Bob Bradley said he's heard the question a thousand and he wasn't pleased to hear it again Saturday: Does a draw signify a point earned or two points dropped?
The question came after his Los Angeles Football Club stumbled to a painful 1-1 tie with FC Dallas at Banc of California Stadium, halting a three-game win streak in a match it could have — should have? — won by three goals.
"We had the game and we didn't finish it," Bradley began. "Therefore we left two points on the table."
If the glass was only half full in the LAFC locker room, down the hall in the jubilant Dallas dressing room it was overflowing.
"We're going to take the point against a good team," coach Oscar Pareja said before leaving for the airport.
LAFC had nearly twice as many shots, had the ball for nearly two-thirds of the game and dominated every other statistical category on the scoresheet. But on the scoreboard it was even, with LAFC getting a goal from Steven Beitashour nine minutes into the first half and Dallas matching that with one from Maxi Urruti 10 minutes into the second half.
To Beitashour, Urruti's goal should have been little more than an afterthought, not an equalizer.
"That game should have been three or four to nothing by the time they had their chance," he said. "We were able to create good chances. It goes down to being more clinical in the final third and finishing off our chances."
Playing before a sold-out crowd of 22,000 on a hot 86-degree afternoon and playing without striker Marco Urena, who is out a month with a facial fracture, LAFC started quickly, taking two shots in the first 2½ minutes before Beitashour found the back of the net on the team's third shot.
The play started with Diego Rossi pushing the ball ahead for Beitashour, who had gotten behind defender Anton Nedyalkov and was calling for a pass as he broke into the penalty area. Beitashour's first touch carried him toward the goal and when keeper Jimmy Maurer came out to challenge him, Beitashour used the instep of his right foot to nudge the ball into the side netting at the far post for the third goal of his nine-year MLS career.
Beitashour's previous goal also came against Dallas, in 2013 when he was with the San Jose Earthquakes.
"I guess I like playing against them," he said.
The goal was just the seventh Dallas has allowed in eight games, fewest in the league. Yet it wasn't even LAFC's best scoring chance of the first half.
In the 27th minute, Latif Blessing slipped the ball to Carlos Vela on the doorstep, but Vela got his feet tangled with a defender and couldn't get off a shot. Vela and Eduard Atuesta also misfired on shots midway through the half before Mark Anthony-Kaye's header into Maurer's arms closed out a half in which LAFC got off nine shots, but had just one goal to show for all that work.
"We had a lot of chances to finish the game. When you miss, you are in trouble and there is a problem; there is only one goal," Vela said.
LAFC started the second half with two more good opportunities that didn't pay off, and all those missed opportunities finally came back to haunt them in the 55th minute when Urruti spun away from defender Laurent Ciman to create space and put a low, right-footed shot in near the right post from about 25 yards to even the game.
For LAFC keeper Tyler Miller, who entered the day tied for the league lead with three shutouts, it was the first goal he had allowed in 192 minutes. But with LAFC (5-2-1) unable to finish four more scoring chances over the final half-hour, Urruti's goal was enough to earn Dallas (3-1-4) a point while costing Bradley's team two.
"It's easy to say that the problem was that we didn't score goals," Vela said. "Football is really quick. If they take the chances and score, it doesn't matter what you do. We lost two points at home."