COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (AP) – Blas Perez and his FC Dallas teammates didn’t get discouraged when they fell behind twice in the second half. Instead, they responded in kind.
“It is important to tie the game before anything and there is always urgency,” the Dallas forward said. “When you tie the game like that, it’s always a psychological hit on an opponent.”
Blas Perez scored his second goal in the 66th minute to lift MLS-leading FC Dallas into a 2-2 tie Saturday night with the Colorado Rapids, who got two goals from Atiba Harris.
“Our team showed a lot of character,” Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman said. “When you are on the road, altitude, difficult times, we have a player down with the Jamaican National team (Je-Vaughn Watson) and left two starters home, we had a lot of reasons to fold.
“We had a lot of reasons to fold, but it showed a lot of character to go down, come back, go down again and come back.”
Perez had only three goals in his previous 13 games for FC Dallas (8-2-4), which is unbeaten in its last four meetings with the Rapids.
“The boys did a great job today because FC Dallas is a good team,” Colorado coach Oscar Pareja said. “We got the lead twice and we were frustrated.”
FC Dallas is 7-1-4 in its last 12 games. They have outscored their opponents 21-14 in that stretch and lead the MLS with 29 goals.
The Rapids (5-4-5) extended their unbeaten streak to six games, a stretch that includes three wins.
Colorado is 5-1-3 in its last eight. Goalkeeper Clint Irwin is 5-2-4 with five shutouts since becoming the starter.
Dallas won the first meeting, 1-0 on March 2.
Neither team had a shot on goal in the first half. The closest a team came to scoring came in the 37th minute when Perez took a feed from Fabian Castillo and put the ball past Irwin.
The goal was waved off because the ball was clearly past the end line when Castillo made the pass.
“It was a tough game going back and forth in the first half,” said Perez. “Both teams had chances in the second half.”
Then came a 10-minute period where all four goals were scored.
“I think we stayed with what we had been doing in the first half,” Harris said of the difference in scoring chances for the Rapids. “We were able to create a lot more space in the second half.”
The offenses took control of the game in the second half. Harris made the first shot of the game count with his header past the dive of Dallas keeper Raul Fernandez in the 56th minute, taking an inbounds throw from defender Marvell Wynne.
“I had good position in the box and I got a handle on the ball and scoredh
Perez got the equalizer in the 64th minute. Harris blocked a cross, but the ball bounded back to Perez, who easily beat Irwin.
Two minutes later, Harris got behind the Dallas defense, putting Colorado ahead 2-1. Perez countered in the 66th minute with a low drive from the slot, 22 yards out.
“It was just a great pass from Jackson,” Perez said. “He saw the defender going for the ball and he went over him.”\
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