FRISCO, Texas – Jackson’s goal in the 32nd minute, and a couple of key saves by goalkeeper Kevin Hartman, lifted FC Dallas to a 1-1 tie Sunday night against the Seattle Sounders FC.
The draw helps Dallas (8-12-9) keep their playoff hopes alive, as a 3-1-1 record in their last five has allowed them to creep to within four points of Vancouver for the Western Conference’s fifth and final post-season slot, with five games remaining.
Seattle improved to 5-1-2 in its last eight MLS contests, edging past Los Angeles into third place in the Western Conference.
Hartman, the MLS all-time leader in virtually every goalkeeping category, made three saves, including one on Sounders FC forward Fredy Montero, who made five shot attempts but was held off the scoresheet after recording six goals in his previous four league games.
Seattle took a 1-0 lead on Mauro Rosales’ second goal of the season in the 20th minute. Rosales, who leads the MLS with 13 assists, was the recipient this time of a beautiful set-up from Steve Zakuani.
Making his first start (and third appearance) since April 22, 2011, a span of 500 days, after an extended recovery from a broken leg, Zakuani accelerated around Dallas defender Zach Loyd on the left side before delivering a perfect feed across the goalmouth to the charging Rosales for an easy tap-in at the right post.
Jackson’s third goal of the year tied it in the 32nd minute. Blas Perez, making his first start (and second appearance) for Dallas after missing 12 games with a right foot sprain, delivered a nifty pass across the penalty area to the charging Jackson, who re-directed it home near the left post.
The Sounders FC nearly regained the lead just three minutes later, but Hartman made an outstanding leaping hand save on Brad Evans’ point-blank header, barely deflecting the ball over the crossbar.
Seattle controlled the majority of the action through the first 20-plus minutes of the second half, but it was FC Dallas’ Jackson who had the best opportunity to snap the 1-1 tie, in the 69th minute.
A short pass from Perez left Jackson alone with the ball about 10 yards out, but his point-blank shot was stopped by Sounders FC goalkeeper Michael Gspurning, who made a spectacular diving save.
Star forward Eddie Johnson, who is tied with Montero for the team lead with 11 goals, did not make the trip for the Sounders FC, remaining back in Seattle to rest.
Meanwhile, Dallas was missing speedy forward Fabian Castillo, who had scored goals in three straight games before leaving their last contest with a strained right hamstring, also sat out.
– Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.