Ronaldo Pena scored the tying goal in the 88th minute to lift the struggling Houston Dynamo to a 1-1 draw with FC Dallas on Thursday in steamy downtown Houston in the second Texas Derby of the season.
Pena’s goal, off an assist from Tomas Martinez, came just five minutes after Michael Barrios propelled FC Dallas into the lead with a determined run and finish.
But Pena, working just outside the box with the Dynamo in desperation mode, faked a pass, wheeled and ripped a shot into the right corner of the net past Dallas goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer for his first-ever MLS goal.
The draw allowed Houston (7-11-7, 28 points) to snap a five-match losing streak. The Dynamo are still winless in their past eight matches.
Dallas (13-5-7, 46 points), the first-place side in the Western Conference, has a four-point lead over second-place Sporting Kansas City.
Martinez missed a wide-open shot in the first minute of first-half stoppage time after a brilliant and hard-working run into the box from Mauro Manotas that could have given the Dynamo a huge boost heading into the second half.
The statistics for the match were virtually even, with each team recording 13 shots. Dallas had a 4-2 edge in shots on target, but Houston earned advantages in total passes (396-367), passing accuracy (84 percent-82 percent), possession (52.2 percent) and duals won (53-43).
Barrios found the net in the 54th minute when he split two Houston defenders to corral a long pass from Maynor Figueroa, but the goal was waved off after Barrios was ruled to be offside.
The two sides played to a 1-1 draw in their first meeting, on July 21, and will battle again on Sept. 1 in Frisco, Texas.
Six of the past seven Texas Derbies have ended in draws. The lone exception was a 3-1 FC Dallas victory in August 2016.
FC Dallas returns to the pitch on Wednesday at San Jose, while Houston travels to Harrison, N.J., to battle the New York Red Bulls, also on Wednesday.
—Field Level Media