The Wizards are quickly gaining a reputation for living dangerously. The problem with this, you know, is that sometimes you actually get hurt.
And against red-hot F.C. Dallas on Saturday, the Wizards — who fell behind by two goals for the second game in the row — learned that lesson the hard way, as they came up short in a 3-1 loss before an announced crowd of 10,385 at CommunityAmerica Ballpark.
It was a disappointing result, to be sure, mainly because it puts a damper on their playoff hopes. The Wizards, 9-10-6, entered Saturday’s matchday trailing Seattle and San Jose by three points for the final playoff spot, only to see themselves fall further behind on a dreary and disappointing evening.
“You can only go down two goals in so many games and hope to come back,” said Wizards defender Jimmy Conrad, who was also referring to his team’s 4-3 come-from-behind win against Houston on Wednesday. “I thought we showed a lot of character, but that takes a lot of energy out of you and to be asked to do it again is a tall order.”
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Indeed, because Dallas — which improved to 11-2-13 and stretched its unbeaten streak to 17 games — is no Houston. And it didn’t take long to show it either, as Dallas scored in the fourth minute when forward and team captain David Ferreira chipped the ball forward to midfielder Marvin Chavez, who got in behind and beat goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen to the near post.
It was the quickest goal the Wizards have allowed in Major League Soccer play all season, but it would be followed by another Dallas goal just eight minutes later. That’s when midfielder Jackson Goncalves played a ball forward to midfielder Atiba Harris, who sent a through ball to forward Milton Rodriguez, who then blasted the ball past Nielsen from 18 yards out.
Just like that, the Wizards were behind 2-0 with 78 minutes left to play against a team had allowed one goal or fewer in 20 of its first 25 games.
“The first 15 minutes, we were snoozing,” said Wizards coach Peter Vermes.
However, the Wizards did wake up. Consider the following displays of life:
•In the 32nd minute, Wizards defender Michael Harrington took Chavez down with a hard tackle that led to some pushing and shoving after the play and Harrington receiving a yellow card.
•In the 43rd minute, midfielder Ryan Smith found forward Kei Kamara in the middle for a shot on goal, but Dallas goalkeeper Dario Sala made the save.
•In the 53rd minute, Wizards defender Shavar Thomas’ header off a free kick went just wide of the near post.
The Wizards finally cashed in during the 57th minute, as Smith unleashed a blast past Sala off a one-touch from forward Josh Wolff that cut the deficit to 2-1.
But they would get no closer. The Wizards only accumulated two more shots over the next 20 minutes, and Dallas forward Jeff Cunningham effectively put the nail in the coffin when he scored his 15th career goal against the Wizards in the 82nd minute.