That was so not Union.
The Philadelphia Union just might be a good team, as they extend their winning streak to three games and their unbeaten streak to four. The boys in blue defeated FC Dallas 2-1 on a beautiful goal by Alejandro Bedoya in stoppage time.
Union starting XI: Blake; Wagner, Trusty, Elliott, Gaddis (Monteiro 78′); Medujanin, Aaronson, Bedoya, Fabian; Accam (Ilsinho 68′), Picault (Burke 56′)
FC Dallas starting XI: Maurer; Hollingshead, Ziegler, Hedges, Cannon; Cerrillo, Hayes; Roberts (Ondrasek 62′), Poymkal, Barrios (Nelson 74′); Ferreira (Servania 88′)
FC Dallas came in missing several starters. Jesse Gonzalez Pablo Aranguiz and Carlos Gruezo were all suspended for violating team policy. On top of that Santiago Mosquera was out ill and Bryan Acosta was out with an ankle sprain picked up during training. This forced FCD head coach Luchi Gonzalez to go with a very young lineup.
The Union on the other hand, went with the same lineup from the previous match when they beat FC Cincinnati. In head coach’s Jim Curtin’s mind, if ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Hard to argue with that.
The Union came out looking to dominate, and they controlled possession in the first 10 minutes. But a trip by Marco Fabian on Ryan Hollingshead set up a free kick just outside the penalty area. Reto Ziegler shot the ball over the Union wall straight into the net, with Andre Blake frozen in place.
FC Dallas had the early lead, but the Union continued to look dangerous, at least as far as getting the ball into their final third. But the boys in blue struggled to generate chances from their possession, with FCD centerbacks Matt Hedges and Zeigler doing a good job staying tight on Fafa Picault and David Accam. The U could only manage two shots on goal, one on a weak header by Picualt and the other by Brenden Aaronson off a nice cross by Kai Wagner.
The Union was better at generating chances as the second half progressed. But they continued to struggle to crack the FC Dallas back line. In the 56th minute, Curtin tried to stoke the offense by replacing Picault’s speed with Cory Burke’s size. A solid move, but the Union still could not find the net. Curtin continued to tweak the offense as the half wore on, replacing Accam with Ilsinho in the 68th minute, and then replacing Raymon Gaddis with new Union player Jamiro Monteiro in the 78th minute. With Gaddis out, Haris Medujanin played farther back, and the offense did seem to pick up.
Finally, something went the Union’s way in the 83rd minute. FC Dallas’s GK Jimmy Maurer deflected a solid shot by Monteiro, but Matt Hedges pulled down Burke in front of the goal as he tried to reach the deflection. Marco Fabian took the ensuing penalty kick, but Maurer made the save. The ball bounced off Maurer and Burke was right there to tap it in and tie the game.
There were six minutes of stoppage time added thanks to a Maurer head cut that had to be wrapped earlier in the second half. Two minutes in, Ilsinho chipped the ball into the penalty area where Bedoya took it, ran past both Ziegler and Hollingshead, then cut back for a beautifully placed shot into the goal.
As Curtin said after the match, “To come from behind is something we haven’t done well in the past… it showed a step forward for the team.”
Union fans aren’t used to this, but they’ll be happy to become accustomed to it.
- Haris Medujanin played a solid game, making crisp passes and getting back on defense when needed.
- From the little we’ve seen from him so far, Monteiro looks the real deal. Curtin has a good problem on his hands in trying to get him some minutes.
- The referee was terrible, making some ticky-tack calls, and missing big ones. MLS needs to do something about the quality of referees in this league.
The Union will to keep the winning and unbeaten streaks going when the travel to Los Angeles to take on the Galaxy next week.