SPORTS

FC Dallas eliminates Vancouver Whitecaps from MLS playoffs with 2-1 win

10/29/2014 11:18 EDT | Updated 12/29/2014 05:59 EST
FRISCO, Texas - A late penalty-kick goal created by a controversial handball call brought the Vancouver Whitecaps' season to a frustrating end.

Midfielder Michel stutter-stepped and slid his unmolested shot into the left side of the net in the 84th minute as Vancouver goalkeeper David Ousted dived in the other direction to give FC Dallas a 2-1 victory in the knockout round of Major League Soccer's Western Conference playoffs.

The loss ended the Whitecaps' five-game unbeaten streak and closed out a season in which Vancouver (12-9-14) advanced to the post-season for the second time in its MLS history.

Dallas (17-12-6) will face Seattle in the two-game conference semifinal.

The penalty was awarded as a bouncing ball in the Vancouver box barely glanced off the right arm of Kendall Waston as the Whitecaps defender tried to put his hands behind his back. The call was met with several minutes of protests by the Vancouver players, but referee Mark Geiger stood firm.

The Whitecaps had extended their shutout streak to 432 minutes — surpassing a run of 427 minutes in 2012 as the longest in club history — before watching that streak disappear in the 40th minute thanks to FC Dallas's surprise starter.

Midfielder Mauro Diaz, making his first start since Aug. 9 and only his 10th in an injury-plagued season, turned a sliver of space into a dangerous run, slipping past Vancouver's Andy O'Brien and Kendall Waston near midfield to break into the clear.

When defender Jordan Harvey came out to challenge Diaz, he slid a deft pass to Calgary-born Tesho Akindele, who fired a low shot just inside the far post for a 1-0 lead.

Down and seemingly out — FC Dallas dominated in possession and scoring chances — the Whitecaps rose to tie the match with a stunning goal in the 64th minute.

The play began with a floating free kick into the Dallas box by Mauro Rosales that pinballed around before popping out to second-half substitute Kekuta Manneh. Manneh's shot was blocked, but the ball fell at the feet of Erik Hurtado, and the Whitecaps forward slammed it past keeper Chris Seitz on the right side to give his team life.

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