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Dallas gets first point with 1-1 tie with Toronto

Apr 12, 2009 - 6:45 AM A late goal by Pablo Ricchetti gave FC Dallas a feeling they haven't had much of this season: joy.

Ricchetti scored in the 86th minute, and FC Dallas earned its first point of the year in a 1-all tie with Toronto FC on Saturday.

"It's a fantastic feeling for us," Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman said. "We had to start somewhere with a positive note and today was our starting point."

Substitute Eric Avila, whose cross led to Ricchetti's goal, echoed Hyndman's sentiments.

"It means a lot," Avila said. "It's a step forward. We've been trying to look for some sort of hope and we got it today."

Dallas (0-3-1) came in as the only MLS team without a point this season and appeared headed for a fourth straight loss after Dwayne De Rosario scored on a header in the 17th minute for Toronto (1-1-2).

But Ricchetti turned in Avila's cross with a spectacular backheel, denying Toronto rookie goaltender Stefan Frei his first MLS shutout.

"It was a tremendous goal by Pablo," Hyndman said. "It was one of those goals that everything has to be perfectly right. It caught everybody by surprise."

Ricchetti did not speak to reporters afterward but Avila said the equalizer sparked an emotional celebration.

"He grabbed me and started yelling as loud as he could in my face," Avila said. "Just the joy of it was awesome. He scored it, ran and screamed. We didn't know what to say. We were just relieved that we got a goal and a point."

Toronto has not won since an opening-week victory at Kansas City on March 21.

"If you don't finish your chances, the other team comes back and punishes you," De Rosario said. "We took our foot off the pedal for parts of the game and let them back in it."

Toronto came close to scoring in the first minute, but De Rosario couldn't finish Fuad Ibrahim's cross to the far post, allowing Dallas defender George John to clear the ball off the line.

De Rosario, though, finished the job on his next opportunity, heading home Adrian Serioux's long throw into the box to give Toronto FC the lead.

It was the first goal in a Toronto uniform for De Rosario, a two-time MLS Cup MVP who was born in this city. The Canadian joined his hometown team in a December trade with Houston and missed a penalty in Toronto's season-opening win at Kansas City.

"The first goal is the toughest to get sometimes," De Rosario said. "I'm glad to get it out of the way."

Serioux's long throws from the sidelines were a constant menace in the first half.

"My throw-ins go pretty far, almost like a corner kick," Serioux said. "If I can use that as a threat, then that's what we're going to do."

Toronto came up empty on two opportunities in the 34th minute. Midfielder Amado Guevera hit the crossbar with a deflected shot, and the ball ricocheted to Chad Barrett, whose unmarked header sailed wide.

"(Barrett) in the last two games had no chances but he was in position today and worked hard," Toronto coach John Carver said. "He had one or two chances and just didn't put them away."

Dallas almost tied it before the half when Dax McCarty's header beat Frei, hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced off the goal line.

Dallas came close again in the opening minutes of the second half, with Cooper's backheel setting up Andre Rocha, who pulled his shot just wide.

Toronto did not have a shot on goal in the second half.

The teams meet again in Dallas on April 19.