Frisco, TX – Ugo Ihemelu made eye contact with teammate Zach Loyd prior to a free kick in stoppage time, and what followed was the perfect ending for FC Dallas.
Loyd chipped a short free kick to the left side of the box in the 95th minute, and Ihemelu jumped to meet the ball inside the 6-yard box to float a header to the far post as FC Dallas edged the New England Revolution, 1-0, on Thursday.
"On that one we just made eye contract and he put it perfectly where he needed to put it," Ihemelu told FSN after the match at FC Dallas Stadium.
Dallas (2-2-1) snapped a three-game winless skid and ended a two-match winning streak for New England (2-3-0) with its first win since opening weekend.
Coach Schellas Hyndman was just minutes from settling for a tie at home, but a foul by New England's A.J. Soares on Dallas' Blas Perez gave the hosts a final opportunity from deep in the offensive end.
Loyd stepped up to take the free kick and placed the ball perfectly to Ihemelu deep inside the area and the center back finished like a striker, leaving Matt Reis no chance as the Revs goalie could only watch the ball sail into the net.
Ihemelu scored his first goal since May of last season, as Dallas earned three crucial early-season points.
"We just found a way. Before the game, we were talking about fighting for 90 minutes, and we did that today. We played a full 90 in this game and it paid off," Ihemelu said.
Ihemelu denied Reis his second shutout in his last three matches, and rewarded his own goalkeeper, Kevin Hartman, with a win in his first shutout this year.
New England was shutout for the third time this year, as it failed to score in its first two matches this season. The Revolution had rebounded with wins over the Portland Timbers and Los Angeles Galaxy, but could not top a third Western Conference team in a row.
Dallas has played all five of its games against Eastern Conference squads, and will continue the stretch April 14 when it hosts the Montreal Impact.
New England has played four of its five matches against West sides, but starts a run of two straight against the East on April 14 when it hosts D.C. United.