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Cooper converts penalty kick to net FC Dallas a draw

Oct 12, 2008 - 4:54 AM By Ken Costlow PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

FRISCO, Texas (Ticker) -- A frantic finish that saw both teams score in the closing minutes resulted in FC Dallas and Toronto FC playing to a 2-2 draw at Pizza Hut Park on Saturday.

Marvell Wynne's go-ahead goal for Toronto in the 88th minute was countered by a penalty kick conversion by Dallas' Kenny Cooper during stoppage time.

It was the second week in a row that FC Dallas salvaged a point from an apparent loss by way of a late Cooper penalty-conversion. Cooper saved a 1-1 home draw against San Jose last weekend with an 89th minute penalty-kick goal.

FC Dallas (8-9-11) moved into fourth place in the Western Conference standings, a point ahead of Colorado, with the draw. Toronto FC (8-12-8) remained in last place in the Eastern Conference, but stays alive in the race for the final postseason spot by the slimmest of margins.

With the score 1-1 in the final two minutes before stoppage time, Toronto's Chad Barrett sent a clear through ball into open space, where Wynne collected it and lofted a 38-yard shot past the outstretched arms of FC Dallas goalkeeper Dario Sala to put the visitors in the lead.

But just two minutes later, Toronto's Julius James was called for pulling down Dallas' Adrian Serioux in the box. Cooper was instructed to retake the initial penalty conversion when teammate Andre Rocha was called for infringement into the goal area prior to the kick.

"I'm disappointed because I thought we were robbed," Toronto coach John Carver said. "I thought we came out for the second half on the right foot and deserved to be 2-1 up. It's really disappointing when you go into the dying moments of a game and the decision goes against you. It's happened to us all season."

While the majority of the world's leagues observe an open date during international match days, MLS has always carried on business-as-usual with its fixture list.

Sometimes, it leaves a few teams at a considerable disadvantage. In Toronto FC's case, the club was forced to play without four regulars on international duty - forward Carlos Ruiz (Guatemala), midfielders Amado Guevara (Honduras) and Kevin Harmse (Canada), and defender Tyrone Marshall (Jamaica).

"When you look at it, we had five players missing on international duty (Welsh international midfielder Carl Robinson was also away) and we have four players coming into the starting lineup," Carver said. "It takes them a bit to find the pace of the game. Once we got into the second half, I thought we played well and took the game to Dallas."

Cooper gave Dallas an early 1-0 lead just beyond the half-hour mark of the first half. After a long throw-in into the box from Adrian Serioux, Cooper emerged with possession of the loose ball and struck a right-footed shot at the right post past Toronto goalkeeper Greg Sutton.

Cooper's goal tally now stands at 18, one behind league-leader Landon Donovan of Los Angeles. 14 of Cooper's goals have either been equalizers or go-ahead goals.

The goal sent the partisan FC Dallas crowd into a frenzy, which was just the reaction Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman was looking for.

"Overall, I thought it was a playoff-type atmosphere. Both teams were really going at each other hard," Hyndman said. "(Toronto) played very direct, and we seemed to be better when we moved the ball. We cautioned our players about two things - not giving fouls away off free kicks, corner kicks or throw-ins, and not turn the ball over because they had so much speed."

Toronto scored the equalizer in the 72nd minute, following a long throw-in from Wynne. Danny Dichio headed the ball over to Marco Velez, who sent a right-footed volley past Sala to bring the sides level at 1-1.

"Whenever we're in there, I like to look for the big man in the middle," Wynne said. "I throw it in and Deech (Dichio) does a tremendous flick to Marco (Velez) and he puts it away. It was a good goal."