FRISCO, Texas - The Montreal Impact had their first Major League Soccer road win squarely in their sights.
Then it all crumbled away in less than 15 minutes.
The Impact watched their lead disintegrate Saturday as FC Dallas scored in the 77th and 88th minutes to grab a 2-1 victory, denying Montreal (1-5-1) its first point away from home.
"We played a great game for 75 minutes," dejected defender Mateo Ferrari said, "but in those last 15 minutes, you have to take the points. It is very frustrating."
Indeed, the Impact seemed to be soaring when Bernardo Corradi buried a penalty kick in the top of the net in the 61st minute, cashing in on an opportunity created by captain Davy Arnaud.
Arnaud had come crashing into the box between defenders George John and Zach Loyd as Zarek Valentin sent a cross in his direction. Loyd made contact from behind, Arnaud went down, and referee Ramon Hernandez pointed to the penalty spot.
But instead of taking the lead and running with it, the Impact sagged, and FC Dallas took advantage of the lapse on a pair of set pieces.
First, a close-range free kick found John, whose header from the far side banged off the crossbar — right to Dallas striker Blas Perez. With goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts in a heap on the ground after leaping for John's header, Perez easily headed the ball into the open net to tie the score.
Eleven minutes later, Loyd's throw-in triggered a pretty sequence. Perez headed the ball to Fabian Castillo, who one-touched a pass to Brek Shea, who slipped behind Montreal’s Tyson Wahl. Shea chipped the ball over a sliding Ricketts for what turned out to be the dagger in another crushing loss for the expansion Impact.
"It's something we need to work on," Ricketts said. "When we get the lead we need to make sure we keep our cool and relax. We were still in a rush. We need to settle down and take control of the game. We let them back in the game."
Montreal seemed very much in control after getting through the first half with a 0-0 tie while working against a wind that reached 60 km/h. The Impact offset the disadvantage by playing aggressively, winning free balls and keeping possession.
That helped stifle an FC Dallas attack that has little trouble creating opportunities but plenty of trouble finishing them. With the wind at its back, Dallas managed only three official shots, though Montreal goalkeeper Ricketts was tested on several more occasions. He had to come far off the line to smother breakaways in the box by Perez and Castillo.
Then the Impact got the break it needed, and the lead.
And then it all slipped away.
"It wasn't enough of locking things down, taking care of business and making sure that we weren’t going to give anything away," coach Jesse Marsch said. "We felt like with the wind we wanted to put them under the gun a little bit to see if we could find advantages that way. We took the lead, and then…
"There are good things here. Now more than anything else it's just figuring out how to get results, whether it’s ties on the road, wins, whatever. Figuring out how to close games and get results."