wasted no time in reaching for his pocket to pull out the red card.
Dallas saw out the match with some last-ditch defending in the final minutes to seal a crucial 3-2 victory and the season series over Colorado.
With the win, FC Dallas pull into a tie for sixth place in the Western Conference, seven points behind the LA Galaxy with a Wednesday night trip to Vancouver coming up (10 pm ET, MLS Live).
Colorado, meanwhile, slump to eighth place in the Western Conference, returning home for a tilt against Chivas USA next Saturday night (9 pm ET, MLS Live).
COL - Jaime Castrillon 6 (Brian Mullan 7, Hunter Freeman 4)
DAL - Fabian Castillo (Julian De Guzman) 41
DAL - Jair Benitez (unassisted) 44
DAL - David Ferreira (Fabian Castillo, Julian de Guzman) 48
COL - Jeff Larentowicz 3 (Martin Rivero 7) 55
COL - Hunter Freeman (caution) 38
COL - Joseph Nane (caution) 47
COL - Drew Moor (caution) 51
DAL - Andrew Jacobson (caution) 54
COL - Jaime Castrillon (ejection) 71
DAL - Fabian Castillo (caution) 88
DAL - David Ferreira (caution) 96+
Colorado Rapids lineup: Matt Pickens, Hunter Freeman, Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor, Luis Zapata, Jeff Larentowicz, Joseph Nane (Andre Akpan 49), Brian Mullan (Wells Thompson 46), Jaime Castrillon, Martin Rivero, Omar Cummings (Tony Cascio 66)
Subs not used: Stew Ceus, Tyson Wahl, Jamie Smith, Scott Palguta
Referee: Armando Villarreal