Danny Koevermans' hot streak is still going, and Toronto FC is still riding it.
The Toronto forward scored in the 31st minute to offset an early FC Dallas strike and give the Reds a 1-1 draw Wednesday night in Major League Soccer.
The result kept TFC's five-game unbeaten streak going, although only one of those games was a victory.
Koevermans has scored in five consecutive games, matching San Jose's Chris Wondolowski for the league's longest scoring streak this season, and has a goal in seven of his last eight matches.
"So you call this a hot streak?" an amused Koevermans asked after scoring his ninth goal this season. "If you call that a hot streak, five games, hopefully I can do six in six and make it a hotter streak."
Even with its unbeaten streak, Toronto still has the worst record in the MLS at 2-10-4 after an ugly 0-9-0 start. But the Reds' arrow has been pointing up since Paul Mariner took over as coach on June 7 despite a packed schedule that has had them play six games in the past 19 days, with another coming Sunday at Philadelphia.
"What we've been through the past few weeks — travel, schedule, Wednesday-Saturday, Wednesday-Saturday — it's almost physically impossible," Mariner said. "So what they did tonight, taking the game to Dallas in the second half ... I'm delighted about what we did."
Toronto FC midfielder Eric Avila says the schedule has been taxing.
"Don't get me wrong, it's been taking a toll on us," he said. "But the whole mindset of the group is working together and giving all the heart we can and that elevates us even more. We may be tired at times, but our heart and the way we carry ourselves takes us a long way."
Slumping FC Dallas, which extended a club-record 12-game winless streak, is 3-9-6.
Dallas put the Toronto in an early hole with a slick play off a set piece. After Daniel Hernandez's fifth-minute corner kick was deflected out to the right, Jackson Goncalves sent a high chip into the box. Dallas midfielder Andrew Jacobson outjumped Ashtone Morgan to head the ball toward the goal, where defender Zach Loyd raced in just ahead of Koevermans for a diving header that slid past Toronto goalkeeper Milos Kocic for a 1-0 lead.
But the red-hot Koevermans reached into his extensive bag of tricks and came up with an answer in the 31st minute following a botched clearance by Dallas' James Marcelin that kept the ball in the Reds' attacking zone.
As Koevermans and defender Hernan Pertuz battled for possession just to the right of Dallas keeper Kevin Hartman, the ball squirted out to Avila on the right wing. Avila fired toward the goal and Koevermans got the payoff with a nifty backheel to redirect the ball past Hartman — who played in his MLS-record 400th game — and tie the score.
"Hartman thought he was going to grab it, but I was able to put my little toe against the ball and it went into the net. It was perfect," Koevermans said. "It doesn't matter how we score. If you can put your feet or your head or your nose against the ball and it goes in, it's a goal. ... I don't care how we score or how I score, as long as it's over the line, it's all right with me."
The game also marked the return of David Ferreira. FC Dallas' undisputed leader entered the game in the 57th minute for his first action in more than a year. The 2010 league MVP last played on April 23, 2011, when he suffered a broken ankle in a match at Vancouver.
Toronto, meanwhile, has a tough road still ahead, with Wednesday and Saturday games in each of the next two weeks. But the confidence is rising and the Reds feel they are building something strong.
"Yeah, it's coming," Kocic said. "Now we see everything through positive eyes. Nothing is negative anymore. You see the emotions in the locker room are different.
"We've turned everything from negative to positive and guys are responding very well to this whole situation. If we keep this work up, maybe we still have a chance for the playoffs."